Dear Female Ancestors,
As another Mother’s Day approaches, I write this letter to you wishing that I could somehow communicate back through time and space the love that I feel for each and every one of you.
There is so much I don’t know about you and your lives and because of my ignorance. A great amount of your idiosyncrasies, habits, daily routines, hopes, dreams, joys, frustrations and heartbreaks can only be the subject of my wistful conjecture.
Along with this, over the last few years, as I have been researching my genealogical roots, I have also often found that your stories and stories about you have been downplayed, overlooked or simply not told at all.
Hence, I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to your lives, for a large number of you, I can only speak in generalities. I can place a number of you in a myriad of historical eras and geographical locations and know that you were witnesses to and participants in many of the societal and cultural shifts and events that have shaped the modern world.
The patriarchal rendering of history, being what it is though, likes to discount you and anything you may have achieved, accomplished or contributed simply because you were females, sometimes like you were virtually invisible, but I know you were there — achieving, accomplishing and contributing.
As much as that thought makes me smile, I hang my head in painful lamentation when I think of the horrible depths of your suffering as members of my gender, the male gender, probably at certain times, disrespected, defiled, subjugated, abused, molested, raped and scapegoated you. I imagine your pain at the offenses and crimes committed against you and my heart wants to burst in anguish as my words disappear into a wrenching despair. I am left wishing through my tears that you could all hear me whispering just one time “that they were to blame, not you.”
While bravery, fortitude, courage, and integrity are words usually reserved for males throughout history, I use them now to describe you. You are all true heroines to me, not in the comic book or superheroine sense, but in a far better way —in the human sense, with all of your beautiful scars and flaws. In a world that so often treated you as disposable, said you were never good enough, took everything you had to give and still wanted more and then eternally judged you, you were resilient and courageous as you faced the day to day pressures of this life.
My dear ones, I am here to say that you were not born into this world to just be sexual playthings or human baby machines. You were never second class citizens and you should have never been treated as such. To be sure, progress in the world was stifled in direct proportion to the amount that your progress was stifled.
I know through my research that you were, among other things — queens, princesses, baronesses, servants, homemakers, patriots, warriors, saints, farmers, philanthropists, artists, and writers as well being wives and mothers.
On this Mother’s Day, I want to say thank you for giving life to the world through your bodies even as I realize that sometimes it was in the most harrowing of conditions and that some of you, sadly my precious ones, didn’t survive giving birth or its after effects. Without each and every one of you, I wouldn’t or couldn’t exist. Your love and compassion still reverberate, and your unfulfilled hopes and dreams live on inside of me.
On a day unknown to me in the future, I will join you as one of those who have physically departed this world and it is my promise to all of you, my beloved ones, until that day, as a man and as your descendant, I will never stop fighting to make this world a better place for every human being, regardless of their gender. Your spirit, like your blood, courses gloriously and sweetly through my veins and will forever propel me forward.
Your son, grandson, and great-grandson,
John Michael Antonio
Originally published on Feminine Collective
Photo: Getty Images