Posts Tagged With: Girl Power

the ultimate girl power

Wednesday last, I took my absentee ballot to the county election board to cast my vote.
It took longer to find a place to park than it did to actually vote.

I went in and was assisted by the kindest older gentleman.
He first asked me if I was comfortable with everything about my ballot inside the sealed envelope.
After I assured him I was, he explained my ballot would go in the box, he would stamp the date on a receipt, then give me “the coveted I voted sticker”.
Then he asked me if I’d like to drop my ballot in the box.
Would I ever!

By sliding my envelope into that box, I exercised my 19th Amendment right and responsibility during the hundredth anniversary.
Votes for Women
I am eternally grateful to the women who came before me. The ones who fought tirelessly and selflessly to make this a reality. My voice is heard because of them.
Because of these women, these suffragettes, these community organizers, these mothers and daughters and sisters and wives, I have the right to vote.
I believe that right is also my responsibility.
The ultimate girl power!

I purposefully wore this mask in celebration of their hard work.

If you grew up in the 1970s and 80s like me this School House Rock song will be familiar to you:

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September gratitude

Today is October first.
The official start of Halloween month!
But before I get all SQUEE about that, I’m going to express my gratitude.

September was straight chaos. But it was also quite lovely.
As I look back on this month I find myself grateful for both.

I’m also grateful for:

a porchlife lunch with Mike and Josie
Husband N’s willingness to transport a 16 foot ladder
a successful and fun flea market day with YBW, his brother and sister-in-law
meeting with the builder about electricals in the new house
stackable jewelry organizers
a tearful conversation with YBW

Target run with Thing 1 and Baby K (sassy thing chose her own new shades and bag)

finally getting to talk with Jessica
Husband N’s mad landscaping skills
cool Autumn mornings
Thing G seems content at his mom’s
winery day with Nora and Dale’s family
joyfully ‘hate watching’ the Twilight saga with Thing 1

bathroom construction progress

windows open for several days in a row
playing a game called Bye Felicia
making good use of my instant pot
two of my alternative healthcare providers
Saturday morning snuggles with YBW and Baby K
exercising my 19th amendment right and responsibility by voting early
TJXrewards points

inventing this ridiculously delicious cocktail with Thing 1

having airline miles to purchase tickets for Thing 2 and Boyfriend M to visit in November
the post office in Old Town Manassas
taking a chance on the curated bundles at Bards Alley and getting some great reads
red toenail polish
CBD oil capsules
being in the car by myself

My heart is full of gratitude as I look back at this lovely and chaotic month.

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say it to my face

There’s an episode in season four of Mad Men in which Peggy does a presentation with lipstick on her teeth. The guys think it’s funny, but it wasn’t. She didn’t care because the pitch went well, and the client loved it.

I was on the phone with Thing 2 and after telling her about it, I said, “You know what it reminds me of?”
Without hesitation she says, “Booka!”
(Booka was name Thing 1 and Thing 2 called their father’s mother.)
My former mother in law was notorious for going about with lipstick on her teeth. And do you know no one would ever tell her. Well, that buck stopped here. (*points at self*)

Now, what y’all don’t know is that this mother in law was the born the same decade as my grandparents, so to say there was a generation gap is an understatement. But I never understood why people just let her go about her life with lipstick on her teeth!

So there we are, at some family thing (they had a huge extended family). She was sitting with a group of ladies, and I walk up with Thing 1 on my hip to hug her. I discreetly rub my finger over my teeth. She smiles and repeats the gesture before showing me her teeth. I give her the all clear.
She walks away with her son and I sit down in the seat she vacated.
I am instantly barraged by the hens.
Apparently I shouldn’t talk about things like that. It simply isn’t done. On top of that, I was disrespectful. I was rude. I wasn’t properly raised because young people don’t behave that way to their elders. etc.
(Fortunately my mother wasn’t there, she would have told them a thing or two about being raised properly.)
Well, I smile and pick up my daughter before I say as politely as possible, “I told her because I respect her. She shouldn’t have to go around like that because none of you are kind enough to tell her.”

She came to me later apologizing for the little old ladies. She expressed her gratitude. Literally no one ever told her but me and she was grateful.
What was their motivation? Do you just not talk about things ‘like that’? Were they secretly amused? To be perfectly honest, they were some of the nastiest women I’ve ever been around, and I suspect they liked that she was unaware.

This story got me thinking…
Surely y’all have seen this meme or at least something like it?

Isn’t it lovely to think it could be this way?
But is it our reality?
Girls are often told one thing, and shown another.

