It’s a football game not a funeral

Ah, another “older” woman berating today’s young ladies for wearing clothing she deems “unclassy.” This time at an Alabama football game. Isn’t it refreshing?

One day we’re yelling at men to stop objectifying our daughters. The next we’re slut-shaming these same daughters because their collarbones are showing. At a football game. In 95-degree heat.

Give me a break. Today’s young women are under enough pressure trying to find their place in a world that constantly tells them they need to be:

  • prettier (but without looking like they’re trying)
  • smarter (but not too smart)
  • richer (but not wealthier than the boys)
  • taller (but not too tall)
  • skinnier (but not too skinny)
  • curvier (but not too curvy)
  • successful (but not too successful)
miniskirt

That’s me in the miniskirt and motorcycle jacket senior year of high school.

They certainly don’t need us older women judging them for the clothes they wear. My lord, Madonna and Jennifer Beals in Flashdance were our fashion role model in the 80s! And don’t try to tell me you didn’t dress like either of them at some point. We all did. I wore short skirts with cowboy boots, sweatshirts hanging off my shoulder, a skintight floral print tank dress, tight jeans with crop tops. Thank goodness there were no bloggers to call me slutty or question my integrity. (If the church ladies did, they kept it among themselves.)

 

This particular writer also assumed girls were dressing “skimpy” just to look good “for a boy”? So what if they do? Sometimes I want to look good “for a boy,” even as a 44-year-old single mom. I’m sure that writer wants to look good for her husband sometimes.

Then there are times I want to look good so other women, like this particular writer, won’t

siblinghhs

Those were extremely tight white jeans. And my annoyed little brother.

judge me for being “too sloppy, too frumpy, too fat, too matronly,” or looking like I’ve “just given up on life.” Sometimes I dress sexier than usual so I can take a selfie to remind me that I’m still attractive. And that I’m not dead inside.

All of this is okay. I don’t need your permission to dress in a way that I think might attract a nice man I might cross paths with on a given day. Or for the women in my circle or those who judge me based on what I’m wearing. Or for myself. My daughter doesn’t need your permission or your judgment either.

We want more men to respect our brains, our jobs, our sports, our parenting, our skill at walking in high heels, our chainsaw-wielding, our driving, our writing, our lawn-mowing, our emotions, our child-birthing, our independence, our political opinions, and yes, even our looks. Yet we women continue to tear each other down over clothes we deem not “classy” enough.

What is “classy” anyway? Is it classy to insinuate that a whole generation in a spaghetti-strap sundresses are sluts? Should we assume if you cover up with a scarf that you’re a cold fish? That you’re ashamed of your body? Of course not. Why do we think anything at all about how another woman is dressed? And if we do think an unkind thought, why would we voice it?

People are always posting platitudes about being kind and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. It’s time we older women took our own advice and started being kinder to our younger counterparts. We can learn a lot from each other if we just stop judging.

 

 

 

 

 

