Entries Tagged 'Women' ↓
January 28th, 2013 — Deep thoughts, Hillary Clinton, Women
Do you think being too nice is a sign of weakness?
I wonder about this often.
I have been accused of being too nice. There could be worse things, of course. And I don’t have any beef with being nice. If folks think that I am, well, that’s something to be proud of, right?
Whatever I am, I am that way and rarely succeed at being something I am not. So there it is, right on my sleeve for the world to see. Nice, I guess.
But, do you think nice is taken seriously? Can nice people be effective ball-busters, respected leaders or rising stars? I wonder.
(Not that I really aim to be some flashy rising star, but it helps make my point so let’s go with it.)
I think about this a lot.
When I think of leaders, I think of women like Hillary Clinton. Did you see her testify before the Senate? Well, I saw the comments afterwards. This woman is perceived as a tough bitch. Hands down. And most women I have ever seen at the helm of anything major, well, they are perceived as tough. And as bitches. And, for that, they make no apologies. Nor should they.
Photo credit: Mashable
But how many “nice” women do you see in similar positions?
It’s an old argument. And we could go on for days about how women HAVE to be tougher or perceived as less feminine to get ahead. And I don’t disagree. I’m just not sure where that leaves me.
Ms. “Nice Guy”.
My office mates joke that I need asshole training. I don’t disagree with that, either. It cracks me up when they say that because I am so unable to be a really believable asshole. Being an asshole, for the most part, just isn’t in my make-up.
But is being nice… weak?
There is part of me that hates to see folks unhappy. Groan, right? Who the hell needs a people-pleaser around to get anything done effectively. Honestly. But it’s not as simple as that. Well, maybe when I was younger it was. But now it’s more about taking the time to consider all sides. And, you know what, I don’t think my way is always the right way. AND I think that feelings matter. I do. Respecting the people around you is cool. I am also OK with doing some grunt work and sparing someone else from doing it.
…Eh. Commendable. But weak.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not THAT nice. I say mean things everyday. I could be a hell of a lot nicer to my husband most mornings. There are too many people to list that would get a phone call from me… if I were nicer and far more thoughtful.
Maybe I pick and choose my nice. For instance, if I were to say I was a good leader at anything, I think it’s in the mom department. (If I do say so myself. *shoulder-dust*) I’m nice to my kids. I’m nice until they push it. Then I stop the nice immediately and get serious. We can go from a loud and lively game of Battleship to game-over and time outs for everyone if the kids get into it. And once it’s over and they have earned another round, I’m back and willing to play.
But, you see, I am confident as a mom. It’s the rest of it that I need to gain traction on and trust that my instincts are right, even if they are nice.
I want to play by my rules, really. I don’t want to push another down to get where I want to go. I don’t want to insist that I deserve better than anyone else. I would rather lift those around me up, stand as an example and cheer loudly for the good guys.
(Oh lordy, in an ideal world. Maybe I’m not that nice. I need to work on all of this more.)
Anyway, these are things people like me think about. At almost 40 and looking back at what I’ve really done with what I have and giving some real consideration to my strengths and weaknesses. With Etta James on Pandora and my stretchiest PJ pants no chocolate in the house.
But don’t you dare call me hormonal. Whatever “nice” I have claimed so sweetly will go south fast.
(And if you love me, and know me well, you can stop laughing at that threat, too. I’m trying here.)
March 3rd, 2012 — Friendship, Parenting, Women
I’ve come to the conclusion that being a grown-up can make you a terrible friend. Not only does it make you a terrible friend, it renders you fairly useless at finding new friendships and gives you no hope of fanning the flames of any potential ones.
Let me explain.
I used to be a pretty good friend, or so I thought. I wasn’t the kind of girl who had dozens and dozens of flighty, here and there friendships. I’ve been a cereal monogamist from he start. I always focused on a few but loved those few with all I had.
So nice of me.
Fast forward to now. I don’t call my friends. That just takes too long. I hardly check my voicemail. That takes too long, too. I follow them on Facebook certainly, but it takes something really cool or really, REALLY cute to inspire me to make any effort to comment. I don’t see my friends. Because that would require calling them. And making a plan. And organizing childcare.
And it’s not that I don’t think I am capable of being a good friend. I’m just not being a good friend currently. At least, not very well.
