I never knew there was a name for the belief system that was shoved down my throat as a child.
For years I have struggled to undo the psychological damage this upbringing has caused. I have dug inside my brain and worked very hard to change my views and attitude toward the opposite gender.
Growing up in this environment taught me that women were under everyone and everything. We didn’t matter and were meant to breed and serve. Over the years this mentality has caused severe confusion. Exploring these ideas, asking questions, and trying to understand usually ended up with the same arguments:
“You’re convinced all men are the same…but they’re not.”
“You’re close minded and immature.”
“Misogyny goes both ways, you know.”
A friend of mine was kind enough to mention fundamentalism and when I googled it, my mind was blown. There was an immense burden lifted from my heart and soul. The more I read, the more I realized this was exactly what I experienced.
The monster inside my subconscious had a name.
This was a name. A thing. A well-documented thing. This was something I could read, learn, study…and then reprogram myself with logic and truth.
This was a concrete concept I could use to heal myself of this psychological damage.
I have had many discussions at great length with many people over the years. I could never understand their offense at me trying to learn and understand myself. I didn’t know this was a thing. I didn’t know this was a genuine belief system. I didn’t know I could use this word to find like minded individuals that can help me conquer these demons…once and for all.
I always viewed motherhood and marriage as a life of nothing but slavery. Nobody takes care of you. Nobody cares about you. Nobody will do anything to help you….while you’re expected to do everything for them.
I remember being a young woman and learning sex education in school. I would go to church and watch the pastor preach, while his wife and children were attentive in the first pew. I couldn’t help but laugh inside because who are they kidding?
They have children and some people are lucky enough to impregnate on the first try but for the most part, most adult couples do it more than once before getting pregnant. Then, they all dress up and come to church looking so prim and proper. I began to wonder about things my young mind had no business wondering about…
Do pastors wives enjoy that sort of activity?
Is it a chore for them?
The girls at my lunch table have already done it and it’s not a big deal to them…so why is it a big deal to us?
Are Christian women allowed to enjoy sex?
Do our husbands think less of us if we do enjoy sex?
What if they’re total freaks and we don’t know it?
This was when I began to realize everyone was dressing up and playing make believe. This was when I began to realize everyone was trying to outdo each other in how believable they could make their illusion to everyone else. I realized I didn’t want any part of this.
As a young woman, I was molested by my stepfather and when my mother found out, one of her favorite reminders to me was,
You’ll have to find a husband willing to forgive you for your impurity. You’ll have to ask his forgiveness before you can marry.
My soul was crushed and I was filled with so much dread and anxiety over this…and then I was angry. I think this was a real defining point in my life because it was from this anger I began to free myself.
Once the weight and gravity of what she said settled in, I thought to myself,
No, I don’t. I don’t even have to marry a Christian man; how about that, Mommy Dearest?
My anger turned into shock and awe at this newfound realization. I didn’t have to do this anymore….and I started rebelling hard against everything I was taught. I would purposely find contradictions in the Bible to rope the Pastor and deacons into arguments and questions they couldn’t answer.
Then, I started getting bold.
“Hey, Pastor. God created monkeys.”
“God created everything.”
“Some monkeys are homosexual.”
The point I was making was if God created monkeys and they practiced homosexuality, then gay people should be left alone.
It was a controversial topic that was brought up a lot. The adults would stand around and talk about hot button issues I would quietly slip in there and wait…wait for them to get nice and deep into the conversation. When there was a lull in the conversation,
“God gave us free will. Everyone knows there are consequences to their actions. If that’s what they want for themselves, you can’t really stop them.”
I thought it was so stupid and lame to stand around and talk about groups of people that have no bearing on your life whatsoever. It was so dumb how they would tear apart abortionists, gay people, Pokemon and whatever else they deemed “evil” at that particular moment.
I realized it was all non sense. When I grew up, I wanted to be free and independent. A take charge kind of girl!
As luck would have it, I hate taking charge and being lonely sucks. I was right back where I started – I believed everyone should be free so why did I want a boyfriend? I researched feminism and started getting into it but it was a bit…extreme and fragmented.
I was railing against fundamentalism but genuinely feel much safer and a lot more confident when I can say, “I have a boyfriend.” I like the security and protection of my boyfriend but feminism railed against this 100% while this fell in line with fundamentalism.
Where did I fall on this scale between these two extremes?
Right smack dab in the middle.
I like big and tall men. I like what I refer to as “classic men.” Classic in the sense that they fix stuff and do all the dirty jobs. They save me from all the creepy crawlies, vermin, and whatever is making that god awful smell in the trash bin.
They can reach that top shelf of the kitchen cupboard and aren’t squeamish about getting their hands dirty. Also, good money manager. Because I’m terrible with money.
I’ve done it on my own for years and was doing it wrong for so long. Here comes the boyfriend to save the day. But wait a moment…
Am I less of a woman because of the type of man I like?
No, I am not because I had the room, the freedom, and the independence to learn who I am, what I like, and what I need from my life. I wasn’t following a script or an ancient text telling me how I should live my life. These were my own decisions based on my own personal needs and there isn’t any shame in that.
I did what I set out to do and that was to find myself. Explore myself. Attend to my needs. Be my own person and make up my own mind. It really bothers me that around every corner there is always someone telling you who you are, who you should be, and how you should behave.
I definitely believe in respecting other people, common courtesy and etc. Beyond that, you do you, boo.
As for whether I am a fundamentalist, or a feminist, I am neither.
I am quite simply Gwyneth. I am nothing less, and nothing more. I do not choose to ally myself with any kind of group or political organization because I know all too well the toxic narrow mindedness such limited thinking can bring.
All of that being said, I am jump starting this new year by…
Continuing to explore myself and do what I enjoy, and what makes me happy!