100 Things You Might Not Know About Me

Updated April 29, 2016

Updated Nov. 15, 2007

Written June 2005

1. I’m a writer in a copy editor’s secretary’s job.
2. I have a widow’s peak.
3. I never thought I’d get married.
4. I did.
5. We celebrated 10 years June 17. (12 years in 2007) (He left after our 15th anniversary.)
6. I have a wonderful 3-year-old daughter(She’s now 6!) She’s 14!!
7. I married a smart jock. And divorced him.
8. I have had several nicknames–Amazon, Manute, Long Tall Sally, Bush …
9. I’m 5’9.
10. I have scarred knees–sports, car wreck.
11. I like my freckles.
12. I majored in Journalism. Univ. of North Alabama
13. I was voted Best School Spirit as senior in high school.
14. I introduced myself to my ex-husband.
15. I like it hot.
16. The weather, that is.
17. Fave meal: pinto beans, cornbread, fried taters, sweet tea.
18. I’m proud to be from the South.
19. I’m not proud of its past.
20. I thought I’d be a semi-famous writer living in NYC.
21. Well, at least I visited. Saw “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway, a streaker on the sidewalk.
22. My hometown has fewer than 2000 people.
23. Richard Marx was my first concert.
24. Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers was most recent. Update: Daughtry and Velcro Pygmies were my last. New Kids on the Block and One Direction were my last.
25. I wish I’d sneaked out to go to a Bon Jovi concert when I was 15.
26. I finally got to see them 15 years later.
27. I’ve won a few journalism awards.
28. I love ’80s music. And early ’90s.
29. And oldies.
30. And Harry Connick Jr.And classic country.
31. And some of today’s artists … Gavin DeGraw, Daughtry, The Killers.I’m mostly into older stuff now.
32. I wish I’d kept writing. (I’m writing again … and getting paid to do it.) I’m writing a piece of fiction inspired by college.
33. I’m a Body for Lifer. BFL I have a body.
34. I wish I could sing.
35. Or play guitar.
36. I love to dance.
37. And sing in my car.
38. Fave movies: “Grease,” “Dirty Dancing,” “The Outsiders.”
39. Disney movies: “Mulan,” “Pocahontas.”
40. I wanted to be a rock star…See # 34.
41. I have 2 crooked toes.
42. I win at Pictionary and Trival Pursuit.
43. I suck at Scrabble.
44. I love Bon Jovi.
45. And Elvis.
46. Fave books: “Traveling Mercies” (Anne Lamott), “I Don’t Know How She Does It” (Allison Pearson), “If You Want to Write (Brenda Ueland)
47. First book I read for pleasure: “Chad and the Elephant Engine” (gift from 2nd-grade teacher)
48. Longest book: “Gone with the Wind,” 1024 pages, Christmas break in sophomore year of high school
49. Most recent books: “Same Sweet Girls,” “gods in Alabama.” Faster Than Kudzu “2nd Chance” by James Patterson, “Writer Mama” by Christina Katz, “The Department of the Lost and Found” by Allison Winn Scotch. “Running A Love Story” by Jen A. Miller; “1776” by McCullough; “London” by Edward Rutherford. Currently reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert.
50. First car: 1987 Honda Accord stick shift. I miss this car!
51. First car I ever drove: orange 1964 Ford Falcon
52. Car wrecks: 2; Me Driving: 1; My fault: 0
53. I like to take pictures.photographs.
54. I was MVP of my high school volleyball team.
55. And valedictorian of the Class of 1990.
56. I regret not taking that scholarship to UA.
57. But I enjoyed playing softball in junior college. And meeting all the people I met.
58. Because it was 2 years’ of free education.
59. Brett Favre is my favorite athlete. My brother is my favorite athlete.
60. I’ve read the whole Bible.
61. I’ve never broken a bone–knock on wood.
62. I loved Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves when I was growing up.
63. I wish we lived at the beach.
64. My daughter is deaf.
65. But she can hear with her cochlear implants. She got her second in April 2007.
66. We go to auditory-verbal therapy once a week once a year.
67. We do at-home therapy every day.
68. Hearing her say “Mommy” and “Papa” and “love you” for the first time was overwhelming.
69. New words are coming every day. Much bigger, more mature words.
70. She’s fearless.
71. I love flip-flops.
72. I hate sticker grass…ouch!
73. I tried out for cheerleader in high school.
74. Didn’t make it.
75. Thank God!
76. My first beer was in college: Natural Light
77. My most recent was three weeks ago … Corona. (Still most recent.) a Michelob Ultra and an Angry Orchard last month. But I had a glass of Moscato last week.
78. I had a hangover after just two beers.
79. My daughter loves Dora. “Hamilton” the musical.
80. I like “Backyardigans.” “Turn.”
81. Ex likes “Recess.”
82. Worst movie: “Rocky V.”
83. I’m contemplating a tattoo. Still contemplating.
84. So is my mom. She got one this year.
85. My ex and my brother have two.
86. My dad got his while in the Army.
87. My mom is the kindest person I know.
88. And one of my best friends.
89. Juco English Comp teacher gave me confidence in my writing.
90. I’ve misplaced it, though. (Now, I’ve found it again.) And it’s growing.
91. Farthest North I’ve ever been: NYC
92. Farthest South: Captiva Island, Florida
93. Farthest East: NYC
94. Farthest West: Hutchinson, Kansas
95. I have shot a gun. Once. Scary.
96. I’m big on family gatherings.
97. I love Jack’s hamburgers & fries, chocolate ice cream, Hershey Special Dark bars, Milky Ways.
98. I’m just a small-town girl.
99. I like who I am now, but …
100. It’s never too late to be what I might have been.

