Thursday, September 6, 2012
I Am No One
But I realize that I as I had critiqued both the First Lady speech and the speech made by Ann Romney the "presumptive" one, with regards to the lack of personal that makes such speeches meaningful and honest. Not that either woman was dishonest but they were certainly edited in their words and topics as to who they are as individual women as identified by the appropriate label of "wife" "mother" "daughter" and so forth.
My issue was not so much as political as it was all personal. Both women have accomplished husbands, both women have made personal choices, both women have made personal and professional decisions and they were their own choices and that is the point. Yes at times we all make choices because of the others in our lives but even those most generous do at times make those decisions that are about them and them alone. And neither woman shared what those were or even assured those listening that they were ultimately proud of them at each avenue in life. For Mrs. Romney she had the story of her illness with Cancer or MS or even of her change in religious faith or how she chose to remain a mother and work inside the home, even if that home had help as her financial situation allowed, she was not alone and that credit must be shared. And her choices are ones that worked out.
For Mrs. Obama a woman with not one but two Ivy League degrees gave appropriate recognition to her supportive family and to the Government grants and loans that enabled that pursuit, but she got there and was at one point the primary breadwinner in her family that enabled her husband to make his appropriate choices. That was a fact not shared and cannot be something however glossed over. She has two gorgeous daughters but she also has a Mother residing with her assisting in caring for those two daughters. She is not alone but she should not be afraid to share it. It is something to be proud of which it seems the choices she made worked out.
But for either woman had those choices not worked out they had options that came from those labels they so proudly wear - daughter, sister, mother, wife. But what about for women who don't have those labels. Women like me. Women divorced, childless, only children or with no relatives left to assist them when those choices fail? There are many of us in this army of women and we apparently have no one to speak for us.
The war on women seems to focus on women who are of reproductive ages. As for women who no longer have that option we are ignored in society and by the safety nets we assume will be there as the only option we also have. I have found that out to be true of late and its quite horrifying to realize that even when you do it right when you are a woman that is not quite right enough. And all the "choices" you made at that point have no bearing. Suddenly you have choices that are not yours to make.
Below is a letter I wrote to Mrs. Obama with copies sent to my two Senators, both women also, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. My story is alluded to although not in detail it asks who are women like me in this society: Are we no one?
Mrs. Michelle Obama
First Lady of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mrs. Obama;
After watching varying domesticated speeches over the last two weeks in defense of women, I looked forward to yours, Mrs. Obama, to see if you would provide insight into being a thoroughly modern one.
Sadly and true to the form I found yours similar in that vein, taking on the labels and identifications that are about the roles we assume in life – Mother, Daughter, Sister, Wife; none about simply being a woman. A woman of accomplishment, who had a successful career, degrees and who was the primary breadwinner for her family, enabling the choices made by her husband (and clearly those worked out). I was sad frankly that we have not come a long way baby. But the message was clear to me – women are sidekicks, supportive mates who do what we have for those in our life. So for women like me who aren’t someone’s “Mother, Sister, Wife, Daughter” Who are we exactly? We are no one.
For all this talk about a “war on women” its clear that it means women of a certain age and that is not my or my contemporaries age. The boomer women who have long past being concerned about our reproductive rights or choices, who no longer have families to raise or they are on their own, who are divorced, single, without parents, and without jobs. There are many of us. And yet we are the silent victims of this war. We are the ignored victims of this war as we are in life apparently.
My story has elements that are strictly mine but I don’t think arrogantly that I am alone. But I found out the hard way that perhaps I am in this America with safety nets that have more holes than Swiss cheese.
On February 8 I had a car accident in which I sustained Traumatic Brain Injury. This accident in more ways affected my life that cannot simply be explained in this letter. But the result is what it is. I am now disabled that to the naked eye is unapparent but to those who have suffered its affects that is not the case. An irony is that your husband’s opponent sustained the exact same injury and was found in the same way, as was I in 1968. The irony was Mr. Romney’s was in was in Paris with Socialized medicine in which he was to recover. I wish I had been as lucky.
What is more tragic is the circumstances behind this accident that further exemplifies the war on women. As a victim of assault that night, not just my health was taken from me but the ability to actually pursue and seek a course of action was as well. But that is not what this letter is about.
Much is made of “Obamacare”, however, I was insured but I was still taken to a supposed acclaimed public Trauma ward one supported by the Federal and State Government; a recognized teaching school. My insurance provider also acclaimed co-operative noted throughout the health care reform act for its electronic record keeping and cost effectiveness. Ironically both failed to help me. A reflection perhaps of the attitudes that prevail about women like me or simply just a reflection of a system beyond repair. It was a woman who as I lay in ICU just off a ventilator who secured my signature to a Power of Attorney abdicating my medical rights and decisions to a dog walker she found on my phone. This AFTER lecturing me about how important and obviously frustrating for her in me having a “next of kin” - I have enclosed her report to verify that this occurred. How professional, how dignified and how disturbing. What is not in evidence is that because of the injury I possessed Anterograde Amnesia and I had no idea where I was or what I was signing. Sadly that Amnesia also went undiagnosed or ignored due to I assume costs or simply miscommunication, laziness or ineptitude. I have no idea, as to this day the Hospital simply refuses to answer my letters and questions regarding their “care”. The entire experience adds meaning to the phrase “add insult to injury”.
As I watched the convention and speaker after speaker arrived to defend, support and explain the social issues relevant to our nation, not one got up to talk about how it isn’t better but they believe it can be. That they still have hope and dreams for change long promised. I do not frankly. I am not voting at all ever again. The system that I believed was in place for people like me – employed, insured, law abiding, peaceful, supportive of all Democrats and Government found out the hard way when that rug was yanked brutally away from me the night of February 8.
I do not have a degree from a prestigious University, a husband of equal pedigree, a job that provides me with an identity, and a family that can help and support me when things get bad. I am no one’s daughter, mother, sister or wife, I am no one.
So I ask you Mrs. Obama and the Senators also on this letter who am I? What am I to do when the net failed to catch me? Why am I to care about the children, the women and those who are behind me? Why? They certainly don’t care about me and those like me. We are silent, we are legion and we are no one.