Who told you to do that?, they asked. We didn’t. We never tried to influence your life. Those were your decisions. So if you have problems now, don’t complain. You made the bed, sweetie, now lie in it.
That’s an understandable response, it really is. After all, one always should take full responsibility for one’s decisions. But were they really our decisions at all?
You didn’t tell us to wear stilettos. You just gravitated towards the girls who did, while we waited in our sensible ballerinas, waiting to be asked to dance.
You didn’t tell us to get married early. You just gave our parents a funny little look – half pitying, half quizzical – when they told you we were single.
You didn’t even tell us to marry who we married. You only asked if we were quite sure we’d ever find anyone better?
You didn’t tell us to have children. You just implied that being married without a child meant there was a problem in the marriage, or giggle-giggle, one of the two.
You didn’t tell us to quit our jobs when we became mothers. You just kept asking sympathetically how it didn’t kill us when we left our babies behind and went off to work all day.
You didn’t tell us to become housewives either. You just judged those of us who didn’t have the time to keep their homes spick and span.
You didn’t tell us to go out and work. You just wondered, politely, what good education was if you were going to throw it all away to become a glorified servant.
You didn’t tell us not to flirt. You just spread rumours about those of us who did.
You didn’t tell us not to drink, not to party, or not to dress as we please. You just labelled those of us who did, whores.
So you’re right, all of you who say you didn’t tell us to do or not do anything. You didn’t. Not in words. But in a hundred thousand other ways, yes, you bloody well did. So now, how about we discuss taking responsibility for one’s actions?