Sunday, June 19, 2022

Big Lies

There's a belief out there, especially prevalent among politicians, that if a lie's big enough, people will believe it because it has to be the truth.  

They're both right and wrong, on that.  

People believe what they want to believe--either because they really, really want it to be true...or because they're afraid it might be.  

The USA has fed us--women, in particular--a massive lie for...well, for much longer than I've been alive.  

That lie?  

"You can have it all!  The lucrative career, the perfect house, the perfect family!  It all can be yours--you don't have to sacrifice anything!!!"  

It isn't just a lie.  It's a damned, filthy lie.  

Nobody can have it all.  There are trade offs that have to be made.  Always.  For everyone.  

When I taught college, I had a colleague that I had been on good terms with...she was friendly, I knew her from the time I was a student and liked her.  She saw potential in me--pushed me as a student to go for a masters' degree, then pushed me as a colleague to go for a doctorate.  Told me I was too smart, too good to stay an adjunct.  

I...didn't go for the doctorate.  At all.  I didn't want to.  I loved teaching, yes--however.  However.  

I barely made it through the two years of my masters' degree with my sanity intact.  I was, as I've mentioned before, one of two in a department of around two hundred (full professors, adjuncts, and graduate teaching assistants) who didn't vote for John Kerry in '04.  

I could have had my doctorate.  At the expense of my sanity. 

I could not have had both.  

This same colleague chose something else: she wanted her career, but she also wanted a husband and children (she dearly wanted children).  She chose to postpone marriage and children until she and her fiance got work in the same town.  

On the one hand, I got that.  However.  They'd been engaged for twelve years by the time they got married.  She was in her mid forties when they got married, and by that time, it wasn't possible for them to conceive.  Even with help.  They explored all of their options, and...

In choosing to wait, they gave up the chance to have children.  They set their priorities...and lost out on one of the things they really wanted.  

Because you cannot have everything.  

(She ended up hating me, by the way, for making the choices I did, the ones opposite to the choices she made.)

The pernicious belief that you making a lot of women make assumptions that prove wrong later, and making them miserable and bitter.  And it's also making them target other women who chose otherwise as somehow "betraying the sisterhood of all women and pushing us back to being trapped in the home doing nothing."

(Which, by the way, the working class never was--they were too busy working.  And most of those bitching would never have been trapped in the home doing nothing--there's always work to be done--and would have been grateful for a day off from housework.)

I think what drives the bitterness is the nagging feeling that they bought a lie, and an unfulfilling one for most of them, at that.  

Unfortunately, anytime someone suggests that such might be the case, they're descended upon with (often digital, but sometimes real) threats of actual bodily harm by those who have that nagging feeling, and are trying to drown it out by drowning out other voices that back it up. 


  1. A lot of folks about to find out they bought a lie.

    1. A lot of folks have already figured it out. Some doubled down. Some got depressed. Others...others have gotten really, really angry. Some of *those* aim it at themselves, and others...don't.

      We are getting closer than I'd like to seeing a violent reaction.

  2. Yeah, learned THAT lesson a LONG time ago. Did what I thought was right, do not regret it at all. Don't have it all, or even half, but I'm happy with what I have and my sanity.

    1. I have six acres, a well, a solid roof, kids that are very well educated and aren't confused about which bathroom to use (or molested or outright raped by teachers). That's *more* than enough. Even if I don't have a propane cookstove or furnace, and don't eat out as often as I'd like to. Or have as large of a new (or new to me) books budget as I'd like.

      I'm *happy* with what I have.


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