Years ago, I wrote DIRTY WORDS ON CLEAN SKIN, a book exposing corporate media’s sexist bias against powerful women, Hillary Clinton in particular. So much of my writing about her (The New York Times’ Vendetta Against Hillary Clinton) fought to correct big media’s vile caricature. I’d also been writing about VP Harris since 2013, specifically, Don’t Allow Kamala To Be Hillary’d By The Press. But for all of my 100s of articles, blog posts and interviews, my voice had its roots with my mother. Not that she was of the same mind. Quite the opposite.
Mom was terrified of taking up time and space. Living through World War II as a teenager had cemented her fear of authority figures. In my own way, I grew up being just as fearful, ever the chameleon, terrified to share my opinion. My mom also thought beauty was all that mattered–after all, it was the only approbation she received from my father, who was otherwise abusive and belittling to her. So what does my mother have to do with Vice President Harris and Secretary Clinton? The fact is I probably never would have written about them or become as vocal as I did without the experiences I had with my mom – both fighting for her, defending her from my abusive father – as well as fighting against her subservient view of what a woman is.
I saw the horrid way that she was treated at home. There was a clear parallel between that and the kind of abuse we saw and still see play out on the national stage against powerful women. With the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, it is more apparent than ever that too many are threatened by a woman having agency over her own person—never mind aspiring to higher office.
Though I seem to have gone quiet in recent years, I haven’t. I’ve been approaching women’s empowerment from a different angle, through the lens of family, specifically challenging my relationship with my mother. She was a mercurial workaholic as addicted to the care of an abusive, ill husband as she was critical of my every move. Who knew she was projecting all her fears and insecurities onto me? I had to reinvent our relationship in order to finally stand up–for me, for her, for other women.
I’ve long sought to understand the why of my background. What was I meant to learn from all of that? Recalling the particulars of my mother’s life led me to start putting the puzzle pieces together. At last, I experienced a deeper sense of purpose, one that would require my entire skill set. I grew to understand the value of feminism as much by standing up for an abused woman who had never believed in herself as I did by championing two political icons who personified grit.
My mother’s experiences were the inspiration that led me to write DIRTY WORDS ON CLEAN SKIN in the first place. The least feminist woman on the planet had made me into one. So I guess you could say my new book, YOU RUINED MY LIFE AND YOU STOLE MY BRA, is my origin story. It’s also a powerful, entertaining memoir many will relate to. No matter my conflicts with my mother due to our having belief systems that were centuries apart, we were hungry to find each other. The love in that journey healed me and taught me a great deal about myself and the power I have–when I take a break from criticizing myself. (Funny how women seem to be taught to do that!)
I hope you’ll take a look at what I have to share and see if it resonates with you.
Though this book is about the unusual way I found to heal my relationship with my mom, it’s just as much about me learning how to stand in my own light despite my mother’s lifelong aversion to hers. Check it out: YOU RUINED MY LIFE AND YOU STOLE MY BRA, a Mother/Daughter Love Story.
I hope I’m still welcome to share here though this is a departure from what many may be used to from me. And, as always, thank you so much for taking the time to read my work.