Girl Power should include all girls. It rarely does. Girls often learn to look out for themselves without real thought for each other.
You’ve heard it:
Slut.
Bitch.
The C word.
Did you see what she was wearing?
She has lipstick on her teeth.
Her dress is tucked into her tights.

There is pointing and behind the back conversations.
I’m not saying I’ve never talked shit about another girl behind her back, but I don’t think it’s right.

If my tag is hanging out, please tell me.
If I’ve got lipstick on my teeth, please tell me.
If you’re nasty about it, great. At least do it to my face, right?

I want to be a woman in a world in which we all adjust each other’s crowns without telling the world they were crooked.
It’s hard enough to be a girl/woman in this world without us being against each other. It really isn’t all that difficult to treat each other with kindness and respect.
We’ve been taught we’re nothing. While also being told we can be whatever we want.
Mixed messages.
That’s the life of a girl in our world.
It shouldn’t be.
It doesn’t have to be.
Yet here we are, tearing each other down for our own amusement.
We hardly need the patriarchy to hold us back, we’re so busy doing that to each other.

But there are women and girls out there who are kind. They treat themselves and other women with the respect every human being deserves. They are our inspiration.
That’s what the sisterhood should be.
We have to keep at it.
Less shit talk.
More crown straightening.
Starting with our own.
Tell me when there’s lipstick on my teeth, because you can damn sure bet I’ll tell you.
But not because I’m mocking or attempting to insult you, I want you to know so you can put your best foot forward. We have enough stacked against us, let’s not be against each other.

OK, this went a way I didn’t expect. But there you have it.
I didn’t realize how something so seemingly irrelevant was actually a pretty big deal.
Maybe being trapped at home is getting to me?
I don’t know.
Let’s just fucking be kind to, and stop judging each other, OK?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

you got this

I got a call from Thing 1 this morning. She was on the way to the doctor. She asked my opinion regarding birth control. I haven’t concerned myself with birth control since my hysterectomy in 2004, so I didn’t feel as though I was going to be much help to her.
She is worried about how getting pregnant will impact her heart health and wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again any time soon.
She’s concerned about hormonal birth control, how it will affect her depression.
I’m concerned about how hormonal birth control will affect her milk production.
She asked what I thought about an IUD. I told her I know that my mom had one fifty years ago and loved it. I know friends who have them now and love them.

Part of me feels like I’m letting her down because I don’t have my finger on the pulse of this information.
I’m a forty-eight year old (menopausal) woman with no uterus. How could I possibly advise a twenty-five year old about safe and effective birth control?
I did tell her that if I was in her place, I would choose an IUD.
Why? My gut just knew.

I don’t know that she wanted well thought out, highly informed opinions or advice. I suspect she just wanted to touch base with her momma while she was considering her choices. Sometimes, you just want to talk to your mom. Sometimes talking to your mom brings you the comfort you crave, even when you’re not exactly sure you need it.

I’m so thankful I don’t have to worry about my reproductive health in the current climate.
I am concerned about the reproductive health of my daughters, and even my granddaughter.
Will they have access to everything they need?
I’m talking about proper medical care, appropriate testing, the ability to receive and fill necessary prescriptions.

I’m hopeful that whatever type of birth control Thing 1 chooses, she has appropriate access to it. That it works to keep her healthy while it helps ensure she doesn’t get pregnant. Not getting pregnant will keep her heart safer. Not getting pregnant will keep her heart healthier.
I want my girl to have a strong and healthy heart. I want Baby K to have a strong and healthy mommy.
I’m not sure what choice she will make, but I do know that I support her in her decision to maintain her health to the best of her ability.

Even if I didn’t have good advice for her this morning, I hope that our quick conversation gave her what she needed.
Sometimes all it takes is hearing your mom’s voice to know you can handle whatever is coming at you.
I see her building a life and family upon the foundation I built for her and I know she’s got this.
Perhaps she just needed to be reminded.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

‘laugh it off’ or expect respect

Thing 1 posted this yesterday on social media.
She was feeling sad.

Rude old man in Lowe’s said I looked like I swallowed a watermelon seed then proceeded to laugh his butt off like it was the funniest thing ever said and block my way so I couldn’t get past him. 😭

Of course this got a lot of angry or frustrated responses: middle finger emojis (this may or may not have been mine), angry faces, one hilarious gif of Madea giving the side eye.

My Momma-hackles were up. I was flooded with the overwhelming desire to stab that “rude old man” with my icepick! Leave my kid alone, fuckface. (I know, it sounds like a word I learned in 6th grade, because I did …but just work with me on this.)

This morning I woke to a comment to which I reacted with all the feels.

Well, try to laugh it off. It’s such a limited time in your life and that watermelon is a blessing!

