By Angela Hayden
Where do you think you are? In America? Some men believe its a pain in the ass for women to want equal rights. Hell, my mama raised five kids on her own after my drunken, abusive father left. He broke her nose twice and nearly killed me. She didn't have time to think about being a feminist. She was just a poor woman trying to survive in our society.
She sure as hell didn't expect to be raising us on her own. She did have to go on welfare, food stamps and student aid to get her nursing degree. She was a damned welfare mom. She worked full time at night and went to school full-time during the day. We didn't see much of her for four years.
She couldn't find a boyfriend that wanted to marry a woman with five kids. She got a job after four years on welfare and supported us. She died at the age of 45 from leukemia. I think it was pure exhaustion.
After I repeated the circle of violence and married an abusive man, I too left and became a damned welfare mom. I too collected food stamps and received aid to go to college. My two daughters were on Medicaid. After two years on welfare, I too got a job and tried to support my family. The whopping $200 a month in child support really didn't help much. Especially since daycare was $100 a week. My job paid $38,000. It sucked. I had a nervous breakdown. I didn't have any family around to help me. My mom, dad, grandmother and grandfather were dead. I couldn't afford to stay home when my youngest was sick and daycare wouldn't accept her either. I was always getting in trouble at work because I'd have to leave because something was going on with one of the girls from ear infections to head-lice.
I sure as hell wasn't thinking about being a feminist during all that hell. I was thinking about surviving.
Now that I do have time to think about being a feminist, I think I am. I'm a feminist and I believe in equal rights for everyone. I'm thankful to have married a good man and am enjoying getting to know what goodness is.
Angela Hayden is a New York artist with a blog , a CafePress shop of her art and a highly rated book on domestic violence called Dead Wrong.