I’m Not a Bitch and Neither are You

I will never forget that moment.

The moment in which I sat in my bedroom, phone cord stretched through the kitchen, across the hallway and into my bedroom.  Stretching just far enough to allow me to close my door, and sit just inside the sanctity of my room in order to scheme with my friend in private.  The exact plans are moot today, but I am willing to bet the farm on the fact that they included alcohol, boys, and post-curfew plans of sneaking out through my bedroom window. As we plotted and solidified our teenage debauchery, the knock came and I heard the words that no teenager wants to hear on a Saturday night.

You have to stay home.

I remember flinging that door open so fast that the phone shot across the kitchen like a bullet from a gun.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO STAY HOME?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  WE HAVE PLANS! I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!!!!!

She wouldn’t budge.  There would be no gallivanting for me on that delightful evening and I was beside myself with  a weeks worth of pent-up teenage angst.

Didn’t she realize how difficult it was to secure an evenings worth of alcohol when you are sixteen?  Didn’t she know how tedious it was to plan out an all night drink-a-thon complete with a post-curfew pick-up schedule?  She was ruining my life.

I mourned the loss of our illegal evening with my partner in crime, trying to hide in the corner of the room so that my mother couldn’t hear what I was saying about her.  There was no way I was going to show her how much she had fucked up my evening.  I was going to play it cool.

She taunted me:  If you have something you want to say to me, just say it.

I bit my tongue and continued to whisper into the handset.

Why don’t you just say something? Tell me how you feel?

It came out of my mouth before I could stop it:  YOU.  ARE BEING.  A BITCH!

At that very moment time stood still.  I had just called my mother a bitch.  To her face.  I saw my life flash before my eyes.

I had absent mindedly dropped an f-bomb in front of her before, but I had never said such vile things about her where she could hear me.  Sure I had said it behind her back, hello…..teenager.  Never to her face.  NEVER.

I think of the fear I felt.  Not only for my quickly diminishing social life, but for what I had just done to our amazing relationship. I had crossed that line and  the disappointment I felt in myself for calling the woman who gave me life such an incredibly disrespectful name sickens me to my core even after all these years.

If you use a dictionary, you will find that a bitch is defined as a malicious, unpleasant, selfish person, especially a woman.  If you prefer to use Urban Dictionary, you will find that a bitch is defined as a modern-day servant; A person who performs tasks for another, usually degrading in status. 

Sure I am unpleasant at times, I am always a woman, and at times I am selfish.  I suppose if you put that all together, there are days in which the term bitch would define me perfectly. A few days each month, I wouldn’t even argue with you if you placed the term ‘raging’ in front of it.   We all have our moments in which we are being an actual bitch.   Days that we are deserving of the term,  it fits us to a T.

Degrading in status, that is the part that gets me.

Why do we, as women, feel the need to continue to use this word as a term of endearment?  Not just the term bitch, but words like hooker, hoe, slut, and whore.  Do we not think enough of ourselves and the company that we keep?

Some will argue that those words are slang and the definition has changed.  That those words, when used in the proper context, are meant to show other women that we enjoy spending time with them.  That they are our friends.

Maybe in my old age I have lost a bit of my sense of humor and I need to relax a bit.  Maybe I need to grow with the times and get hip with the slang.  Maybe…..no.

I have never enjoyed being called a bitch, and I’ve been called one (and acted like one) many times.  For me it is a reminder to take a look in the mirror and examine my behavior.  That I am acting in a way that is not becoming and that there is a good chance that I have hurt someone in a way that I should be embarrassed about.  That I am in no way, shape or form acting like a friend.

As women, it is up to us to lift each other up.  To encourage and support, to demonstrate to our children how to treat each other.  Not to knock each other down and demean each other with derogatory names, no matter how entertaining we think we are being.  Just like text-speak and poor grammar, the use of words like bitch, hooker, and whore become acceptable terms of endearment only if we let them.  I may be old-school, but I refuse to bend.

Like a tree in the Kansas wind, when we bend our core weakens and before we know it we are broken beyond repair.

I think about that night.   The look of disappointment and the hurt in my mother’s eyes.  Knowing that my use of that one word had cut into her heart like a knife.

Her ability to forgive me only proved that she wasn’t the one being a bitch.  I was.

