Self-Sufficiency, Responsibility, Preparation, Independence and Other Nonstarters. Part III. The Punchline.

In Part I of this series, I described my history with an insane physically, emotionally and sexually abusive nuclear family that combined with our collective lack of resources made me realize that if the S ever HTF that I would be on my own with no one in my family either willing or able to help.  I decided that I needed to be “successful” in life if I had any hope of securing a safe, sane and comfortable future for myself free from abuse, including abuse from men which I knew by watching and listening to my mother’s experience could and would ruin my life.  In Part II I describe the execution of my plan — I applied and was accepted to law school and graduated at the top of my class, hopeful that a law degree would provide me with the employment skills and financial security I knew I needed to keep myself safe.  I worked my ass off for about 6 years chasing an elusive “savings” and financial safety net that would catch me if I ever needed catching.  In the end, the only substantial money I ever made as a practicing attorney were the legal settlements for two work-related injuries I had suffered on the job as a lawyer.  My career and my best-laid plans were largely a bust by the time I was laid off the final time, lost my apartment in a hurricane, and was diagnosed with a serious debilitating chronic illness, Crohn’s disease.

In this Part III I will dissect and analyze what happened to me as basically the punchline of a cosmic patriarchal and capitalist joke — modern girls and women are led to believe that educations and careers can and will save us from the oppressive lives our mothers and grandmothers led but this is easier said than done.  In reality, my experience and observation has led me to conclude that, under capitalism and patriarchy, women’s “success” or power largely refers to women’s increased spending power as “successful” consumers who make money for other people, where we first accrue an enormous student debt load and then both mandatory and so-called discretionary expenses increase faster than our incomes making the goal of achieving true financial security elusive at best.  Women are in fact prevented in every case from creating safe, sane and comfortable lives for ourselves, including the financial security to protect ourselves from the very worst of patriarchy and capitalism when things go sideways, whether we have careers, or children, or neither or both.  It really doesn’t appear to matter at all.

Continue reading “Self-Sufficiency, Responsibility, Preparation, Independence and Other Nonstarters. Part III. The Punchline.”

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Self-Sufficiency, Responsibility, Preparation, Independence and Other Nonstarters. Part II. The Execution.

In Part I of this series, I described my early motivation to become “successful” professionally in order to secure financial and material control over my future and my life, to create a financial “safety net” in case I ever needed one, and to avoid the oppressive outcomes of my mother and grandmother before me.  In this Part II I describe how I executed my plan.

No female in my line had ever attempted let alone completed an advanced degree so I have no idea where I got the idea that I could do it.  But I know when and where I was when I started thinking I should do it — I had just graduated from college and couldn’t find a job.  I had been living on need-based student loans and various side-gigs for years and was frankly sick and tired of being a student but I was good at it and the loans paid the bills for now.  I knew I needed to continue my education and I knew I needed to be as highly skilled and educated as possible if I had any hope of supporting myself including getting myself through when times got tough.  I had no one to help me.

I applied and was accepted to law school and moved to a new state, got set up in an apartment and began a terrifying and exhausting journey that pushed me beyond my limits.  I endured the dreaded Socratic Method that seemed designed to cause anxiety and panic in students.  I did Law Review because I had heard that you needed either that or Moot Court on your transcript if you ever hoped to get a job and Moot Court was essentially Socratic Method on steroids.  I did an extensive 2-term internship, took on a teaching assistant position, wrote and published a journal article and did everything I could to increase my chances of beginning the successful career I knew I needed to survive.  I had days and weeks where I grievously abused my body and my mind completing grueling tasks with little or no sleep and suffered a couple of serious illnesses likely due to stress.  At one point I had frightening GI symptoms that may have been my first bout with Crohn’s disease — looking back, I had all the symptoms of a bowel obstruction.  But I soldiered on.

Continue reading “Self-Sufficiency, Responsibility, Preparation, Independence and Other Nonstarters. Part II. The Execution.”

Self-Sufficiency, Responsibility, Preparation, Independence and Other Nonstarters. Part I. The Motivation.

My mother always told me that getting married and having children ruined her life.  She told me her own mother had forced her to get married when she was 17 years old because that was the right thing to do and she would not have her daughter living in sin.  If I recall, my mother had already graduated from high school, gotten her own apartment and was in nursing school by then.  My dad was 20 and as men always seem to do, he moved in to her space and thus inserted himself into her life forever.  My mom never wanted children and actively tried to prevent that from happening — she tried the dangerous and essentially experimental early high-dose birth control pills that gave her terrible side effects.  She gave up on them after 5 years, my dad regularly raped her and refused to use a condom, and I have no idea what else she tried or didn’t try before she became pregnant with me at 22, pretty much immediately after stopping the Pill.  She was pregnant again 2 months after I was born, and then again when I was 3.

Continue reading “Self-Sufficiency, Responsibility, Preparation, Independence and Other Nonstarters. Part I. The Motivation.”