Nobody told me when I was growing up that I was poor, that my family’s poverty was caused by those who are rich and it was the government’s job to correct this.
Nobody told me I could commit violent acts of crime and not be held responsible because I was mistreated as a child.
Nobody told me I needn’t wait for marriage to have sex.
None of the schools I attended made condoms available to my boyfriends or provided a counselor to tell me it was normal and healthy to have sex with the same gender.
Nobody in the school systems told me the dangers of religion—that I would break the law if I spoke about God, that I would be arrested if I clasped hands with schoolmates and prayed around the flagpole or that I might be expelled if I sang “Jesus Loves Me” in a school talent show.
Nobody told me I didn’t need a husband to have a baby. Nobody told me I could kill my baby as long as it was in the right place—my body.
Nobody told me the government would give me a monthly check for each child I bore—as long as I didn’t marry.
Nobody told me when I married that it needn’t be forever, that it was my mate’s responsibility to fill all my needs and keep me happy and if he didn’t I should dump him.
Nobody told me that the government would pay me not to work.
Nobody told me that if I were lucky enough to be hired by the same employer for any length of time I could later sue him for any pains resulting from my repetitive job.
Nobody told me that if I drove while I was drunk and had an accident I could sue the police department for not arresting me.
Nobody told me that if I were injured while trespassing on private property, or trying to burglarize, assault or murder someone, I could sue them.
Nobody told me that good was bad and bad was good.
Nobody told me that if I took pornographic photos of little children, or of two males engaged in sex or created a picture of a Crucifix submerged in a glass of urine, the National Endowment of Arts would praise me as an artist and the government would fund money for it.
Nobody told me I could have a band with the name of a male or female genital organ, that I could make tons of money through the production of live and recorded lyrics that encourage suicide, the killing of policemen, and the violent rape of women—while hiding under the protection of the First Amendment.
Nobody told me I could gain nationwide fame and wealth by accusing a former boss of sexual harassment and charging $10,000 for speaking on the subject afterwards.
Why didn’t somebody tell me all these things?
Who knows how different my life might have been.
I might have experienced the excitement of countless lovers and marriages and avoided over 34 years with the same loving husband.
Had somebody warned me of the dangers of Christianity I might still be enjoying the pity reserved for those who are abused as children. I might have avoided years of healthy healing through spiritual growth.
I might have shrugged off compassionate tendencies toward those less fortunate, saved countless monies in donations and avoided years of service to my church and community.
Who knows how much money I could have made in other ways had I known about and exercised my rights as a citizen. I could have bypassed years of hard work and avoided my employers’ continuing good will.
Had I known the extent of my rights as a woman I could have avoided the pangs of childbirth, the recurring expressions of love from my children, and the candy-smeared kisses of my granddaughter.
If only I had known!
But nobody told me. Who is responsible for this oversight? Please tell me. Maybe it’s not too late.
I could sue them.
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Originally published as an Op Ed in The Sierra Star, Oakhurst, CA, on Thursday, October 29, 1992.