The person who wrote this comment loves my first daughter nearly as much as I do. They share a sacred place in each other’s hearts and lives. I know she was trying to put a positive spin on an incident that upset Thing 1. She was doing what she thought was right. And I love her dearly for it. Helping my baby see that she might be able to just shrug it off and live in a place that is filled to the brim with the blessing of Baby K. And she’s right! That man knows nothing about how or why or what Thing 1 does to live her life. And who cares what he thinks? Thing 1 just needs to keep livin’ man. L-I-V-I-N.

Only, the more I considered her kindness, I considered how women around the world have been conditioned to behave, to accept the behavior of others…
And then my hackles went absolutely haywire.
I responded to the comment in what I hope is a kind and respectful way.

I understand your heart is in the right place in this comment, I know you speak from a place of love. You’re right, this baby is a blessing.
However, my concern is, taking this stance simply perpetuates disrespect towards women everywhere. That man doesn’t know just how much of a blessing this baby is. He amused himself at the expense of a young pregnant woman. At. Her. Expense.
We should never laugh this off.

I’m actually having both sides of this conversation in my head as write this post.
Was that man attempting to be friendly and not super successful, or was he a misogynistic asshole?
I have actually used that swallowed a watermelon line in my life. But never to a stranger.
Part of me agrees that Thing 1 should just “ignore the mean boy” and go on about her life.
But as I argue both sides of this issue I realize how wrong the whole fucking thing actually is!
There is nothing OK about one entire side of this conversation!
I would NEVER let my daughters behave that way, speak that way to or about someone! Would it be different if I had sons? Would I be a bit more, “boys will be boys”?
Um. FUCK to the NO!!

I’ve moved so far beyond the compulsion to protect my child.
I’m talking basic human respect.
This is our world, y’all!
How can this be OK?

Look, I’m not some mad feminist over here beating my bare breasts while burning my bra. I’m just a regular sort of (fully clothed) woman writing about what I see and feel.
My pregnant daughter should never have to be expected to “laugh it off”! She should never be exposed to that kind of random disrespect and borderline abuse!
Nobody’s daughter should!
Nobody’s son, for that matter!

Y’all! I am fired up about this! Am I overreacting? Am I justified?
I want to know what you think.
Ladies and Gents, do we simply ‘laugh it off’, or do we do everything in our power to treat other people with basic human decency?
I want to hear what you have to say on either side of this conversation.
Please and thank you!

Categories: me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

International Week of the Birthday ~ day two

Now, this is a bit more  than I’d normally subject y’all to. Only I quite love this quote. It’s so very Robynbird!
I’m all those things.
And many more!
And this year, as I celebrate the forty-sixth anniversary of my birth, I feel like I finally accept myself and my place in the world in a way I’ve never done before. I’ve noticed it more than a few times recently. Enough to bring it up to my therapist.
I feel completely free, yet absolutely in control.
I dig it.
I am lionhearted. And nerdy. And sexy. I am intelligent. And courageous. And I really do embrace every teeny bit of all that insanity and more!
This Monday has been an excellent second day of my Birthday Week!

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two boring sides of one disappointing coin

During a chat conversation this morning, my darling English friend shared with me what he’s working on in therapy. We talked quickly before I had to leave for school, which left the conversation open ended. He suggested we come back to it later “and maybe we can discover where our minds and beliefs agree.”
What I adored about this conversation was that is was in no way aggressive or argumentative. We were just remarking on the subject as we see it.
Oh, but it got me thinking!

Here’s the pertinent bit of the conversation:
Him:
I’m supposed to be working on the Madonna and Whore dichotomy for my meeting with my counselor tomorrow.
So far it’s not going brilliantly. As far as I’ve got is that all women have aspects of the Madonna and Whore, but no women should be looked at in just those lights.

Me:
Interesting
Perhaps you could consider women as activists? Women as world changers? There are a f**k load of those out there. Even though you’re not the biggest fan of liberal minded women.

Him:
Men put the Madonna on a pedestal and objectify the Whore, and both are wrong
I love liberal minded women, I just don’t like angry liberal minded women

Me:
I suspect it is somehow bred into women this Madonna and whore thing. I don’t think we’d come up with that on our own and I believe that’s worth considering.

Him:
I believe a lot of woman is created by what a man wants, needs, desires and expects.

Me:
Yet women oughtn’t be angry?
I think you just made the whole point!!

Him:
As a polite Englishman, I think I struggle with women who are angry, rude, aggressive, opinionated, and political. How odd.

Me:
Interesting!
What if the women were not rude or aggressive? What if they were angry and opinionated and political?