The Adventures of Sound Check Mama & Bionic Girl

  • Riley and I are goinIMG_0950g to Disney World in 21 days! As a UDA All-American dancer she’ll be performing in the Thanksgiving Day Parade at Magic Kingdom. She is beyond excited. I’m wondering what clothes will be comfortable, how I’ll pay for food and whether it’ll all just come back up on the Rock ’n’ Rollercoaster.
  • I’m the mother of a 14-year-old. A 14-year-old! A 14-YEAR-OLD! 
  • “Confident” by Demi Lovato is on repeat repeat repeat. “It’s time for me to take it, I’m the boss right now.”
  • I just caught my reflection dancing in the TV, which isn’t on. Heck, we don’t even have cable.N6
  • My parents are incomparable, incredible, and we wouldn’t make it without them. My former husband’s dad and stepmom are super awesome, too.
  • After Christmas I’m going to start saving to replace Riley’s out-of-warranty, four-year-old cochlear implant processors. The newest model, released nearly two years ago, is Bluetooth compatible, which means her music, her phone, her computer, even the TV sound can be sent straight to her processors without her being wired up. Check out this video for a simulation. And this is an older but still interesting article about the N6 and more.
  • Through my work, I’m meeting more families of children with hearing loss and IMG_1869several who are going through the cochlear implant process. I want to share Riley’s story and show them that, though the journey is hard and frustrating and stressful, it’s worth it. I hope the two of us make a difference somehow.
  • I want those families and others around the world to be able to come here and read about Riley and me and our adventures and find inspiration, comfort, peace, honesty, ideas to make the “CI Life” easier, and a little humor.
  • Mostly, I want my daughter to know that whatever happens, I am here.

To do list

Home

Rearrange the living room so we have room to relax, walk and dance, and so we can decorate for the holidays, starting with Halloween.IMG_1263

Rearrange and declutter the bedroom because OMG there is nowhere else to put all this stuff! We’ve moved from an 1800-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath house to an 808-square-foot, 1-bedroom, 1-bath apartment. A 43-year-old and a 13-year-old sharing a one-bedroom apartment means continuous purging.

Find a solution to get rid of ants, once and for all. Every year the little pests show up in my truck, on the kitchen counter and in the bathroom. How do I get rid of them? Prevent them?

Health

Get in good enough shape to spend 2 days in a vehicle and 4 days walking around Disney World the week of Thanksgiving with two other moms and three teen girls without being IMG_8275ready to collapse at 8 p.m. Riley is an All-American and will be dancing in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Throw the weights around again. I’m stuck in a go-to-work-come-home-worn-out-eat-dinner-and-sit-on-the-couch rut. I want to be healthy and strong. Inertia is the worst.

Work my way back up to running.

Get more sleep. Staying up until 11 p.m. and getting up at 6 a.m. is not working for me.

Eat better–fewer chips, more vegetables. Cut the Mountain Dew. Add back the water. Cook more, eat out less.

Hustle

Figure out how to bring in more money. I can write. I can edit. I can design brochures, newsletters, fliers, resumes. I can edit essays. I can build a simple webpage.IMG_0043

Get back to writing–my writing. Not freelance disease-of-the-week pieces. $150 for 2000 words, 10-12 hours of research, interviews, writing and editing, and a side of depression wasn’t worth it.

Work on a way to use what I do and what I’ve learned in my day job to boost my earning power there and on the side.

Good things

Updating the November column from my 2012 series Adventures in Single Parenting.

MusicAt times it’s been hard to be thankful over the past few years. That’s selfish and whiny, I know, but it’s also the truth. While I’m always grateful for the big things like family and friends, a job and shelter, there are a few little things that have brought me happiness and helped make big life changes easier.

Music. Whether I want to scream or cry, laugh or dance, music is the way to get my emotions out when I can’t speak the words. For getting my girl power on, it’s “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce. When I just want to sit and cry, I play “Happy Ending” by Mika. And when I want to dance and laugh and feel good, I crank up “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift. Studies show that music affects mood, and it’s true. Listen to “My Ding-a-Ling” by Chuck Berry – I dare you not to laugh.IMG_0726

Books and movies and TV. Alone on Christmas Eve 2011 while my daughter was with her dad, I watched “Midnight in Paris” and dreamed of living in the days of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, sharing a glass of wine, wandering the City of Lights, and writing a book that would be loved by millions. Recently, I’ve resurrected my love of wrestling – yes, that “fake sport.” While the outcomes are predetermined, after having sat second row at a live show, I can say that the performances are in no way fake. Watching on TV is great way to escape reality for a couple of hours: I pretend Dean Ambrose is taking out MY frustrations on his opponents.

IMG_8364Red lipstick. I love red lipstick. Wearing it makes me feel pretty, even if I’m wearing a baseball cap, jeans, an old T-shirt, and my Buddy Holly glasses. I couldn’t tell you how many I have … glosses, mattes, balms, pencils, stains, even a compact. Two in my backpack, one in my purse, one in my truck, several in my makeup toolbox. Crimson Joy to match my Alabama sweatshirts, Dynamite to go with my Braves T-shirt, Chunky Cherry to complement a winter coat. I’m constantly searching for the perfect red. Until I find it, I’m happy to experiment with Romantic, Alarm, and Red Diva.

