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.

 

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LOVE YOURSELF.

 

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Back to Meditation

Self-care.

I’ve not been making it a priority lately, and that’s a mistake. Yesterday I used Headspace (the app with the free intro but then too-high subscription price) to get back into it, using the free daily guided meditation, and then today I went back to Insight Timer (free, which is the right price for me). It was just 15 minutes today, and my head wasn’t very empty, but it felt great. I got all drowsy maybe, or perhaps that was just peace, but I liked it.

Then (of course) I went straight to bad drivers on YouTube. I meant to search for something inspirational but allowed myself to get sidetracked.

Yesterday in the way of self-care I minimized my purse. There are still things in it I don’t use often, but they are things that are good to have for emergencies, and so offer value. For example, I carry two flash drives. I don’t use them, but they’re kind of like when your mom tells you to always carry a $20 so you can get home if whatever. One never knows when they’ll need to make an emergency backup of something critical that just does not belong in the cloud.

Well, my day is about to start trying to do me in. Wish me luck!

National Novel Writing Month 2017 and forward

This past November, the one that just ended yesterday, I write 50,000 words of fiction. The challenge is to write one novel in November, but that wasn’t my choice this year.

I wrote the words in three different stories – two romance and one science fiction – and 48,266 those words I wrote in the last seven days.

It’s now a fact that if I pushed myself, I could potentially write four 50,000 word novels in November. I’m not planning that anytime soon, mind you, but my output indicates it’s a possibility.

I did not have a good month overall. There were Life issues, and episodes of depressed moods, and a lack of motivation until I realized that if I didn’t finish, it would be the first since the birth of my son that I would not complete (and “win”) the challenge. That was my tipping point, and I found the time to write 15,002 words on the final day, with several four-digit days before those.

Today, I woke up empowered. I was excited to get things done, to accomplish goals, to set new challenges for myself and achieve them.

December is more a month of transformation and change for me than January is, at least in recent years. I am going to clean my Life, my space, my body in the few weeks of this year that I have left. I am going to end this year at a high point and charge toward 2018 with purpose and energy.

I am going to accept myself the way I am, and with that acceptance, I hope to find peace. I am going to create a space around me that assists that purpose. I am going to treat myself well.

That’s just a bit of what I want. At this moment, it all feels possible and probable. It won’t always feel that way because that’s the way Life is, but I will endeavor to keep my needs front and center so that I am properly prepared to care for those I love.

And that’s what I have tonight. November was good, but it was better because it showed me what I’m capable of, and I plan to take advantage of that to turn 2018 into an amazing year.

Also, I turn 40 in a month and two days (the third day of the new year). I’m rather excited about that.

Sorry, that’s a lie. I’m extremely excited about that.

Photo by Will Oey on Unsplash

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1,258 fiction words, 1,495 total words

Junior Youth and I just made heart hands at each other. JY said, “I love the Pop Tarts and you,” and I was quick to note that Pop Tarts ranked higher. Ah, the magic of premade breakfast pastries.

I wrote a decent amount yesterday.

1,258 fiction words, 1,495 total words

Most of it was in the morning. I intended to write another 1,000 in the evening, but I ended up watching three episodes of Call the Midwife instead. I declared it self-care and do not regret it one bit.

I definitely feel back in the game, though. While I’ve missed my 5 a.m. alarm the last two days (yesterday because I was up until midnight with CtM), once I got up I’ve been up. I know it’s only two days, but it feels a lot different than when I was feeling sick.

Today’s a new day. Wish me luck!