Him:
An angry woman is also difficult for me to accept.

Me:
The opinion you have and share with many men is why women have been, are, and will remain ‘less than’.
That’s something worth being angry about.

Him:
It’s not an opinion, it’s a whole belief system

Me:
Yes it is.
Because I have breasts and a vagina, I’m somehow only one of two things. Neither of which has power unless “bestowed”.

carrie-miranda
Carrie and Miranda know what’s up.
And that right there is why women (and men, and in some cases, children) took to the streets Saturday last!

If the men of the world were somehow either Madonna or whore with no other real identity that foolishness would cease with a quickness!
That makes me angry!
That makes loads of women angry!

On the way to dinner I was telling YBW about the conversation and that it sparked this post. He mused that most men don’t like angry women because they can’t be controlled and that frightens them.
This makes a kind of sense to me, but I suspect there’s more to it than that…

I’m strong and capable. I’m smart and funny. I’m loud and brash. I’m kind and compassionate. I’m confident in my sexuality. I’m “girlie” af. I’m infuriating as hell. And I am sometimes so angry I cannot speak, only shake with violent rage. I am in charge of my own body. I decide what is right for me. I love with an unparalleled ferocity. I have immortal longings in me. Not to mention loads more things I’m not thinking of right now.
But what I am not is some pristine virgin. Neither am I a whore.

Being either Madonna or whore is boring!
It’s one dimensional.
Where’s the challenge? Where’s the adventure? Where’s the trial and error and lesson learning?
I believe women are more complex than that. We’ve got fires in our bellies, hearth fires and holocausts. We are terrifying and strange and beautiful. We are overflowing with much muchier muchness. We are bad ass warrior Goddesses. We are calm and gentle nurturing Earth Mothers. We are givers of life.

Men want women as Madonna or whore. Two boring sides of one disappointing coin.
aint-nobody-got-time-for-that

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best of both worlds

Dear all men, everywhere,

Sometimes women say things with great thought but not necessarily with great feeling. You see, we think we know what we want. We think we know who we are. We think these things because it’s what we’re taught, or society steers us in that direction.
Most of us are educated and capable human beings. But we think things should be a certain way. In fact, we’re so busy thinking that we sometimes forget to feel.
(Bet y’all thought it was the other way ’round, didn’t you?)

We do forget to feel. To let how we feel help guide us.

I realized recently that I’ve been guided by thinking.
I maintain that I’m strong and independent in my own right. I’m the queen of my queendom. There is no king because if there’s a king, the queen has no power. Therefore, I rule with my prince-consort, but I rule.
I’ve spent my entire adult life thinking this.
I’ve been so hellbent on being free that I will take on everything.

As far as I was concerned they are two sides of a coin: be your own queen, or be some man’s princess.
Well, up on my soapbox I’d go as fast as I possibly could. I’d shout about Girl Power! and equality, and the like. The responsibilities modern women have and the debt we owe the women who came before us.

But I’m beginning to feel as though it is a hard, and sometimes lonely, way to be.
I can’t always rule the world, after all, I am just one girl, and sometimes I just want to lay my head in someone’s lap and have them pet my hair. I want to be petted and spoiled. Treated like a princess.

It’s not all or nothing. It’s not two sides of one coin. At least it doesn’t have to be. Why has it taken me forty five years to understand it is actually safe, and even healthy to be both?

So, to every man I told ‘I’m the queen but you’re not my king.’ Well, actually I meant it and I’m better off for it…none of you were right for that job.

But, I have this theory.
(And this is where the ladies should also pay attention.)

The right man is willing to accept you as his queen, but still treats you like a princess. That’s when you get the best of both worlds. So, don’t think you should thumb your nose at it. Don’t be prideful. Accept it and see how lovely life might begin to feel.

My friend and mentor and her beloved were like this. She was his queen and he worshiped her. But he also treated her like a princess and “spoiled” her with love. It was truly something to behold.
I know one other couple that is close to this, and as time goes on, they’ll achieve this perfect balance. My friend Nora and her husband Dale. They are on their way to mastering this way of being.

Can I be both warrior queen and fairy princess?
I guess we’ll find out.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Who do you think you are?

The last couple of weeks have been exhausting. I’m worn slap out. When I finally dragged my world weary ass out of bed this morning, all I could think was: Thank God it’s Friday!
And then I got in the car and this was playing:

It jump-started my energy and I danced all the way to work!
There is no shame in my love for Spice Girls. Thing 1 discovered them when she was a little girl and I was hooked! I love the Girl Power message mixed with the incredibly ridiculous shoes!
I hope this song brings you a little wiggle this morning!

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R. Eric Thomas

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