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Mission Monday: Let’s Hear it for the Girl! | Manolo for the Big Girl

Mission Monday: Let’s Hear it for the Girl!

Women have a reputation –deserved or not– for not liking other women.  Personally, I dig chicks and my life is infinitely better for the various and sundry kick ass women who’ve entered it.

This week’s mission is to find one of the women who has made a positive difference in your life and write her a thank-you letter.  It could be the first woman who showed you that it was possible to say no graciously or your first boss who encouraged instead of sabotaged you. It could be the aunt who stood up to the bully of the family, the female clergyperson who consoled you through a miscarriage or your kid sister who battled cancer. Heck it could just be that girl at work who told you that maybe you needed a lighter foundation to avoid the dreaded scourge of Easter-egg neck.

Whoever it is, say thank you. It’s hard enough being a woman, why not spread a little kindness?

5 Responses to “Mission Monday: Let’s Hear it for the Girl!”

  1. Twistie March 3, 2008 at 4:51 pm #

    There are three women I wish I could write to now. My mother, my grandmother, and my great aunt are all long gone, alas. But between them they taught me more than I realized while they were here.

    My grandmother was a walking, talking exemplar of responsibility and simple faith. She never made a fuss about anything. She never talked about what she was doing. She just did it. If there was something she saw that needed doing and wasn’t being done, she rolled up her sleeves and did it. Then she was quietly on her way. If she needed something, she had every faith that God would provide if it He saw fit. But she kept her eyes open to make sure she didn’t miss the opportunity He would provide.

    I may not share my grandmother’s Christianity, but I do share her belief in the bounty of the universe and the need to seek out that bounty rather than sit back and assume it will magically be handed to me. I’m not as good or as tireless as she was about helping others, but when I lift my head and see it, I try to help others, too.

    From my mother I learned that there’s more to education than degrees. There’s seeking out new information for myself. There’s testing what I’ve been told to see if it holds true. At her knee I learned to appreciate grand opera and Simon and Garfunkle, Shakespeare and a good, three-hanky movie. And yes, Star Trek, too. She helped me develop a very personal sense of style from a young age and to take delight in feeling pretty on my own terms. She taught me to cook, and that feeding people is one of the great joys of life. She also taught me to be passionate about social justice. If I stand up to be counted today, it’s in large part because she helped me find my feet and my voice.

    From my great aunt, I learned that age is just a number and you’re only old when you decide you’re too old to do the things that make you happy. She taught me that half of the fun of a fun thing is allowing yourself to dig deeply into it without worrying if anyone else might think you look silly. She taught me the innate beauty of letting go of worry. She taught me not to question good fortune on the rare ocassions when it does fall blithely into my lap, but just be grateful and happy about it. She helped me develop my love of wordplay, and the delight of self-expression. She and my great uncle also showed me one of the purest, most beautiful examples of married love I’ve ever been privledged to witness. Seeing the way they expressed their joy in one another and the way they supported one another gave me the template for my marriage with Mr. Twistie.

    I can’t write to them, but I can write about these three amazing women who all had a big hand in making me who I am today. And I can say thank you to them. I was lucky beyond the telling to have these wonderful, beautiful women not only in my life, but in my family and in my heart.

    Mom, Granny, Auntie Fan, thank you all for everything.

  2. Ruth March 3, 2008 at 5:37 pm #

    I’ve never heard it called “easter egg neck.”

    And I’ve also never gotten the whole “women hate each other” conventional wisdom. Yeah, there were some mean girls through school but hell, there were mean boys too (I mean to each other) and the friendships I’ve had with women, not to mention my sisters, over the years have been so enriching and supportive, they’ve far outweighed any negatives. Mostly I find if I’m not friends with a woman she just, you know, leaves me alone, like most people do if they’re not actually friends. So I’m with you, here’s to the women in our lives!

  3. gemdiva March 4, 2008 at 10:59 am #

    This is an open letter to my mother, who sadly passed away 10 years ago. Like Twistie, I never realized the important lessons she was teaching me while she was alive. During my teens and early 20s I was the original “Rebel without a clue” and no one could teach me anything because I knew it all. But, she hung in there and somehow her wisdom seeped in. My mother was a big believer in good taste and class. She pointed out the difference between what was fad and what was classic elegance to me from a very early age, an invaluable lesson. She also taught me about being a “lady” and conducting yourself in a way that gained the respect of those around you.

    She taught me to appreciate music. We (my sisters and I) listened to everything from Gilbert and Sullivan to John Philip Sousa to Louis Prima, Dean Martin; and we danced, Lord how we danced! She taught us to be good and generous to others and instilled in us a steady moral compass, without preaching. She taught us to be savy shoppers and how to recognize the difference between buying what was merely “cheap” and a true, quality bargain. She sewed our clothes and was quick to point out what colors and lines were the most flattering. She taught us to be good mothers to our own children by the way she interacted with us. She taught us to stand up for ourselves and for others who couldn’t find their own voice.

    Most importantly, she taught us the value of laughing and having fun. That life is not a tough road paved with tears, but a joyous romp through wonderful experiences and amazing discoveries. She taught us to laugh and that being “silly” was therapeutic, that there is humor in almost any situation if you look hard enough; that the crisis of today is the funny story of tomorrow; that the bumps and ruts in the road only give texture to your life and make it more interesting. She taught me that you could choose to live your life stuck in a depressive rut or you could choose to be happy no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. YOU CAN CHOOSE!

    I don’t think she ever truly realized just how remarkable she was or the effect that she had on all of our lives or how grateful we were that she was our mom and I regret never having told her while she was still around. Hopefully, my sisters and I can pass on her spirit and wisdom to future generations and that,I think, would please her tremendously. So here’s to you, Mom!! You Rock!!

  4. aliki March 4, 2008 at 12:14 pm #

    I would write to the Nanny I had, from birth to age 6, when my mother dismissed her. This was a white bourgeois and racist family in Brazil in the 50s. My Nanny (Baba) was a Big african brazilian girl, with a huge heart underneath her crisp-white uniform that gave me so much Love I still live on – and could never thank her for being such a lovely ersatz Mom!

  5. Bridey March 4, 2008 at 2:51 pm #

    I’d write to a teacher, long dead now, who took no end of trouble with me — and I was a smart, odd, lonely, and very difficult child, and no doubt utterly unrewarding to spend extra time with!

    She was of Irish ancestry herself and my very Irish real name appealed to her, and she took a liking to me and went out of her way again and again to help me out. She even tried to help me with my myriad social difficulties, which was unusual back then, when adults tended to have a much more laissez-faire attitude toward school bullying and harassment than they do now.

    Also, this teacher was a single lady of a certain age, and, as a single lady of a certain age (getting more certain all the time….) myself, I admire her for the grace with which she always handled herself. She was not a retiring spinster, nor was she ever aggressive or (heaven forbid!) vulgar. Just an assertive, gracious, and dignified lady.