Tag Archives: women

Mending Walls

Welcome mat with walking shoes Cheryl stood in the living room doorway to her neighbor’s kitchen, shocked at what lie before her on the floor. Vexed, she asked, “What are you doing down there, Marty?”

The neighborhood women knew each other but only pretended to when it was convenient to them. Familiarity didn’t make them friends, but she regarded Marty fondly enough. She urged her, “Come on, get up from there.” Tugging on the woman’s arm didn’t goad her into standing. She remained stretched across the dirt-and-tear-streaked linoleum, limp and inconsolable.

Keeping caught up with the needs of her own children tied Cheryl down to her household most of the time, no matter how much she felt like socializing with any of the other mothers down the block. Some of the girls played Barbies together, listened to the Grease soundtrack on continual repeat, and threw dirt clods at the boys on the street. The moms, however, remained acquaintances.

Marty’s daughter crossed the street to ask for Cheryl’s help after her mother hadn’t made breakfast or lunch that day. She realized the need for help but didn’t know what to do other than summon an adult. “Do you mind to talk to my momma, ma’am? She won’t answer me when I ask her what’s wrong,” the girl told her friend’s mother. Worry hung on her face heavier than if the neighbor boys aimed to retaliate for rock-filled lumps of earth flung at them in the past.

Marty, usually a loquacious woman, sat sobbing within a jumble of words. She uttered no discernible sentences, only sniffs and grunts, and a single line of drool ran from her bottom lip to her baby’s fontanel below. The little boy scrambled to escape his mother’s steel grip, none too happy atop her lap, his diaper leaking at its stretched leg opening.

“Will you please tell me what’s going on?” Cheryl prodded.

She stepped forward into the room and crouched down to grip the woman by both arms while her shoulders shook in great heaves as she cried. She couldn’t discern the baby’s weeping from his mother’s. Marty mumbled something about her house, her husband, a migraine, and lunch. The odd stream of consciousness, couched in heart-wrenching sobs, came out as a half-hearted plea for help combined with desperate complaint. The only comment Cheryl could make out about the ‘baby not letting me close my eyes’’ led her to conclude Marty lacked some much-needed sleep.

Years prior she’d suffered her own bout with postpartum depression, memories of which might never leave her mind. Doctors waved it off and offered her no relief other than a suggested night cap. She doubted their advice and competence at the same time.

“You need to go to bed, Marty,” she told her.

“Let me take the baby so you can get up.”

Handing over the sticky, stinky newborn, Marty grappled to her knees and half-crawled to the living room sofa. “That’ll work, too, I guess,” Cheryl said and turned the spindle to close the front window blinds and shut out the light. She jostled the baby on her hip to sooth his whimpering while his mother fell asleep the moment her head hit the yogurt-covered pillow. At least that’s what the dried yellow substance in its woven plaid fiber looked to be. “She must be exhausted,” Cheryl thought, “to choose that scratchy-looking perch.”

When Marty awoke hours later, she looked around a different living room. Baskets of clean and folded laundry sat by the coffee table, and she heard dishwasher running accompanied by the sound of grease popping. A wonderful aroma of toasted bread filled the air. She rubbed at her still slightly-swollen eyelids as she tread cautiously to the kitchen, afraid of what may greet her there. A vision of her 12-year old burning bacon in a skillet flashed through her mind just before she crossed the threshold.

Instead, she reveled in the surprising scene before her. The baby slumbered dreamily in his swing, and her daughter sat at the table with a library book. Cheryl glanced up from her stance in front of the stove. Her eyes widened in greeting, and she offered, “We thought grilled cheese sandwiches sounded good. I hope you don’t mind that I kind of took over in here.” Marty smiled and shook her head. “Gosh, no. How long was I asleep?”

Cheryl only shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. We were having fun.”

“Seems like he’s been sawing logs, too,” Marty laughed and sat down beside her daughter. “I must’ve looked a fright when you came in the front door.” Her eyes finally met those of her neighbor. “How can I thank you, Cheryl?” The other woman only blushed in return. “I haven’t been the best neighbor to you, Marty,” she confessed. “You’ve been under a lot of pressure and could’ve used a friend. I’m just sorry it took me this long to cross the street and offer some help.”

**

Studio 30+ prompt – loquacious Studio30

Image:  http://stockarch.com/images/objects/signs/welcome-mat-walking-shoes-4140 (Title inspired by the poem by “Robert Frost“)

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The Mission

A large group of people assemble in a meeting hall for a long-overdue gathering. Through forces unknown and inexplicable, I am granted the supernatural power of omniscient feminist influence by which to reach closed-minded naysayers and misogynists throughout the world, win them over with magical eloquence, and change their previously mislead ways of thinking.

(greeting via loudspeaker)

The mentoring program will commence in just a few minutes. Today’s plan of action is to overwhelming implant knowledge and understanding of feminism, heretofore considered by some a “dirty word,” to the doubtful and mainly conservative minority. While we’ll be here for two hours, there is much ground to be covered. All negative stereotypes will be overcome, and an all-encompassing compassion for humanist issues will be accomplished here forward.

Our mission:

We will convince otherwise misguided people of the innate equality of females.

Points of discussion:

1) Feminism is about equality and autonomy. Women should be valued as highly for their efforts and abilities and have ultimate control over their own bodies.

2) Female sexuality is okay, just like it is for males. Humans are sexual beings who deserve pleasure without being slut-shamed.

