To those who know me personally, my name remains the same. To my online followers, Katlady has become Leia. Katlady Chronicles has become Greetings From Endor. Why Leia? She was one of the first, perhaps THE first independent women in film who made an impression on me as a young girl. Why Endor? In ‘Return of the Jedi’, Endor is the moon upon which the Rebellion’s headquarters are located. It is where they celebrated after finally conquering Darth Vadar and the Empire.
What am I doing this for, anyway? Inquiring minds want to know …..
My mother was one of the trailblazers. She graduated from high school in 1944 and embarked on a career as a bookkeeper. She was not interested in marrying simply for the sake of marrying. The call of motherhood was not beckoning her. Throughout her twenties and early thirties, she continued to live the single life that so many young women today take for granted. She was teased continually for her lack of a husband and children. When she married my father, she was 35 years old. I have never doubted for a second that she married him because she loved him, not because she had bowed to any sort of pressure. He had what could politely be described as “a lot of baggage”. He came with four children from a previous marriage in which his wife had abandoned all of them. What woman in her right mind would marry him just to shut the family up? No, I am quite certain that this was a love story.
Even so, she was not done asserting her rights. She was a devout, practicing Catholic, but when I arrived, she was 37 years old. For sure, more children were not part of their plan. Steps were taken to assure that I would be their one and only – steps that went very much against the laws of the Catholic Church. When I was six years old, she went back to work full-time. In 1971, my mother understood that a woman will be a much better mother to her children when she herself is fulfilled. The assumption that all women are completely fulfilled by motherhood is both false and dangerous. My mother knew this and did what she needed to do to take care of herself and by extension, of me.
My mother believed in the right to control her own life, and she fought to do just that every day of her life, until dementia robbed her of the ability to do so. But even in the final months of her life, she firmly believed that she was controlling her own destiny. In a strange way, she really was. She broke her hip because in her own mind, she thought she could still walk. She refused to do what needed to be done post-surgery (brandishing stabilizer pads at the staff, etc..), and I believe she willed herself to shut down, pass away and be reunited with my father.
Our new President poses a threat to the rights that women have spent decades fighting to gain. We simply cannot advance any further if we are to be deprived of our basic reproductive rights and general control over our own bodies. Equal pay for equal work? How is this attainable if we cannot control the size and timing of the growth of our own families? We must have the same choices as men if we are to be paid equally to men. A woman should be able to choose to have eight children or no children at all. It’s just that simple. And so….
In honor of my late mother and all of the women who blazed the trail for the women of my generation and beyond, I will maintain this blog with the purpose of supporting women’s rights and our resistance to this Administration. I can do no less.