But I love my friends, right? I do. I really do. They are worth every effort, of course. So why don’t I make that effort?
*Insert whiny, super dramatic groan here.*
Because I’m too busy. And too tiiiiirrrred.
Being a grown-up — and my definition of grown-up means a bill-paying parent with a mortgage and too much laundry to do — requires that you put friendships at the bottom of your priority list.
I remember learning about an animal behavior theory in college. This is a complete bastardization of how it works (its been a couple decades) but it goes something like this: An animal’s behavior very often depends on it’s environment and immediate needs. So, if it’s life is in danger, food and sleep are back-burnered and an animal does anything in its power to get safe. If it feels safe, ok, then it’s about food, water and shelter. If that’s taken care of then, then sleep is on the agenda. Once they have got that need under control, it’s about procreation — find a mate, make a baby and then take care of the baby. Then, if all of these more important needs are met and accounted for, an animal will… wait for it… play.
That’s me. I’m too busy knocking the rest of my survival list down to think about something as self-indulgent as PLAY.
Ok, yes, I am being dramatic.
(Can I get a resounding “FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS!” from my personal Greek chorus? Thanks…)
I hardly, HARDLY (no really, I mean it) have the worst, most exhausting, impossible life. Hardly. But I can’t help it. When the day is done and everything is crossed off the list. What do I do? Do I call a bestie? Or call someone I’ve been meaning to have drinks with for two years? (I actually know a few people like that.) Nope. I go to bed.
So I blame being a grown-up. But really, I should blame myself. Women all over the world manage friendships with far more on their plate.
Remember when I talking about how I wanted to “mom date” again? Yeah. Well. I still do. I still want to meet a couple choice moms, just like me, who I could call and go grab a beer with when I need to. And the crazy thing is that they are here, around, if I only sucked it up and TRIED more.
Wait. “Say Yes To The Dress” is on. I’m already in my pajamas. Man, wouldn’t it be nice to be rested and ready to go tomorrow morning? Yes, yes it would.
So the friendships flounder and I suck out-loud at being the kind of friend I always prided myself on being.
Instead, I just go with the standard, “My real friends understand. THEY get it.”
Sure. SURE they do.
Promise I’ll try harder.
(Cue Greek chorus: WE DON’T BUY IT!)
I said “TRY.”
February 16th, 2012 — Equal Rights, Family, Mothers, Politics, Women
It seems all sorts of folks have been speaking on my behalf about a few things. And I am referring to myself in the general “just your average mom” kind of way. But as a typical, average mom who believes in equality, choice and, well, love (I know, sooooo feminist of me), these folks seem to have me wildly misinterpreted and misrepresented. And that’s not OK.
Let’s start with a group that subtly titles itself “One Million Moms.” (I’m not linking to them because I don’t want to. Go find them for yourself if you wish.) People look at that name, however, and say, “Oh hey, that’s a whole lot of moms! That must be every mom! Let’s hear what all these moms think.” Ok. Well, this group of a “million moms” has recently waged war against JC Penney. Why? Here’s why:
“Recently JC Penney announced that comedian Ellen Degeneres will be the company’s new spokesperson. Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families… By jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon, JC Penney is attempting to gain a new target market and in the process will lose customers with traditional values that have been faithful to them over all these years.”
Wait a second. I’m a traditional family. I mean, I have kids and a mortgage and I want them raised to be nice, lawful people. So, JC Penney is going to LOSE customers with these values because their new spokeswoman is a woman who loves another woman?
Nope. Stop speaking for me.
And stop speaking for so many other moms and bloggers. Thankfully, bloggers and mothers never let things lie. We listen, and share, spread awareness and, most importantly, shop at JC Penney. And we take pictures of our shopping. And spread them all over the internets.
This ragtag collection of one million moms need to check their hate and get the hell off my lawn. My values are about equality and love and I’d like to think those values are pretty damn traditional in a certain “What Would Jesus Do” kind of way.
But wait, there’s more.
I choose to use birth control. Funniest thing, that. If I don’t, I get pregnant. I’ve tried it, twice. So, I know I cannot afford to pull the goalie because we can’t feed more mouths, we need me working and, dammit, I’m getting kind of old for that stuff. Deciding to provide for my family is far more productive than reproduction — but apparently this is questionable.