You Know it Happens at Your House Too: Bitch Please

 

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The Power of Girlfriends

This weekend I received a lovely surprise visit from my Bestie.  We have been best friends since 1987 so I am quite certain that she knows more about me than anyone else on this planet.  She was there when I met Farmer Bob, she was there when I married Farmer Bob, she’s always there when I need her to be.  Always.  As we were talking above the screams of our children  it dawned on me how much we all need that one friend, or group of friends, that simply understand.  That listen without judging or criticizing.  That give advice without being condescending and that laugh when we need them to laugh.  That aren’t afraid to tell us to shut the hell up when we aren’t making any sense.  That may not always agree with what we are saying, but are willing to listen anyway.   That give us that little reminder that we aren’t alone.

The Power of Girlfriends

Before you get all worried about Farmer Bob and his feelings, I’m not talking about significant others here.  I’m talking girl. friends.  Farmer Bob does many of those things (especially telling me to shut my pie-hole), but you know as well as I do that there is just nothing like venting to a girlfriend about “things”.  He doesn’t want to talk about my saggy boobs and my menstrual cycle.  He doesn’t give two shits about what kind of laundry detergent I use or what I put in that salad. Unless it has to do with tractors, grains, cows, or sex he just doesn’t really care.  I probably shouldn’t say he doesn’t care because he does, but you girls know what I mean. <speaking of shutting my pie-hole…NOW, do it NOW>

There is something relaxing about sitting on the couch or around a table with your girlfriends.  Something that releases those tight muscles and loosens the tongue, and I’m not just talking about the effects of the wine.  You lose some of your inhibitions and the words start to spill out of you like the milk out of the jug when your toddler drops that  full gallon on the kitchen floor.  When it’s just you and your amigas, nothing is off-limits.   Only with the girls do you feel comfortable talking about the post-childbirth floppy butterfly, or the fact that you have to pick up your boobs in order to fit them securely in your bra.  No one else but the girls can relate to the fact that while you may be losing hair from the top of your head, you are finding it on your lip, or your chin, or your <insert random body part here> .

No one but other mommas ‘get it’ when you mention something about your desire to tell your kids to quit being inconsiderate assholes or wanting to scream at them to just PICK UP THEIR SHIT.   The dads, they get it, honestly they do, but it’s different.  They have a gift that we just don’t.  The magical ability to ignore.  Ignore all the asshole behavior until the magnitude of assholeyness has reached a level that even the hubs himself could not surpass.  Asshole level:  Defcon 5.  This is not going to be pretty.  One massive explosion of orders and dad has his offspring cleaning faster than a crew of Merry Maids.  If I were to attempt to use this method,  PITA would probably flash me a quick view of his wiener and run off and dump out a bucket of  Legos while laughing his cute little meniacal laugh.

When we are having one of those shittastic mothering days or feeling like a less than stellar wife, it is hearing those equally horrifying stories from your friends that make you feel less like a failure and more like a normal person.  It is knowing that you aren’t the only one cleaning boogers off your television or walking away from lunch because your toddler is throwing a tantrum over the way you cut up his hot dog.   Realizing that your friend also shoves Cookie Crisp in her mouth as she’s walking out the door because there wasn’t time to eat a better breakfast.  Having that ‘A HA’ moment when an amiga tells you that she just doesn’t feel like being touched in a sexy way after being groped by an octopus all day long.  There is a feeling of normalcy that overtakes you knowing that your kid isn’t the only one to take a dump on the sidewalk or that you aren’t the only one that gets tired playing cruise director and party planner.

So I guess where I was going with this is that if you don’t have you some girlfriends that you can dish with, you have GOT to get you some.  As my bestie said so eloquently after our visit, “ just a few hours with my bestie is like a massage, therapy session and a Xanax all rolled into one”.   You don’t get better than that.

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Do I Look Fat in These Jeans?

I’ve been after my friend Angela to guest post for me for some time.  We first “met” via our Facebook pages and I was immediately drawn to her.  Her positive attitude, her fantastic sense of humor, and the way she truly cares for others is just a few of the qualities that I adore about her.  She has been one of my biggest fans and supporters  from the  beginning of this journey and I am so very blessed to be able to call her my friend. I look forward to the day that I get to sit across the table from her and share a meal and so many laughs.  She runs an amazing Facebook page and recently launched her accompanying website that is a GREAT place for women to connect.  Without further ado, please welcome my friend Angela, Sad But True Life of a Middle Aged Woman.

Do These Jeans Make Me Look Fat?

