BITCH – ARCHIVE

Still pulling from my old blog, and this is easily one of my favourites. I loved coaching ball; the kids, the sport and especially my colleague in coaching. Good times! 😀

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

BITCH

I’m a bitch, I’m a lover
I’m a child, I’m a mother
I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I’m your hell, I’m your dream
I’m nothing in between
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way.

~Meredith Brooks “Bitch”

I remember the first time I was put in the same context as the word “Bitch”.

I was 13 years old and my mother was in the middle of a nasty exchange with her sister. A bitter and eventually vengeful person, this woman had some beef and laid out her anger in a letter, including the reference that my mother’s eldest daughter was “a bitch”.

This wounded my mother terribly. I can only imagine how she felt inside as I know how I would react if someone made a derogatory comment about one of my children, never mind my sister.

At the time, I was shocked. I remember thinking I knew what incident she was referring to, but didn’t think that action would qualify me as “a bitch.” It took me a while to process the idea that there were people out there – in this case, a family member, who had a very dark impression of me.

Kinda heavy for 13…. That kinda crap messes a person up for a while.

I can remember referring to this branding throughout my teen years. Kind of an excuse for anything I felt contrary to – because after all, I was “a bitch”.

Over time the brand became a badge of honor. I had a backbone I’m not sure I would have discovered as young and my ability to stand my ground comes from the fact that while you have a right to your opinion, I sure as Hell have a right to mine. Don’t confuse my ability to concede or defer with weakness. I simply don’t care as much about the issue as you do. Because if it matters to me, I will go down for the count. And there are very few people whose opinions truly matter to me any more.

As soon as I realized this, the better I felt about myself. A type of empowerment, if you will. Why worry about other people’s opinions when there are very few whose opinions truly matter?

Which brings me to last week. I’m assistant coaching First Born Son’s ball team AGAIN – long story there I won’t bore you with – and it came time to hold the first practice.

Faced with 13 12-13-year-old boys, I realized there needed to be a strong impression made. The hormones are working. Some of them are as tall as I am and a couple of them easily out-weigh me. This is where you have to go for the weak spot – the brain!

“When I’m talking, no one else is talking,” I started, which beautifully shut two of them up. “When Coach J is talking, no one else is talking. That’s just common courtesy. When I’m here, I’m not FBS’ mother. I’m Coach Sarah to him, just like I am to you. He’s not my kid when we’re here. There are no favorites. You will work hard. Don’t get me wrong, I like to have fun and I’m not a prude – I’m not hung up on swearing or being frustrated when you are practicing. When we are in a game you WILL represent your town to the best of your ability, which means NO swearing, NO trashing the other team AND DEFINITELY NO tearing down your team mates. When I tell you to run, YOU WILL RUN. Softball is a running sport. When I tell you that you will be running an extra lap you, will do it, because gentlemen, I bring my own vehicle for a reason – and that’s to stay here until the lights come on if that’s what it takes. I will wait you out – that’s right, I am a BITCH.

At that point, one kid fell off the picnic table…. All of their mouths dropped open – except for FBS – he knows about my bitchiness.

Three practices later, if someone speaks while I’m speaking, I merely stop talking and look at them. They immediately stop and usually they blush. When I’m running a drill and they are not executing the way they should – I stop – spell it out for them and they immediately adjust their actions. They speak to me with respect, or genuine friendship, since they realize that 90% of the time, I’m very easy to get along with and truly want for them to improve. I despise shouting.

While I would not suggest telling young girls they are bitches as a means to create character, I would have to say what started out as somewhat of a damaging experience has since become something that I would not change even if I could.

I’m a bitch, I’m a tease
I’m a goddess on my knees
When you hurt, when you suffer
I’m your angel under cover
I’ve been numb, I’m revived
Can’t say I’m not alive
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way.

WHAT I DON’T KNOW…AND WHAT I DO

I don’t know what it’s like to be a black man.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a black woman.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a black mother and worry if your son is going to come home safely at the end of the day.

I don’t know what it’s like to fear for my life at a simple traffic stop.

I don’t know what it’s like to feel the need to carry a gun for my protection.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a police officer.

I don’t know what it’s like to put myself in harm’s way to protect someone else.

I don’t know what it’s like to walk into a group of people and know that they hate me because of the color of my skin.

I do know what it’s like to protest.

I do know what it’s like to love my child, my husband, my community.

I do know that if you hold the heart of a white person in one hand and the heart of the black person in the other, no one could tell the difference.

I do know that there is no difference between a black baby and a white baby other than the color of their skin…and neither of them knows that the other is “different”.

I do know that we have a lot of work to do to get this world to a better place. As a white woman, I’m open to doing whatever it takes to let people of all colors feel safe.

I do know that this is possible. It has to be.

 

 

When is More Simply Too Much – Archive

This isn’t the first incarnation of The Bowery Girl, and I’ve been having a blast going through the previous site and reviewing my posts. Here’s one I had to share, and hopefully you find it timely, given that it is Wedding Season…

 

Monday, May 17, 2010

When More is Simply Too Much
Since when is “more” better?