One of the current GOP candidates running for President (of the United States, yep, the whole country), Santorum, has said this:
“One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, ‘Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.’ It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”
AND PEOPLE ARE VOTING FOR HIM.
And people are supporting him. Like this bozo, Santorum’s billionaire backer, who actually informed us that:
“Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”
Yep. He said that.
People are bringing Santorum’s views on contraception up, why? Because our President thought that maybe women might need some help affording birth control. You know, since healthcare is kind of expensive? And because poor women are more than 3 times as likely as middle class women to have an unintentional pregnancy due to birth control costs. So, every woman has the same rights as I do to choose NOT to have babies and go back to work, right?
Ask the GOP. They are scratching their heads and aren’t really sure how to respond. And democratic folks on Capitol Hill like Senator Boxer are left reminding us that “This is the 21st Century.” And:
“Ninety-nine percent of women, including 98 percent of Catholic women have used birth control. And 77 percent of Catholic women voters support requiring insurance plans to cover contraception for free.”
What’s the problem here?
Well, did you see what Congressman Issa decided to do today? He called a panel of men (yes, men) to to discuss the possibility that religious views might actually trump women’s health.
Men are talking about this.
Who care more about their gods and fathers than whether or not their wives have the right to choose when they want to have a family. Or go back to work. Or help pick their families up out of the financial hole this country dug us all into.
These guys HAVE to stop speaking for me.
Because none of this is about equality or choice.
And I’m in the middle of my own local school politics war about a potential 4 day school week in my county. An “impartial” task force was formed to discuss the possibility. At last night’s meeting, it seems this group is speaking for me, too. They seem quite ready to neatly — and fairly quietly — nudge this option along and sweep the deficit under the carpet by taking away my children’s school time.
Oh you guys had better stop speaking for me. AND my children.
I’m all kinds of fed up. Because people are speaking for me and treating my values — equality, choice and love — as if they were outrageous, anti-family values, and something that actually needs fixing.
Our political leaders speak for all of us. Because we hired them and we put them there. Write your congressperson, make noise and take this opportunity to speak for yourself before we’re left with a bottle of Bayer aspirin and so many fewer rights than we thought we had in (what century? Oh that’s right, the 21st, thanks Senator) the first place.
August 20th, 2011 — Mothers, Parenting, Women
I was in the grocery store and I heard a baby cry.
No. I didn’t start to lactate. But something did happen. And it’s something I haven’t been able to shake ever since I’ve had children and I hear a child cry. Maybe you will get what I mean, so I’ll explain. But I don’t think you ever have had to lactate to get it either, either.
So, back to this baby. She started to cry. And it was an “I’m so tired, I need a snuggle and a nap and get me out of this grocery cart” kind of cry. I couldn’t help myself, I oh-so-innocently wheelie-wheeled my cart around the corner and into her aisle… just to see how she was doing.
Her mom was harried. She had a sandwich platter in her cart and soda bottles and paper plates and a bunch of other party stuff she clearly had to get that afternoon. But her daughter wasn’t having it. She was so, so tired. Slumped to the side and crying — no, pleading, really — in a way that made any mother want to find a crib and a dark room and no stim and some sweet peace for that child.
There was nothing I could do about it. It came from somewhere deep beyond my control. My gut hurt for her. My arms ached to scoop her up, snuggle and soothe, and seek out a spot to get her cozy and quiet. My heart went out to the mom, too. I KNOW she wanted those same things for her daughter but, with something going on soon, she had to get that shopping done. My guess is that her daughter’s schedule was shot to hell after a day of errands and running here and there. Hardly anything that will hurt that girl, but my ache to comfort her was STRONG, my friends.
Kind of like lactating.
Let me back up and explain the comparison. Don’t freak, non-lactating types. This is just how it is…
You’ve heard of how women will “let down” when they hear a baby cry. And by “let down” I mean the boob flood-gates suddenly open and a teeny hose-like effect occurs in the general chest region. There is nothing you can do about it, really. It’s just this primal thing that happens when a baby cries or you know a baby is hungry. Mother nature just turns on the faucet.
Of course, this doesn’t happen to me any longer. My faucet dried up (OMG, has it been this long) about 4 years ago. But it used to. And it wasn’t pretty when I wasn’t ready for it. And that’s why God made breast pads. But I digress…
So back to the baby in Publix. She was crying and I felt this ache. Deep down. I wanted to help her. I wanted to take care of her and figure out a way to get her what she needs. It’s almost beyond reason or self-control, it’s just there, built-in, instinctual, just the way I am wired now.