We, as a culture, seem to be obsessed with our size. Do my jeans make me look fat? Does this shirt show too much boob? And where the hell did that back fat come from? We spend time looking in the mirror to see if we have added some pounds, lost some pounds or, quite possibly, shifted some poundage from one place to another, as if one day we would wake up and find that some of the fat in our butt or stomach has been magically shifted to our boobs, or other desirable places.

We examine our bodies to see if we have aspired to the “type” that society says we should be. But what is the “perfect” type anyway? Curvy? Skinny? Slim? Big on top little on the bottom? Who knows, but let’s move on…

Once we have finished examining ourselves, we might find that we are disappointed to find our bodies are in the same place that we left them the night before. In an attempt to feel better about ourselves, we now hit the streets looking for a body that we believe looks worse than our own. And why do we need someone to look worse than we do? Because it makes us feel better about ourselves.

I’m sure you’ve been out and about and seen all sorts of body types walking around. Some of these types may be overweight and maybe when you saw them you thought, “She would look so good if she would just lose a few pounds, then she would be perfect!” Or, maybe you saw somebody really thin and you thought, “I wonder if she has anorexia or bulimia.”  Then, of course, there is the body type that looks physically fit and we say, “I bet she is a bitch. She only thinks about working out” or “I’ll bet she doesn’t have any problems. She’s perfect.”  It seems that we are either too fat or too skinny, never being able to make everybody happy, and this really bugs me, because, quite frankly, WHY does it matter?? If I am curvy or skinny or physically fit, who gives a rat’s ass? I am still ME. I believe that when one group has to put down another group in order to make themselves feel better, it’s completely pathetic. But this isn’t a new feeling for me, in fact it has always bothered me, because, I am that girl. Which girl? Well, both.

I have been from one extreme of the weight issue to the other. I have been curvy and I have been board straight, as in no curves, not one…anywhere. No boobs, no hips, NADA. Then, one day, just like that, I woke up curvy. And I mean CURVY…boobs, hips and a little bit of arm flab thrown in for good measure. When I was curvy, I was told I should “work out” and maybe I should “eat fewer carbs,” like eating fewer carbs was an option I wanted to entertain. As a non-curvy person, I was told, “You should put on some weight” or “maybe you should lift weights, it might help you get shapely.”  Each comment, whether it was directed toward my curvy self or my skinny self, would be followed up with, “You’ll feel better, if you do what I said, I promise.” The reality was that whatever or whomever I was, wasn’t good enough to the group that I wasn’t.

Frantically, in my attempt to make everybody else happy I followed the instructions I had been given. When I was curvy, I worked out and ate salads, but it didn’t work. The mashed potatoes from my former life were my friend and they stuck to my hips and promised to never leave me. I practiced looking at myself in the mirror, wondering which angle would make my double chin appear a little bit less. When I was skinny, I did everything I could to gain weight, which included eating everything I could and lifting weights, but to no avail. My metabolism was off the charts, so the weight just slid off. I felt like I looked like a boy and could not possibly be attractive.

Over time I stopped trying to make other people happy because I could NEVER live up to anybody else’s expectation. I could only live up to my own expectation. The reality is that people are people. They are not better if they are curvy or skinny, big or little or rich or poor. What matters is if they are happy with themselves, and that is all. Oh, I hear people saying, “But they are unhealthy!” And I say; that is their business, not yours.

In each and every situation, whether I was curvy or slim, I was still funny, nice, kind, friendly and caring. Those were and are the qualities that stay with me no matter what I look like on the outside. Focus on your inner qualities and while you’re at it, focus on other people’s inner qualities too.

Listen to me when I say curvy women aren’t better than slim women and slim women aren’t better than curvy women. Period. Curvy women aren’t happier than slim women and slim women aren’t happier than curvy women. Got it? If you don’t want to be fat or skinny, then don’t be, but don’t judge someone else for who you think they should be.

Here is a thought, next time you see someone, instead of looking at their body to see who they are, look in to their eyes to see who they are. You will be amazed.

Angela

(currently slim(ish), boobilicious and with a muffin top)

Please be sure to follow SBT on Facebook and visit her website.  You can also follow her on Twitter.  I promise you will NOT be disappointed!

