Dear Young Woman:

oh dear

You are so beautiful. You are young, shiny – filled with collagen and elastin and other things that make me envious. You have a future, a spark, and more opportunity than any generation of women in the history of everything. You’re really the first girls ever for whom just about anything is truly possible. You can go to the moon, you can stay home and raise a house full of kids,  you can do both.. it’s up to you.

So while I am sure you are going after those things, planning them and making goals and figuring out your path, I have a couple of questions for you. Don’t take these the wrong way (as if I know what the right way is)… I don’t want to offend you or sound as old as I’m sure I do, but I don’t get it.

Why do you dance like that? Like a stripper… you know what I mean. Dancing, all by itself, is just so naturally sexy and free and open, who told you you had to do a lap dance on the floor? When you go up on the dance floor with your friends, why do you all look like you’re auditioning for a porn flick or a strip club? Seriously, I’m not trying to be an old bitch but the front row is usually expected to come armed with small bills for that kind of performance, and there’s generally a cover charge.

Those pictures of you on Facebook and Instagram … the sexy booty pics in the bathroom, you know the ones – you in your bikini or little tank top sulking and making duck lips with the toilet in the background. What’s that about? Or the drunk ones..the ones with your hands on your best friend’s boobs and your tongues touching. Why? Are you gay? Are you experimenting with your sexuality and want to showcase it to the world? Or are you really just trying to look hot, ’cause guys think girls making out is really hot? If you’re coming out via Facebook pics, power to you. If you’re trying to look hot… seriously, why?

I think sex is great. I think being sexy and celebrating your sexuality is great. I don’t want to shame you or blame you or tell you you can’t go out of the house dressed like THAT, young lady!  I just don’t understand who it’s for, all those moves and those pictures, and all that.  Does that stuff make you feel empowered? Maybe owning your sexuality in that way makes you feel strong, in charge. If that’s why, that makes sense to me somehow. But is it really that, or is it just because that’s the crap that’s been poured into your brain by Much Music, by all the ho’s and biotches in the games, videos and movies you’ve seen.  I worry “that’s what sexy looks like” to you and presumably, the guys.   I’m more afraid you’ve been convinced it’s how you’ve got to look rather than out of a sense of freedom and control.

When I was a little girl, my influences were pretty tame; Barbie, Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Cher.  You girls catapulted straight from Barbies to Britney, Bitch. The world changed shape around the time you were all what…. 13, 14?  Suddenly everybody was texting, Facebook was a thing,  and before the world knew what had happened, we were underwater.  Everything shifted shape.

I guess I’d like to know why… honestly. I guess I’d like to believe that, if any part of my concern or questions ring true to you, you might think about that. I would love it if, the next time you run out onto the dance floor with a bunch of friends you dance for the joy of moving your body to music you love… to HELL with whoever might be hooting from the cheap seats.

I think you’re beautiful when you dance like a regular person. I think your photos are gorgeous when you laugh and look like a dork in them. I celebrate your normal, beautiful, sexy self.

Advertisements

Powerfully Powerless

sisyphus

Personal power. What is that? It’s not the same thing as personal strength. Personal strength I have in spades. Power I have far less of. Far less than I’d like, far less than I’d need to change any of the important things I believe need changing. I have strength, I have determination, I have drive and I have fortitude. But I don’t have power. I can influence, I can suggest, I can advocate and I can agitate. I can irritate, I can instigate and I can pester. But I don’t have Power.

I can’t make you do what I think is right. I can’t make you do what I think you must. I can’t make Him do what is so clearly needed. I can’t make them change the way they think, they act, they enact, they legislate. I can’t. I don’t use that word often. I can’t. Power is not something you can simply have by believing you have it. Power isn’t something I can drum up like confidence or belief or faith or mule headed stubbornness. I don’t have the power to make change happen.

I will lend my voice. I will stand to be counted. I will wave a banner or hold up a sign or sign on the dotted line and do my level best to be a force for change. I will speak loudly in my biggest  small voice and demand to be heard. And I will often feel small. Smaller for trying. Smaller for caring. Smaller for giving such a huge important damn.

There is so much change I feel is needed; little micro changes in my own life, larger macro changes in my community and giant leap forward changes in my country and the world. I am tired of trying to be powerful. I am tired of being chicken little. I am surprised so few people seem to notice. The sky might be falling but you seem fine… you seem not to notice it, you seem okay. Maybe, since power is only really available to a few, and I don’t think those few really play for my team, I should work on cultivating contentment. Stop seeking the power to change things, and seek instead the comfort of apathy.

Happy July everybody. The sun is shining so it’s all good. Right?

It’s tiresome, but I know I won’t be able to cultivate apathy. I am hard wired to give a damn. To keep pushing. To keep trying to jump just high enough to make sure you hear what I want you to hear. That’s ego, I guess. But it’s also a desire to connect, to work for things that matter to me and to demand I don’t just give up. I am going to always push against the easy if the easy feels wrong, feels like the lazy way. So chances are if you and I know each other in real life I have annoyed you at least once, or will.  I’ll work on that, but I will also keep working for what matters to me.

Can’t help it.

Pocket NINJA!!!

photo (11)

I know a she-lion of a mother who told me a story about the power of pocket ninjas. When her kids were in school and feeling worried, bullied, anxious or alone she would ask them to think of her as pocket ninja mom… there, just out of sight, and ready to fight evil for their sake.   I love the idea of the pocket ninja. I love the idea of a secret weapon, a tiny little warrior ready to do battle for me if I need a champion.

Our family has a huge collection of Playmobil, and I have a big bag of it at my desk for kids needing diversion while suffering through Mom or Dad’s meetings.  I had, in that bag, a few ninjas and aliens that I have pressed into service throughout the office for various purposes… mostly comical. About a year ago a colleague was very stressed, preparing for a big presentation. It was one of those presentations that would impact someone’s career and life, so she was feeling the pressure of wanting to get it exactly right. Remembering my friend’s awesome mom-ness, I offered her a  playmobil guy to carry in her pocket to her meeting… a genuine pocket ninja, even down to the black clothes and sword.

She took the ninja, made a rock solid presentation and I believe won her case.  She had a little toy in her pocket to fidget with if things got stressy, but really… how anxious can you be when you’re playing with a hidden toy and remembering the goofiness that went along with receiving it?

That ninja has had many subsequent adventures… he has done a series of yoga photo shoots (he’s really quite agile), has been photographed in many exotic locales and has put a few miles under his groovy headband. He has, however, failed to return from his most recent journey… his adventures have carried him beyond my reach and his loss has been felt a time or two.

My colleague, upon hearing that pocket ninja had gone on to bigger and better things (or maybe just fallen behind my office bookcase?) worked a bit of magic.  She surprised me this morning with a new and different, but possibly even more kick ass pocket ninja (shhhh…the other ninja might just be hiding, and he isn’t very forgiving).

THIS ninja has not one, but two swords. A black sword AND a grey sword. He has a groovy removable helmet too, which almost makes up for his inability to do any of the more challenging yoga poses.

As talismans go, perhaps a little plastic guy with a yellow head is not as powerful as some. He does, however, fit in your pocket… more than you can say for some groovy crystals I’ve seen. He also has a bit more street cred than a St. Francis medallion on a chain, and I’ve yet to see a medallion depicting even ONE ninja sword, never mind two (no offense intended).

All joking aside, it’s awesome to have something to carry (or think about, or remember) – a reminder that somebody, somewhere, has your back. It’s great to know that there’s a little army ready to stand up for you, even if it’s a really really tiny army….pocket sized.  Those pocket ninjas are Mom powered…friend powered… and you know they’ll kick ass if they need to!