Women, Strength, and Shame

My previous post was about the painting at the painting party, but let me share a bit about what else went on.

I sat with five women. We are all strong, smart, beautiful, powerful, talented, and have families. I am an introvert, and I know one or two of the other women are, too. Not super comfortable with crowds, but we can fake it well under the right circumstances.

So we’re painting, and everyone else is using templates to draw their fish, but I’m feeling goofy and comfortable with these people, so instead of using the template, I draw a simple “infinity” fish (where the tail is a triangle and the body is a teardrop).

The woman to my right says, “Look at Nicki, showing off.”

The painting continues and we’re all having fun. I’m able to help my neighbors a bit because I’ve done this before and know a couple of things. It’s fun, we’re laughing, I still have some beer in my coffee mug (because then I don’t pick the wrong plastic cup to drink from, of course).

A woman further to my right says, “Look at Nicki. You can tell she’s the artist. That’s amazing, I’ll never do that well.”

And I smile but don’t reply because I don’t like that kind of direct attention, and compliments are hard to accept.

Someone chirps up. “She’s not even denying it. She knows she’s good.”

Someone else says, “I know, she’s not even denying it. I’d be like, ‘No, it’s not.'”

And someone else replies, “I know, right?”

I’m so flabbergasted that any reserve I have blows right out the window and I say, “But that’s not how you’re supposed to accept a compliment! You’re supposed to smile and say, ‘Thank you.'”

And then I did, although I don’t think the woman who offered the compliment heard me or looked at me. I smiled and said, “Thank you.”

Women. Friends. Sisters. We are trying to raise strong young women who know their own worth. Please stop the self-depreciating comments. Please stop replying to compliments with words that insinuate that either you have no self-worth, or that the person offering the compliment is stupid. Accept it. Smile and say, “Thank you.” That’s all. You are talented, you are worthy, you are beautiful. Stop calling folks who want to recognize that liars.

Smile and say, “Thank you.”

And there’s another thing.

Don’t try to shame me for enjoying myself. Don’t shame me for goofing off, or relaxing, or trying to have fun with friends. Don’t try to put me in a box because I don’t want to use a template. I want to make it as beautiful or as dorky as I want to.

So what if I was showing off? So what if I walked around the entire room to share my joy? Did I tell you what you were doing was wrong? No. Because it wasn’t. And neither was my silly fish drawing that was only meant to bring me (and hopefully you) joy.

Don’t shame me.

Women, friends, sisters: don’t shame each other. We get enough of that from men who think we are less because we don’t have a penis. We get enough of that from ourselves after getting media messages daily, hourly, by the second that reinforce that many still view us as less.

We aren’t. We must support each other, and we must support our children so our girls know that we don’t stand for that shit.

So the painting was a lot of fun, but the reminders in feminism were better.





Third of 2018, January

It’s my birthday! I’m officially 40. I’m very happy to be 40, and I’ve had a lovely day so far.

I slept in until about 11 a.m., but that was after waking up at 6 a.m. and getting everyone off to school and work. So technically I took a four-hour nap an hour after waking up. That was lovely.

Then I did my morning routine things that I usually do when the kids are getting ready, and which I should be doing an hour before they need to even get up. But last night I went to a late movie and didn’t get to bed until nearly 2 a.m., so I forgave myself not waking at 5 a.m. today.

Then I watched some Black Mirror and replied to a lot of birthday wishes (thank you, everyone!) and by then it was already time for kids to get home from school, so I postponed my errands until that happened.

Then out into the cold! I’ve been needing air in my tires for a week (since it first got supercold), and so took care of that, got lunch from the gas station, forgot to get actual gas, and then went to a tattoo parlor to get an appointment. I was a bit nervous to go in, but overcame it, just like the haircut. It actually worked out much more perfectly than I could have imagined, and in 9 days I’ll be sporting some new ink. I’m quite excited about that.

And then back into the cold! Off to pick up my laptop which I left somewhere warm so I could see that movie last night without breaking the electronics (never leave your electronic toys in the cold or hot, folks!), visited with the custodians of my laptop, returned a package to its rightful owner, and went to get the gas I’d forgotten earlier.

Then dinner. I used to work at Pizza Hut and I still love their food. And bonus, a 50% off all online orders coupon got me my food for half price! Brought it home, ate, watched some YouTube (got sucked into YouTube, really – so easy, yet so treacherous), and now that everyone’s asleep, I’m writing.

Technically I’m blogging. But it’s still writing, and I still count blog words.

I’m 40! 😀

I had a great day. It wasn’t anything special except that I feel special, and grateful, and loved.  I am looking forward to this year – the ups and the inevitable downs – the hard work and the joy and all the good stuff.

And the books. There is an enormous pile of very good books to read.

And to write. 40 stories in my 40th year. Time to get cracking!

Self Portrait at 40

And now for something completely different

Except not really. I just thought that would make a good post title.

There are more than one movie that I have been recommending and rewatching lately. Movies I think are funny, or powerful, or just the kind of things that I would like to watch, and rewatch, and rewatch again. And do!

The Way, directed by Emilio Estevez, and starring Martin Sheen, is one of those movies. It’s about a father whose son dies while walking the Camino de Santiago. He goes to collect his son’s remains and ends up walking the Camino in his place. It’s not funny, but powerful, and quite sad. I don’t know how I stumbled on it the first time, but thankfully it’s been on Netflix for several years, and I’ve seen it at least six times. I also find the soundtrack to be sublime. Insightful and on point. Love.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, starring Amy Adams and Francis McDormand, is flat out hilarious. Taking place at the start of the second World War, McDormand is a nanny who impersonates a personal secretary to avoid starvation. Adams is the nightclub singer McDormand rescues in the process. It’s so sweet, and a whirlwind of a good time. Also, happy endings. I love me some happy endings.

Morning Glory stars Han Solo Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum, and John Pankow (and Patrick Wilson). A young woman (McAdams) with eternal, boundless, irritatingly positive energy takes on a crappy morning show and makes it crappier. Then falls in love, and saves the day. The snappy dialogue is amazing and the film is hilarious. Love, love, love this one, too. “Fluffy”, I believe is the word I’m looking for.

So if you’ve been looking for the next film to watch, both Miss Pettigrew and The Way are on streaming on Netflix. Morning Glory used to be, but you can still get it on DVD there. They’re all amazing.

And now The Way is making me cry. On to writing!

So I wrote a bit yesterday. 1,145 words of fiction, and 367 blog words. I feel good about them, but I don’t remember much of them. I got a tad more done this morning, but I don’t plan on many more. I believe I’m going to go see a film tonight with the small fortune I discovered in an old purse that I emptied out this week. The rest of the weekend should go as usual: laundry Saturday, moving Sunday (things from my parent’s house to mine). I’m not expecting much, although I do plan to tuck into the story some more. As usual.

And perhaps get some kitten cuddles in while I’m at it.