I prefer to err on the side of “less” especially when it comes to public displays of affection, demonstrative actions etc. unless it is something truly funny. Funny needs to be shared.

But lavish, meh, not so much.

So I’m standing in the bridal salon that I shall not name because I’m still mad at them, waiting for the rolly polly seamstress. In the wall of mirrors I’m watching a tiny young woman leafing through wedding dresses. Honestly, she weighs about as much as my thigh. She’s with her mother and while the young woman is very collegiate looking, her mother looks very tired, dishevelled and not nearly as current in her wardrobe as her daughter.

The woman sits in the middle of the room on the bench and watches her daughter fanning through the gowns and I notice she only looking at short, strappy styles. I figure she’s having a small wedding and doesn’t want to overpower her small frame with a large gown. In my head I’m giving this girl a lot of credit – she’s going to spend about half to three-quarters what she would have spent on the larger dress.

I’m annoyed at the mother, who doesn’t seem engaged in this time with her daughter. Instead of revelling the time to being with her to pick her wedding dress, the woman looks and acts like she’s afraid to touch any of the dresses, and that she’s not buying into the idea of the wedding at all. I’m annoyed big time. If I’ve learned anything in my many trips down the aisle, it’s that the wedding is not about anyone other than the bride and groom – egos and attitudes need to be checked at the door.

Then grandma walks in. Wiry white hair cut bluntly that frames her face, makeup stylish appliced and a kick-ass outfit that makes the mother look even more frumpy. Her artisan jewelery plays off beautifully with the chic hand-crafted wrap and dark-wash jeans she’s wearing. She looks impecable and carries herself with an air of sophistication reserved for Katherine Hepburn. As soon as the woman walks in, the young girl starts to squeal, and the mother stops talking entirely.

Grandma fawns over the young girl, pulling out various dresses and suggesting various alterations to make the dress “her own”. My pleasure at seeing the older woman relishing the time with her granddaughter comes to a screeching halt when the younger female corrects the sales associate.

“Oh, this isn’t my wedding dress,” she said. “I already have my wedding gown.”

dead air

“This is for after the service – and pictures – for the reception,” she clarifies. Now I understand why Mom is hanging her head. She can’t afford this. And the daughter – a recent grad, can’t either. So thank goodness Money Bags showed up.

“I LOVE my dress,” she said. “But I just can’t imagine wearing it ALL DAY!” she gushes. “I mean it’s SO big and SO heavy, I would just DIE wearing it ALL DAY – it’s going to be too hot!”

What

the

hell

So you are getting married at the end of June – you’ve picked your dress – DON’T YOU PICK YOUR DRESS BASED ON WHEN YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED? I felt like asking, “What are you wearing, Angora wool? RAYON? PIG IRON??”

Unless this woman is marrying a multi-millionaire, she is about to start her married life under a grave misapprehension. It’s clear she wasn’t raised with a lot of money, but money is around her. She is having a wedding with TWO wedding gowns because, after all, didn’t Jennifer Lopez or Katie Holmes do that? The cost of having a second dress was over $750 – how much did you pay for your initial gown? Likely between $1,200 – $2,500 – and I’ll bet the farm it was closer to the top end amount. So now, you are looking at well over $3,000 AND TAX just for one day.

Because there was no time to order the dress in, the girl was negotiating the cost of alterations and the sales rep was having a dandy time trying to calculate how much it would cost to alter and cut down a sample dress. Grandma never blinked at the cost. She only concurred with her granddaughter – one dress simply would not DO! Mom just sat there like she was watching it all happen to strangers.

I wondered if she had tried to instill a sense of frugality in her daughter all these years, knowing she had limited resources. Had her mother then trumped her and usurped her rights as a mother when she felt she had the overpowering right as a grandmother? Did the daughter see this dynamic and play one off the other? At what point would the grandmother stand down and let this girl see things for what they are? Maybe the girl was embarassed that her mother was not in the same world as her grandmother was, but I daresay, unless her grandmother planned on supporting her for the rest of her life, the young woman’s wake up call was going to greet her the morning after her honeymoon.

It’s a disturbing trend, young people starting out expecting the best of everything. My parents were the most fortunate of all their friends. They had saved enough money to buy a house when they got married. Many of their friends had to rent an apartment for the first couple of years, finally saving a down payment in time for the first baby to arrive.

Homes were furnished with miss-matched furniture and dinnerware, save for the nicer items they received as wedding gifts. You worked hard and gained throughout your marriage. You had goals and dreams and set targets for yourself, including one day, GASP, buying a NEW car.

When did we decide it was ok to start at top? Newlyweds moving into homes that are fully furnished and model-home ready. Neither of their cars are more than 3 years old. A trip up north or to Niagara Falls is not be considered a worthy honeymoon, and if it didn’t include either a cruise or a number of spa treatments (for both of them)it simply wasn’t worth writing home about.

Methinks we need to adjust our expectations. Otherwise, what do you have to look forward to, other than a mountain of debt and a divorce decree?