My 2003 Ford Explorer. There are crayon stains on the ceiling above the back seat where a certain toddler played Picasso on 2-hour trips to speech therapy. The CD is home to a gremlin that will no longer allow CDs to enter, the cruise control no longer works, and I find a small bit of oil in my parking spot every day, but my Explorer still gets me where I want to go. Whether it’s to visit my brother and his family in South Carolina, to a boyband concert in Nashville, to hang out with my parents in my hometown, or pick up my girl from school and head to a movie, the old Explorer helps me change the scenery whenever I need it.

What’s that old saying? God is in the details. It’s true, and I’m grateful for the small things that make my life more fun, more interesting, and more satisfying. What little things keep you going?

JBJ is always there

You say you’ve cried a thousand riversJBJ2008
And now you’re swimming for the shore

I was thinking about this video on the way to work this morning as I sang along to I’ll Be There For You. I taped it from MTV and watched it over and over and over … when it comes to Bon Jovi videos, this one is tops for me. Probably because Jon looks so fine in the brown leather pants, the shirt unbuttoned to his navel, and that hair, oh, that glorious hair, and because I wanted someone to feel that way about me:

I’ll be the water when you get thirsty, baby
When you get drunk I’ll be the wine

Those are some of my favorite song lyrics. Even as a teetotaling 17-year-old, I loved the imagery. Someone loving you so much that he gets a high just from being with you? Back then I understood “getting drunk” as acting silly, giddy, and having fun while nursing a wine cooler. (As an adult, I’d learn more than I’d ever want to know about what it really meant. I’ll expand on that in a later post.) “Getting drunk” was something college kids and grown-ups did, not something high school me did. I just loved the metaphor. And still do.

Twenty-four years later, I could still watch the video on repeat, only now I can see Jon and his leather pants in high-def on my 42-inch flat screen. YouTube through a Blu-Ray player is an awesome invention. <clicks play>

Keep me hanging on

I got some great suggestions from friends regarding last week’s post on the rules of dating in an online world and my conundrum: to ask or not to ask?

* DISCLAIMER: No one knows the guy’s identity. I haven’t even told my closest friends his name. And I don’t plan to. *

I swear, I have the smartest pals. See for yourself:

  • There’s no rule that says you can’t call the guy. Besides, what do you have to lose?
  • CALL the guy!!! There are no rules anymore – everyone is figuring it out as they go. Might he say, ‘no, I’m busy, have a girlfriend,’ whatever, you need to shrug and go on, all the while thinking, ‘your loss, buddy, not mine.’
  • Don’t be weird about it. Don’t be coy. You’re grown-ups. Just say why you called. Be totally honest with yourself, too. Maintain your self-identity.
  • I think rules are a bother and we have to follow our own intuition. The standing rule I’ve found is, “screw it all, and do what you think is right.” If that doesn’t work out, then it wasn’t supposed to work out. No sense in acting like every relationship is the be-all and end-all at this point.

So while waiting for my daughter to finish dance class, I screwed up my courage and decided to give it a shot. However, I chickened out of spoken words, and instead went the written route. And like the post title says, I was left hanging. I got no response, but that itself is an answer, and that’s fine. He has his reasons, whatever they may be, and I respect that. Of course, I had to break it down for my buds, and again, they had me feeling good.

  • You didn’t lose … you needed to know. The main thing is you tried, and you haven’t quit.
  • Don’t get too invested in a single at-bat. It’s embarrassing to strike out, but even the best usually do. Remember: In high school, Elvis was cut from the Glee Club. Know and accept yourself. Others may or may not be right about you.
  • Well, so this one didn’t work out – and let’s face it – he could have been polite and just said he was busy. … Don’t let it stop you from trying again!!

So, while I’ll likely be a smidge embarrassed whenever I see him again, I’m glad I took a chance, swallowed my nerves, and went for it. How will I know if I never try? Sitting in front of this screen, at this keyboard, typing ain’t gonna get me kissed again. That’s going to take getting out there, being open to possibilities, and giving myself permission to let go, even if it’s just a little.

After thanking one of my Twitter pals for listening, he offered one final piece of advice:

Go get ’em, tiger! (But not Tiger, as in Tiger Woods. i.e., don’t get ALL of them. At once, anyway.)

To which I replied:

Rawr!