This strange, deep down ache and need to help a crying child was not there before I had my own. Before I would have been all: “Aw. She’s crying… poor mom. Oh, I’m totally watching Melrose Place tonight…”
Not now. Now, I feel a physical pull, a painful ache, a lump at the back of my throat and an empathy like none other for the mom trying to cope and care and do it all.
It’s kind of like lactating. And, dried up or not, I suspect it will feel like this for as long as I’m a mother… which is pretty much forever.
August 7th, 2011 — Mothers, Parenting, Reviews, Tampa, Women, Working moms
Is motherhood something to be laughed at? Because, you know and I know that there are times when mothers completely lose their sense of humor. Poof, gone, lost, for a very long time. At 4am with a screaming — or giggling, wide-awake — baby. At 5pm, the witching hour, when dinner isn’t ready yet and you’re ankle deep in toddler tantrums. At the grocery store when you can’t seem to get down an aisle without screaming at your fighting children. Motherhood can be slow, endless, Chinese water torture, threatening to pull you deep, down into stewing pits of parenting despair. I’ll admit that it’s the hardest thing I have ever done.
And that’s why finding any outlet to laugh at parenting is so damn important.
And that’s where “Motherhood, The Musical” comes in.
I was asked to review this musical, now playing at the Straz Center in downtown Tampa, last week. And, since I am sucker for musicals (don’t even get me STARTED on my obsession with “Wicked”) and since I just really like the folks at the Straz, I was 100% down for some funny mom theater. Plus, I’ve seen lots of Facebook statuses raving about the show: “I laughed! I cried!” So, I was excited to check it out.
I rounded up two very deserving moms from my work to come with me and we set out for the Straz after a particularly crazy week at work.
The show was in the Jaeb Theater which is a smaller, cabaret style theater. We found our seats around a small table, surrounded by (no surprise here) many other mothers gathered for the show. The space was intimate — which meant a comfortable, more connected experience. I was impressed right away as the theater staff began the evening by reaching out to pregnant moms in the audience. They also sold pins with the profits going to autism research. And they even had cute “Motherhood, The Musical” postcards on the table which we could fill out and they would send for us if we dropped it in a mailbox in the lobby. (I sent one to my mother-in-law.) I have to say, the people who work at the Straz are just nice. They smile, they ask you how you are, they take pictures for you, they just make the whole vibe comfortable and welcoming. And, being a theater dork from way back, I think that really helps set the vibe for the show itself – so “cheers” to them…
Now, what did I think of the show itself? It was really great. Truly. But let me start with a couple negatives first.
Admittedly, they touched on a few cliches. You know, “we’re not gonna take cooking and cleaning anymore” kind of thing. The naive pregnant mom, and the “knowing”, jaded other mothers hell bent on scaring the crap out of her. Mini-vans, grocery shopping, and husbands that have very little to do with parenting at all.
However. They took these typical motherhood cliches (which are only cliches because they are common experiences, by the way) and turned them into gut-busting, musical hilarity. The women who played the four mothers in the show were FANTASTIC. I kind of want to be friends with the divorced mom and the working mom. No, really. I want to have drinks with them because they have to be that awesome in real-life. (Hey ladies, email me! I can try to be awesome too!)
Also, the lyrics and the music in the show are both excellent. The lyrics are very well written, just FUNNY. Cliche or not, the mini-van song was hysterical. They took the sagging and leaking experiences of so many mothers and made anthems out of them. Even the “no more cooking and cleaning” thing was awesome. They rocked out. And I laughed. A lot.
And so did the women around us. Seriously. Women were howling, and stomping the floor, and standing, and cheering. Clearly, this show connected with the majority of the audience.
I also cried a little. No, I did. The song about “Every Other Weekend” in which the divorced mom sang about what it is like to be alone every other weekend. And how the kids come home spoiled by their fathers and she has to be the bad guy, and how she manages… well. I totally boo-hooed and said a little thankful prayer that I don’t have to experience weekends like those.
