I have a friend, divorced. Her ex-husband is nuts. (Go figure!) Which she tends to attribute in part to her ex-mother-in-law. (Imagine that, a Gen X woman attributing her ex’s issues to Mama. Noooo!)
Anywho, she does this fantastic impression of her ex-father-in-law responding to her concerns about Mama (and, by implication, Sonny Boy): [Insert Eastern Appalachias accent here] “Gaad bless hurr, she is thu sahme as when Iah furst met hurr. Iah met hurr when she was twelve yehrs old and she is thu sahme gurl Iah furst met.” (That is, “God bless her, she is the same as when I first met her. I met her when she was twelve years old and she is the same girl I first met.”)
Does anyone remember women growing up? Seriously? Remember when we were going take care of business and and take care of ourselves along with everyone else? (I can bring home the bacon/ ba da da da. Fry it up in a pan/ ba da da da.) I guess to some people, that is “feminism” and that’s a dirty word. (Although, five years into an economic downturn, I’m wondering if there are some guys out there who think a woman who could bring in some cash might be nice right about now.)
The job market sucks and it’s sucked for a while, and every analysis shows that most of the new jobs have gone to men. It’s never been easy being a woman in the workplace, and the current is really a local minimum (as it is for men as well). I know a lot of women with kids and husbands would say that they don’t have time to contribute to their community, either for pay or otherwise, I’ve heard it time and again. l’ll bite, so you don’t.
Of course, what we always have on our side is ourselves, and our decision to be women. You can be jobless, boyfriendless, husbandless, childless, broke, no money for outfits, vacations or primping. All of the above or choose one or more, you don’t necessarily get to opt out of hard times. What is in your power is your decision to be a woman, not a stuck in junior high teenager. You can still make your community a better place to be every single day, in the way you conduct yourself, by contributing where and when you can, and by interacting positively and constructively with everyone around you—regardless of who they are (or you perceive them to be), not blathering forth whatever mindless oral hemorrhage gets you attention and wows the crowd. That doesn’t take any time at all, all it takes is a bit of Grown Up Fairy Dust. There’s a FaceBook meme that fits: Drop a dish on the floor, watch it break. Now apologize to the dish. All better?
Longer version heard long ago in a Homily at Church Growing Up: A woman confesses to her priest that she spreads gossip about a neighbor. For penance, the priest tells her, “Go home, open a feather pillow, then shake the feathers out the window. Then come back.” The woman did as she was told. It was a windy day and the feathers blew away as soon as they fell from the pillow case. When she returned, the priest told her, “Now go pick up all the feathers. That’s your penance.” That’s gossip. 😀
You can’t always change a situation, and historically as women, we haven’t always had a lot of power to protect ourselves or each other. That’s a bit different now, but maybe not as much as we’d like to think. The one power you do have is you can look at a situation instead of looking away and pretending you don’t know or it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t effect you.
It is without question a time of economic distress and when I see and hear people—especially women—look the other way and dismiss it as someone else’s headache, I always smile politely and move the conversation on, to be pleasant. But in my head? Not so pleasant. I’m thinking, “Why don’t you put the money you spend on beauty products and half of your budget for outfits to helping out some of the people who are dying starved and dirty on your streets? And if the money really isn’t there, maybe some of the leftovers can stay in a larger Tupperware for a few more days and you could pitch in?” It’s a decision.
If you don’t think it, you don’t say it. Maybe some things need to be said . . . .
Truth and gossip both hurt. Like Life and a few other things. Happy September.