Raising Girls

Raising girls scares the living shit out of me.  There, I said it.  It isn’t because I am not confident in my parenting abilities; it is because I remember what it is like to be a teenage girl.  Believe it or not, it hasn’t been that long since I was one <cough, cough>.  I see my girls growing up and find myself in awe of what we (Farmer Bob and I) have created.  I may be a bit biased, but I see beautiful, smart, amazing girls.  At their ages now (10, 6, and 4) they are not so much concerned with appearance and acceptance, but times they are a-changing.  Sooner rather than later I am afraid.  What am I most afraid of?  That they will grow up with this false sense of what is real and what is not.  That their own self worth will suffer because of the falsities they see going on around them.  That they will think that they need the approval of others in order to feel comfortable in their own skin.  I know that as the main female presence in their life it is up to me to make damn sure that they grow up to be strong, confident women.  This day and age, this may be the most difficult task I have ever attempted to accomplish.

With the internet, it is so easy for our children to have access to so many things that we never did.  We never “met” people online; we met them in person and got to know them.  We learned how to decide if a person was truly honest and true by looking in their eyes and watching their body language.  We learned how to tell if someone really liked us for us and, we developed a “bullshit meter” to tell us when someone was looking for something else, something that we just weren’t ready to give.  We weren’t afraid to walk away if our BS meter maxed out and the alarms started sounding.  Now, as I told you all last week, I have made (and actually had the pleasure of meeting) some wonderful friends via the internet.  I also told you that these friendships have not been made quickly and without some serious deep thinking not only on my part, but by my now friends as well. I may be overly cautious when it comes to the internet, but in this day and age I feel as if I have no other choice not only for my safety, but for the safety of my family as well.  While the internet has this fabulous power  and ability to bring people together, it holds many dangers inside it as well.  At first “introduction” you cannot gauge someone just based on a name and a picture.  You have absolutely no guarantee that you are actually getting the person the picture.  It is so difficult to explain to my young children how sometimes people are not always what they seem and that they must be cautious.  They get frustrated when I am constantly watching what they are doing when they are allowed to get on the internet.  They don’t understand that the internet does not have its own internal BS meter, that is what Farmer Bob and I are for.

 

I understand that  we have a long, difficult road ahead of us.  Mini-me has asked me multiple times if she can set up her own Facebook page.  My answer is always longer than she would like it to be; 1. No, I will not allow you to lie about your age to get what you want, and 2.  No, I will not allow you to lie about your age to get what you want.  While I try to explain to her why honesty is so important, I also feel that it is important for me to teach her why other people do NOT believe that honesty is the best policy.  That people will tell you what they think you want to hear in order to get what they want.  It is not because I don’t want her to trust people; Lord knows I want her to trust.  I want her to trust her instinct, her “bullshit meter”.  I want her to be able to know when someone is pumping her full of crap in order to get something from her.  I want her to be able to stand up for herself and say “No, I don’t have to tell you”.  I want her to feel comfortable in her own skin to be strong, and confident, and smart.  Comfortable enough to know that she is meant for something great and that she can be that on her own, surrounded by people that love her for her.  That she is worth not only giving her best to those who truly care about her, but that she DESERVES and should DEMAND the best from others.
Self worth is such a difficult thing for us women to have an appreciation for.  Sometimes I wish we were more like men in that we just wouldn’t worry so much about what others think about us.  That we could be comfortable in our own skin and not feel that we need approval from others, but I suppose that is what makes us different from them.  I wish that we could appreciate ourselves for the magnificent creatures that we are.  I wish that we could be comfortable in a crowded room of other women and not judge each other by what we look like, our hairstyles, our clothes, or even what kind of mother we are.  I wish that we could avoid the competition and the status ladder that we all seem to be trying to climb. I wish that we could all be beautiful, amazing, supportive, equal.

 

My hope for my girls is that they, unlike so many young girls these days, have self-worth.  That they recognize that they don’t have to have their ass hanging out of their shorts and boobs sticking out of their tops in order to be beautiful.  That they don’t have to have the attention of every boy (or girl) in order to be amazing, that they can be smart, athletic, dramatic, musical, or any combination of these.  That they don’t have to be skinny, have perfect hair, or perfect clothes in order to be beautiful. That they don’t need the approval of a man or their friends in order to be considered successful. That sometimes, being considered “popular” is not always a good thing. That as long as they are honest and true with themselves, THAT is what makes them beautiful.  That is self worth, and they are worth all of it.
J.K. Rowling.
Image courtesy of Pinterest

 

My dear friend Craughing is ready to tackle this issue head on.  She is starting the Self Worth Action Project.  Honestly, I believe that this is genius.  We all need a reminder as to what makes us, well, what makes us US.  What makes us beautiful, strong, smart, and FABULOUS.  I join her in challenging you to join this project.  Please follow the link and join her,  you will find me there.  Do it, you DESERVE it!