I don’t think this is a show for the majority of husbands. (Maybe some, but certainly not mine. His eye-rolling would have annoyed the hell out of me.) And, I don’t think this is a show for women who have no interest in parenting yet. I know one woman who saw it, but who isn’t anywhere near ready for children, and she said it “scared the crap out of her”. That said, bring your mother. Bring your mom friends. Bring your pregnant daughter. Bring the moms at work and the moms on your block and the teachers of your children. I suspect they will love it.
Also, if you’re going to get hung up the cliches and parenting generalizations, just check those at the door. Relax. Have fun. Let yourself laugh. Don’t take it too seriously. This isn’t supposed to be heavy stuff or some wildly prophetic social commentary. Its fun, and very funny. And it’s obviously something many, many, MANY mothers just “get”.
Cheers to the Straz and the awesome actors who rock that show out night after night (I kind of want your life). You did a fantastic job. Thanks for reminding me to laugh at this mothering stuff and then leave me ready to get back home and hug my boys super tight. Laughing like I did that night made me take a step back, accept the good and the ugly of this motherhood thing, and simply appreciate it so much more.
Want to go see it now? Get $29 tickets to see “Motherhood, The Musical” at the Straz Center through August 28th. Use promo code TIX29. The offer ends August 12th, though! Restrictions and charges apply.
June 2nd, 2011 — Inspiring people, Mothers, Parenting, Politics, Women
There was a time when I was a mom home with babies, and all sorts of ideas and thoughts about the world were rolling around in my head. But I had no where to go with these thoughts. No one to share them with. No community for a thinking mom. Just diapers to change and baby vomit to wipe off the floor. And such is parenting. There would be time for thinking later.
Jump ahead to the year 2008. I was a very new blogger. I had just discovered (and started stalking) all sorts of mom bloggers and political bloggers and – gasp – political mom bloggers. One in particular rose to the top. Her name was Joanne, otherwise known online as Pundit Mom. And when she wrote, I just… got it.
fate stepped in and determined my path as a blogger I very randomly won a contest through BlogHer to go to the BlogHer conference in San Francisco. It was my first overnight away from my children and I arrived there wide-eyed and ready to stalk myself some amazing bloggers. I listened intently to Lesbian Dad on a panel and pushed my way to the front to meet her. I fell off my seat laughing, tackled, and forced an introduction on Deb on the Rocks. I cried listening to and (via a couple glasses of wine) jumped in front of Moosh In Indy to tell her that she was so F-ing brave. And then, it happened. The last morning, at breakfast, Pundit Mom happened to sit down at my table. We introduced ourselves. She gave me a pin with her logo on it. Oh. My hero. That conference had officially been made.
Since then I have come to realize the power of the internet and the many super amazing smart women who live there. Pundit Mom and the Momocrats and various writers at BlogHer gave moms like me at home with their babies access to real politics happening in the moment. Before heading onto CNN to debate some topic or another, Joanne would tweet and ask what questions we had for the panel. The Momocrats would ask their readers what questions we had for Hillary Clinton before heading into a press conference. Moms, just like me with no way to be where they were, had access. And a voice.
And, since that morning over a bagel, my friendship with Joanne has grown. More conferences came. More conversations over meals. More shared ideas and ideals. More smart women, both online and off. She had a book she was writing, she said. I was thrilled for her. Could she use one of my blog posts? Oh my goodness, of course.
Honored is not even enough of a word to describe how I felt.
Joanne’s book has recently been published and in it she describes the extraordinarily influential political space women are carving out for themselves through social media, preconceived notions of women and mothering be damned. And she does it with the help of an incredible network of women she calls “Mothers of Intention”. Mothers, like me, who are not official political experts but actually, whoda thunk it, HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY.
This morning I opened up a PDF file from Joanne. It was the final draft of the book. My hard copy was in the mail. And there I was, amoungst these unbelievable women whom I have looked to as my conduit for change and voice and action for years. I am only one voice amongst so so many. But, once again, SHE MADE MY VOICE COUNT.
Do you see what this must mean to me? She changed my perception of motherhood. I, like a crazy woman, thought parenting meant my ideas and ability should be back-burnered. I thought you can’t parent AND think. She switched that all around and made me realize that, as a parent, I had a unique and important perspective. I had the same concerns as many mothers and we should pick them up and put them out there and get them heard, dammit. We are raising this country and that actually matters. She spelled it out quite clearly to me that mothers are kind of a big deal, even way over on Capitol Hill.