3) Our bodies all differ, and that doesn’t mean one is any better than another.

4) We are individual people, not simply objects meant for men’s pleasure.

5) Women should support other women. Everyone needs a little help now and then, and who better to give it than other sisters, mothers, friends, and colleagues?

6) Equal pay for equal work. It’s that simple.

7) That is all.

A few special guests in attendance are:

Sophie Hasty, the 13-year old Hasting Middle School activist who rebelled against the Evansville, IL administration’s initiating a dress code against girls wearing leggings, as they felt doing so “distracted the boys.”

Olive Bowers, another 13-year old who challenged a surfer magazine for misrepresentation of females only through bikini shots and no sports coverage.

Andie Fox of blue milk, a smart feminist writer/blogger who approaches parenting, gender equality/stereotypes, pop culture, politics, and many other things about which she is very savvy.

Jessica Valenti, an intelligent feminist author, speaker and columnist for The Guardian US and formerly The Nation, who tackles tough issues like abortion and rape culture. She’s pretty damn funny, to boot.

  valenti tweet.JPG

Zooey Deschanel who, even through her sweetheart persona, is trying harder than most young American actresses to counter the common notions of perfection via her media presence and collaborative Hello Giggles website.

also inspiredbycharm.com

via inspiredbycharm.com

Jennifer Lawrence, another American actress, who is a vocal advocate of positive body image. She is invited because I trust the public image of her being a down-to-earth awesome role model. Simply stated, she must be awesome.

sheknows.com

via sheknows.com

 

And the keynote speaker will be:

The irrepressible bell hooks, feminist scholar and author of Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism, Outlaw Culture and Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, among others, who will further elucidate those who need to know, as well as we who already know, about the “white supremist capitalist patriarchy.”

via goodreads

via goodreads

 

Through my cosmically granted and omniscient feminist influence, everyone reached through my superpower of mental telepathy realizes what feminists have known since the beginning of time – all women and men deserve to be treated equally.


*The above-listed Indie Chick Lit scenario and love Studio 30+ writing prompt both instigated this post.   I’d love to know who you think should be on the invitation list. Please comment!

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Katy’s top ten favorite book quotes

Top 10Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because Jen is particularly fond of lists. She loves to share lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
Each week she posts a new Top Ten list that one of her bloggers there will answer. Everyone is welcome to join! All she asks is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists. If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.
My Top Ten Favorite Quotes from Books:
1. “It’s not time to worry yet”
2. “She’s got some sort of notion in her head concerning the eternal rights of women.”
3. “Each one of us is left to choose our own quality of life and take pleasure where we find it with the understanding that, like Mom used to say, sooner or later something’s gonna get you.”
4. “one who awakens gradually out of a dream, a delicious, grotesque, impossible dream, to feel again the realities pressing into her soul”
5. “So many books, so little time.”
6. “So this was the rest of his life. It felt like a party to which he’d been invited, but at an address he couldn’t actually locate. Someone must be having fun at it, this life of his; only, right at the moment, it wasn’t him.”
7. “I went to collect the few personal belongings which…I held to be invaluable: my cat, my resolve to travel, and my solitude.”
― Colette
8. “And he waited. It was only for a few seconds, but it felt like a small forever.”
9. “What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren’t long enough for the reading she wanted to do.”
10. “He could see plainly that she was not herself. That is, he could not see that she was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”
What are some of your favorites?

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Good Books Every Woman Should Read

Thanks to Megan at love, literature art & reason for inspiring this post (from the article at Huff Post).  There are so many young women out there who would have no idea what some of these books are about.

1. I totally agree with the nomination for The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and call it a “cautionary tale.”  My previous review:

Women who believe in the so-called “traditional” roles of females in society need to read this book. Fatalistic, yes, but scary enough to imagine even in modern times. We should appreciate our freedoms in the U.S. It was a very interesting and important read.

2. An outstanding personal story that has stuck with me for years is Warriors Don’t Cry: The Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High by Melba Patillo Beals.  What amazing strength this young woman showed through her involvement in the America’s 1954 school desegregation process.  No matter what age, women young and old can fight for what’s right!

3. If you ever think you are/were downtrodden as an American woman, read Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker.  If women don’t support each other, who will?

4. Another more modern example of “Geez, I don’t have it so bad” is offered through The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  My previous review:

Disturbing but in a watching-a-train-wreck kind of way. You feel for the kids and can’t stand the parents but almost feel like they are loving in a very twisted sort of way. This a very good book, quick and easy to read, although some situations are hard to fathom.  I’m glad it was recommended to me.

5. Another intriguing fictional “what if” scenario is presented through A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.  True, some women in America are subservient to their husbands and made to cater to their every whim.  Unfortunately, some are beaten into submission.  This story of polygamist torture is so unnerving you feel the pain while reading about it.  We should all experience the vicarious agony these women withstand in order to empathize with them and work for a world in which women are treated fairly as human beings with equal rights.  My previous thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Hate to make the comparison, but I liked it even more than The Kite Runner. These characters were drawn so well and are so memorable to me, I rated it as high as my favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird. The tale of what these two women endured is an incredible statement about the injustice still happening to females in the world today.

I honestly hope young women (and mature ones, too, for that matter) don’t settle for stories of love-struck wonder and fantasy.  Those titles serve their escapist purpose I suppose, but let’s hope they also strive for reaching their intellectual and creative best while nurturing their own self-respect and self-reliance along the way.

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