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.





Overflowing with Gratitude

I haven’t had a bottle of wine since last Christmas, I’d bet my glass on it. So my fingers are a bit liberated, to put it finely.

That should not negate what I have to say tonight.

Christmas does not feel like Christmas without a tree and without lights. I do not subscribe to the Christian portion of the holiday, but I do fervently enjoy the exchange of gifts on Christmas morning, being able to give my children things they wish for and trying to do the same for my husband.

Today I spent the day, as I often do, taking care of laundry. It’s an all-day task because we have the unique situation of not having laundry facilities in our home. We travel to my parent’s home, which allows us to see and stay in touch with them as well as benefit from their clothes washer and dryer.

While there, while taking care of getting a week’s worth of clothing clean, I was able to take care of financial responsibilities I have for my grandmother, to watch several episodes of The Crown, and to read some in my book, You are a Badass at Making Money. I was able to clearly label their fuse breaker, and to help with (but ultimately not solve) their smoke detector issue (it keeps beeping even though power was removed before replacing the battery).

When I got home, our Christmas tree, which we had avoided putting up last year because of the addition of four (!!!!) new kittens in our household, was up again. There are ornaments on the tree (mostly red) and lights (all white). It’s a fake tree, and there are fake needes all over the floor.

I am in love.

I am so grateful to my husband and my child for getting the tree up today. I opened up a gifted bottle of wine and the accompanying cookies and enjoyed them with more of The Crown, and am just soaking up the season. I’m am so happy and excited about the way today has gone.

Did I mention we got 4″ of snow today? The lovely card I got from a relative back home (Iowa)?

I am so grateful that there are not words.

Large, adorable piles of fur

616 fiction words, 834 total words

My cats are adorable. I’ll stop gushing now.

I also know someone who is fostering a sweet dog who likes to sit on your lap. I guess the dog barks a LOT, though, when he first goes home with potential adopters. (Actually, it could be a female dog – I’m not certain.) If he could make it through a weekend, though, apparently he calms down and stops the constant barking. I just thought I’d toss that out there into the Internets because one never knows.

On to my day yesterday! Since the responsibility of ferrying folks to places in the morning was relieved of me (does that sentence even make sense?), I slept in until the very last moment in the morning, to the point where I woke up, got showered, got dressed, and walked out the door. This happened last summer and completely derailed my writing (did I mention this yesterday?), and I’m determined not to let it happen again.

I think I rather saved it in the afternoon, though. I got 616 fiction words and 834 total words (another fiction-over-blog victory!), and I got my blogs done, and I got to bed about 11 p.m. – a reasonable time.

Now the time approacheth for me to go back to the day job and work hard for my money. I’m looking forward back to the house, though, where I can write more. I think that’s a good thing. I can’t wait until I can write some more!” Who doesn’t love that?

Oh, speaking of Etsy (which we weren’t, but whatever), I ran across a mug that may be of interest to some of my writing friends. I love it for myself, but it’s handcrafted, and thus kind of pricey for a splurge purchase. Check it out. Someday, though, because yeah. Write the damn book!