So. The book is in the mail. And I’ll be back here, of course, to freak out about it some more when I have resting here next to my laptop. Until then, check it out on Amazon. And, of course, you know… buy it. And maybe find your inner Mother of Intention. She’s in there. I swear she is.
March 26th, 2011 — Politics, Women
Geraldine Ferraro ran for Vice President when I was in 6th grade. And I shocked my father by flaunting my sudden budding liberal tendencies by wearing a Mondale-Ferraro button around school that year.
Thanks to Geraldine Ferraro, I was brought up assuming a woman could eventually be president someday. She made that possibility real. She opened my eyes to women vying for positions in male dominated fields. She unveiled inequity while she stepped forward to dismantle it.
She seemed so smart to me, so fearless, so “who cares if no women have done this before, I’ve got some issues that need addressing”.
Thanks Ms. Ferraro for being the example that you were for me at eleven years old. Your candidacy was my first ever feminist agenda. And your example will remain until a woman is finally sworn into the presidency. Your years of public service have changed the the face of politics. Thank you and rest in peace.
February 7th, 2011 — Aging, Reality check, Women
I can’t believe I bought this the other day.
Because holy crap. When did I turn into an old lady?
Well here’s the thing. Just when you think you’re all grown up and secure about your looks, you’re – well – you’re not. Silly me, I thought this kind of insecurity was specific to acne and teen angst years. Not mature, confident, “totally in control” late thirties years.
Yep well. I bought this anyway.
Because I have lines on my face. Lines! Those weren’t there before, I swear. And I use sunscreen everyday just like the magazines tell me I should but still. Lines? Unbelievable. And no thank you.
Where is this sudden self-indulgent bit of vanity coming from anyway?
Of COURSE a woman in her late thirties has lines and creases on her face. What, did I think it just wouldn’t happen to me? Did I think that aging is something that happens to everyone else and I would simply become some ageless exception to the rule?
Heh. Maybe. But I’m not. Clearly.
So I bought this.
And I’ve been actually smoothing it on ever day or so. Because moisturizing is important anyway, right? Whether any such thing called Revitalift actually revitalifts the creases off my face. Or if all that snazzy encapsulated (…wait let me read it off the box…) Matrixyl and Sepilift actually irons decades of sun and time off of my face. Yeah, not that I think it really WILL. But I have to moisturize anyway so I might as well give something that boasts “firming” a try while I’m doing it… right?
I can’t believe I bought this.
I can’t believe I really care that much.
I can’t believe I haven’t bought into that whole “lines are signs of wisdom and experience and we should wear them with pride” stuff.
I can’t believe age happens.
I just can’t believe I bought this.
(And many thanks to my husband who reassures me that while this may be old lady cream, it doesn’t make me smell like one. Thank God for that at least.)
December 7th, 2010 — Elizabeth Edwards, Giving respect, Inspiring people, Mothers, Politics, Women
Elizabeth Edwards died today.
And I’ve been caught off guard by how deeply her death has moved me.
Maybe it’s because she was a mother. And after being diagnosed with breast cancer so many years ago, she had to face the knowledge that she could be leaving her children motherless. Which, of course, is every mother’s nightmare. She must have lain awake nights wondering if anyone would know her children the same way, understand them, help them, and love them quite as much.
Maybe it’s because my heart is breaking for her children. I don’t care how “prepared” they were for this, they are without their mother now, days before the holidays. They will be affected by her death forever. They will be rocked to their core. Their loss is immeasurable.
But I also think it is because the world lost a really good one. A woman who genuinely seemed to affect those around her in a positive, constructive, selfless way. She was scary smart and politically savvy. She stood as an example, spoke from her heart and, through all of her trials, remained strong, honest and resilient.
She should not have been so graceful. Not when she lost her son. Not when the cancer returned. Not when her husband left her side.
Still. She would regroup and stand back up again.
Over her 61 years, she took what was handed to her and she DID something. Her voice was important. Her example changed lives. Her work made a difference. Her mind reworked policy but her heart made people listen and put it all into motion.
She was a mother who affected real change in this country.
She was the kind of woman I could only hope to be.
My heart is heavy this evening. Peace, healing and love to those mourning her life tonight and in the years ahead.
November 5th, 2010 — Feminist tendancies, Identity crisis, Self-analysis, Women
You know you do it. I know I do it. I think everyone does it. Vanity checks itself in and we just can’t help ourselves. I want to look my best, I want people to think I look like that all the time, no really, that’s how I look.
