We Are Not Your Property!

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Whether children or adults, we are not your property! We are not your property when young, as wives, nor as employees!

… This week, my sister told me that the choice that our parents made for her (involving removal of seven of her adult teeth as a child, although our father was somewhat reluctant about the procedure) has led to severe and very expensive dental procedures now. While she is currently in her sixties, the remaining teeth are wobbly and shifting into empty spaces, spaces provided by her mouth being emptied of lots of teeth when she was a teenager.

Was she consulted about her OWN body at the time in terms of a treatment plan for her oral overbite? No.

She told me that in the 1950’s, children in the USA were largely considered as property, as were wives, who were passed on as being property from their fathers to their husbands. Well, excuse me! I don’t think of myself as chattel and never will do so.

I am not a property, nor an object. I do know that young girl children are sold into something like slavery to make gorgeous oriental rugs in Egypt and when their eyesight fail and their hands are crippled, they are again sold (at around age fourteen) to husbands by rug sellers when they become useless for work.

It works out in a sort of way since the parents of the children can’t afford to feed them and their lives still continue, and they are tended by the rug sellers since they provide monetary value to him. (Imagine selling your child.)

In Haiti, I have read that there is a similar situation — not identical, but roughly the same. It goes like this:

Parents sell their children to be slaves (or call them indentured servants if you want, but they are property of whomever bought them to do whatever is commanded of them in exchange for food, drink, clothes and bedding — a good deal for the owners).

In other parts of the world, children work in quarries, factories, garbage dumps, cottage industries and mines. I can’t help them have better lives than that of grueling toil day after day and hour after hour since it is beyond my scope.

Meanwhile I never considered my daughter as mine to do with as I pleased. So when a Harvard University dental school doctor, an orthodontist, told me that he would take care of her under-bite by drilling holes in both sides of her jaws, top and bottom, and force the bottom outward with a spring-plunger device, all that  could envision was something designed during the Spanish Inquisition. So no thank you.

Another one from the same school wanted teeth removal as a remedy. What if she needs those molars as an elderly woman? Well, excuse me. This scenario is sadly that which happened to my sister. So no thank you.

I went to a third Harvard trained fellow and was fed up at that point. I was quite blunt. I shared about the rejected treatment plans from both the other two and told him that they were too aggressive as measures. So I asked about what he proposed.

His plan, it turned out, was amenable involving just shifting her teeth around through braces so as to bring the bottom jaw naturally forward. So I picked him.

Now my daughter has a beautifully functional mouth … unlike my poor sister, who now has to do all sorts of weird and expensive medical interventions to not lose her remaining teeth while in her sixties age-wise.

I only had three rules for my daughter while she grew up under my care (not ownership). Keep yourself safe at home and in the outer-world where there are rapists and other predators, keep sanitary (including with plates of food in your bedroom) and don’t promote mediocrity. For the last category, put in effort for whatever you do or don’t bother at all since it is a waste of your capability and the time of everyone else when someone needlessly acts as a lazy mindless dolt. So climb up, girl, climb up to the peak of yourself.

Right now, though, in the immediate moment, I am more focused on my sister than my daughter. It is because no parent or other person like a spouse has the right to control us in wrongful ways. This includes dentists, doctors and any family members. Thus, my advise is to not let them do so. Instead fight even if one is a child. Otherwise, one could end up like my sister and unlike my daughter.

I saw my daughter, when she was thirteen years old at a restaurant, start to get furiously glassy-eyed and she had a look of severe repugnance on her face due to our overhearing a father at the next table badger his child. In response, I told her to stay out of it all unless you see someone actually being harmed. … My sister knows that stance: The Good Sister, A Model For US All! – Countercurrents.

My daughter, eventually, learned to discriminate, too, when to intervene or not as has my sister and me. As a school guidance counselor for 350 children, my daughter can be “a trip and six” just like my sister when intervention is needed for wrongs involving helpless or nearly helpless others. (Oh no, you don’t want to do the tango with her unless you are her husband … and she is as sweet as sweet can be most of the time.)

Fortunately, you can always find my sister and my daughter standing by you. It is their ilk — period. People like them live and love across the world and in every country, and they are tough to stop, too.You can always count on them!

Yet put another way and back to the main gist, I do not own my daughter and never did. In fact, I own nothing. I’m just a renter on this planet and own nothing.

Now the government can tell me that I own my home and property. So they can send me a big quarterly bill for it. And I don’t mind paying money for the police, firefighters, schools, snow plowing, other amenities and government oversight in my town. Yet I know in my heart of hearts that I am not an owner of this place, this house built in the 1860’s and occupied by many people before my time and ones to come after me. Likewise I do not own anything in it. Like all of us, I’m just passing through.

Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA



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