I've been thinking about how my life would be different if I followed the path set out for me by my parents, an alternate reality if you will. My parents had plans for us to emulate them with the second generation. The idea was that we would remain under my father's ultimate authority forever, but also for the daughters to come under the secondary authority of husbands, and for the sons to bring wives into the family who would also be under the authority of my father and my brothers.
If I had followed this plan, my life would be very different. Right now, I am married to a man who practices equality, we own a house and two cars, I have two university degrees and a great job. I am not well known in the community, but I am mostly respected by people who do know me. We have two cats. We visit friends and have a few drinks sometimes on weekends. We go on great vacations together. We own lots of nice things, I have enough clothes to go about a week without doing laundry. I enjoy cooking and baking, so I do these activities for enjoyment, but I cook gourmet meals and experiment with international cuisine because I can and we have the money.
I wear jeans and shorts and tank tops and mini skirts and tall sexy boots when I want to. I have pierced ears and wear earrings and rings and necklaces and makeup when I want to. My husband goes shopping with me because we like spending time together (and he pushes the cart and carries heavy stuff), he doesn't leave it to me to do, and he doesn't go to supervise my purchases, he just goes.
If I was in the family type I was raised to be part of, I would be married to a man who submitted to my father but expected me to submit to him. Since I am 25 years old, I would most certainly have at least two children by now, but since I would have been married around 18-20 years old, there is time for me to have had more. I would not have graduated high school, and would certainly have no degrees. I would be a full time homemaker, housewife, and homeschooling mother. I would wear skirts and dresses and headscarves. I would be a spectacle to others in the community.
I would not have wedding rings, or wear any other jewelry. I would not know the difference between an eye pencil and mascara. I would never have pretty red toenails. Depending on my theoretical husband's personality, I would either spend my days cleaning house and cooking what he wanted to eat, or take full responsibility for planning meals and hoping it met his approval. I would check for my husband's approval before taking any actions on my own. I would keep my eyes lowered and hold my body in a cowering position without even knowing I was doing it. I would be able to have pride in my husband's accomplishments, and those of my future children, but I would not take part in any activities that I could be proud of, other than cooking an exceptional meal or other domestic activity.
I would probably own an iron. I would know how to use our vacuum, unlike now because my real actual husband does all the vacuuming. I have control over my own reproductive system. Although I would make decisions about children with my husband, I will never be told that it's time to have children, I will never fear that my birth control might be tampered with, and I will never be told to trust god or my husband about such things. In fact, I fully anticipate going my whole life without my husband telling me to go on faith and just trust him about anything other than the disposal of dead spiders and where the windshield washer fluid goes.
I will be able to maintain my career throughout the process of raising children. I will not be expected or desired to home school my children. I will not be asked what is for dinner unless I offered to make something or he sees me cooking. If that doesn't happen, he will ask what we should make. I am not told how to dress. I have a short hair-style because I like it. If he really didn't think a look was attractive, we would talk about it, but I trust that he would never manipulate me into a more conservative style by saying it was not attractive.
I am able to buy clothes when I need new clothes, without proving to anyone that I need them. I do not get in trouble for any of my actions, even if they don't fit well with the actions or goals of my husband. Again if there was a clash, we would talk about it, and both sides would be willing to adjust. When I do have children, I still have the freedom to have me time, and I will not be the only parent that changes diapers. Because we are both wage earners, I will be able to purchase what I need, and never choose between needed items and food.
I do not need to account for each moment of my day, or who I talk to. I do not need to worry that I might be seen talking to men because there are no restrictions on my activities. I am not given responsibility for defrauding men. I am not given responsibility for my husband's mood or happiness or manliness, and my actions are not measured against an metric of respect, godliness, or "properness" of any kind. Being married to someone who practices equality is great.
I am so glad that I am not in the life that my parents planned for me. This life is so much better and relaxed. I am a person in my own right, and I have choices. I have responsibilities to, particularly it is important that I do not take away any of the choices that I have, from my husband. It has been a learning curve and it isn't perfect yet, but if it's this good now, I think it can only get better from here.