22. Feminism on Girls’ Day

March 3rd is Girls’ Day in Japan. This is what came up for me as I put up decorations in my daughter’s room:

There’s a saying in Japanese —​目に入れても痛くない — it means, it doesn’t hurt even if you put it in your eye. My mom uses it to explain how much my dad adored me. He could put me in his eye, and it wouldn’t hurt him.

Unfortunately, there’s a memory that pops up in tandem that extinguishes the warm fuzzies. It’s him dismissing the importance of my college education. “It doesn’t matter what you do. You’re just going to get married.”

This, after I saw him just two years prior, caring very much about my brother’s college choices. He poured over the applications and brought the essays to his colleagues for proof reading. The fact that I’m writing about this as a grown ass adult, many many years later… I clearly need to tend to this wound and let it heal.

It’s not easy though, because in the tiniest way, he was right. I AM married. I DO stay home to care for my family. My college degree doesn’t appear to be useful at the moment. Whereas my brother — his college degree is directly helping him provide for his family.

Obviously, my dad wasn’t completely right. Among many other benefits, my college education sowed seeds that will continue to sprout throughout my life. So today, I choose to take his dismissive words and turn it into a powerful statement.

It doesn’t matter what I do… ⏭

I am free to do whatever I want… ⏭

I have the power to choose. 💥💥💥

Feminism has always been about choice. My feminist act is to take what he said and choose to be liberated by it. I know he cared very much about my wellbeing. I know he didn’t mean to hurt me. I know he’s guiding me from wherever spirits go, and cheering me on. His words were misguided but they reflected his reality. He didn’t know better. But I DO know better, and I choose to be empowered by this wound. #girlpower

Happy Girls’ Day.