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Daddy Issues and Feminism

'You're 10 feet tall and bulletproof, Little One. Ten feet tall and bulletproof.'

When I was a teenager, I used to secretly wish I had daddy issues.

Or that my father had been absent for my teenage years.

Or that my parents had split up and made me terrified of commitment for life.

I felt like that would give me some kind of excuse for messing up.

“Oh, my parents never gave me enough attention,” I’d tell the cops. “My dad left when I was 13 and my mom never told me I was pretty.”

But that never happened. The truth is, I could not have been blessed with better parents.  They celebrated 30 years together last month, and Daddy still wakes up before dawn to get Momma a Diet Coke when she’s out of them.

That is true love.

Even as a grown adult, I find myself resting on the promise that my Daddy can take care of anything. And even when God says “no” to a prayer, something inside me still has confidence that my Daddy can fix it.

And it’s not just him. Merle sang “Mama Tried,” while my momma did. A recent conversation with an old high school acquaintance left my mind reeling after he called me a “feminist.” That phrase has never once crossed my mind as something I should aspire to. Merely, I just strive to be as strong and independent as the women I come from.

I was taught to never depend on a man. Never depend on anyone. Make enough money to buy your own clothes. Be a lady, but stand up for everything you believe in. Sit with your ankles crossed, but be able to walk in stilettos. Take risks, but come home safe. Don't be afraid of anything or anyone. Nobody will ever love you as much as your Daddy.

My foundations weren’t shaky, they were strong as stone. If that’s what makes a feminist, then I bear that title proudly. If you ask my family, that's what makes a solid woman and all these fragile ones have got it wrong.

I suppose in some parts of the country a woman keeping a household, family and job is considered an act of feminism. In my world, we call that a Tuesday.

I recently wrote a story about how myshe had known for two weeks. You want to know what makes a Southern woman or one of these so-called “feminists?” This advice: Find a man who can pick out good presents. I don’t mean flowers and jewelry. You’re going to be passionate and you’re going to get in a lot of fights. You’re going to win.  Gable women always win.

My grandmother told me that when I was a teenager, and I can still see her standing there showing me a red lace nightgown my grandfather bought her.

Jesse B. could apparently pick out good presents.

I guess somewhere down the line those got defined as a “feminist,” but I was taught those are just the things I was made for. Having a job was never an option, but a gift that I should take every advantage of. Thank God for every day you’re blessed enough to work.

So now, even on my worst days when I want nothing more than to crawl back into bed and be weak, I hear my Daddy’s words ringing forever in my head:

“You’re 10 feet tall and bulletproof, Little One. Ten feet tall and bulletproof.”

Lauren Wallace May 25, 2011 at 10:43 PM
I absolutely LOVE this! You are simply amazing Ms. Gable!!

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