What am I talking about? You know. When you post Facebook or Flickr pics or some carefully crafted Shutterfly photo album, you make every effort to upload only your most flattering pictures.
Not that one, my head looks big. Oh not that one, one eye is shut. DEFINITELY not that one, holy muffin-top pouring out of the top of my jeans.
I read a post on BlogHer titled Own Your Beauty. And while a beautifully written post, it challenged each reader to start a self-potrait project and take pictures of yourself everyday. An interesting idea indeed. But I pushed it aside. I’m not sure I had the energy or care to really pony up, snap and post my own picture everyday. Yawn. Who needs it.
But then I kept thinking about it. Would I even have the ovaries to post a pic of myself everyday in the first place? On the days when I don’t like how I feel. On the days when my muffin-top seems to pour out and smother any “feel good” vibes I may have had about myself? No way. I don’t want to. I don’t think people want or care to see it. I don’t think it’s worth it.
And then I got to thinking about the things I don’t like about myself. And how relative it all is. I am well aware I’m just up in my own mind about it. I know these are my own weird particular issues. And I know all of these things drag me down, blind me to the rest of it and render me impossibly self-conscious.
It is so frustrating. Because on the flip side I understand (in a very secure, logical way) that I’m a regular woman and I look just fine. I get that these insecurities are all just silly. I know I’m better than that anyway.
Because I’m a feminist, dammit. I read The Beauty Myth in college (required reading for every woman, totally changed my life). I GET IT. I know how messed up our standards of beauty are in this country. I KNOW we need to love ourselves and not let any of this misogynistic crap get us down. To hell with them!
So why do I look over at my husband and shyly tell him I feel awful about myself sometimes? What the hell is that about? How can I claim these rational ideals with pride but they still can’t push me past my own hang-ups?
Because everyone has their stuff. I have my stuff.
I hate my glasses. They represent some ugly ducking part of my childhood that I wore over my face. Growing up, I truly believed that no cute boy would ever really see past them. And then I said, screw it, glasses are who I am. Rock on. It’s MY identity. And yet, when I got contacts at 20, I felt like some new person. As if I had just gotten reconstructive surgery and they had just removed an enormous wart off my face. I was free!
I hate my front tooth. Long story but it was shattered by a piece of a telephone when I was 15. And I have not had the funds to really fix it. I hate hate hate it.
I could go on. But the point is WE ALL COULD GO ON. With a laundry list of stuff we can’t stand about ourselves. And I would bet every single dollar in my savings AND my Kia that even the most lovely women in the world have a list as equally long as yours and mine. And you might say “F them, what have THEY got to complain about?”
Yeah, exactly. None of it makes sense. Beauty may be something society determines but WE have ourselves all carved up and hidden thanks to our own subjective, warped preconceptions.
So, as a small form of social protest, here’s my salute to my own beauty this morning.
(This will be my only pic. In fact, I do NOT have the ovaries, the time or the focus to take pics of myself everyday.)
I’m not showered. My teeth aren’t brushed. My split ends haven’t been trimmed since June. I am wearing an old T Shirt I got at BlogHer 08. My recently obsessed over lines on my face are smiling back at you. And my fab, in need of a prescription update glasses are front and center. And so is my stupid tooth, glaring out for the world to see.
But it is me. And I swear to you — taking a deep breath and infusing my heart with every lesson I ever learned in The Beauty Myth right now, I swear to God — I look just FINE. Really.
But don’t get me wrong. I won’t be posting my muffin-top, one eye closed, tooth glaring pics on Facebook from now on or anything. Hellllll no.
I’m just being “SELF-AWARE” right now. And promising to you all that “I GET IT”.
Damn. What a mess.
Vanity, self-worth, beauty, all of it.
There is no rhyme or reason to it whatsoever.
Here’s hoping you find your beauty and hold on to it tightly whenever and where ever you find it. TIGHT I tell you. Those pretty days, those awesome hair days, those I look SO DAMN CUTE in my jeans days… hold on to them. Revel in them. Roll around in them. And take pictures and pin them up and remind yourself that THAT is YOU.
Now excuse me. It’s time I go have a shower, get on with my day, and (good Lord woman, brush your hair at least) stop fixating on everything I see in the mirror.