Friday, February 5, 2010

On women and anger

Today was another day when a theme just converged. I went to a moms' group in the morning, where the discussion was about dealing with frustration and anger. One thing we talked about was the positive side of anger, the ability for our anger to give us the energy and courage to make a change that needs to happen. Then I came home and read this:

Most of my life I'd run from anger as something that good daughters and gracious ladies did not exhibit. Perhaps the thing most denied to women is anger.


Yet anger needs not only to be recognized and allowed; like...grief, it eventually needs to be transformed into an energy that serves compassion. Maybe one reason I had avoided my anger was that like a lot of people I had thought there were only two responses to anger: to deny it or to strike out thoughtlessly. But other responses are possible. We can allow anger's enormous energy to lead us to acts of resistance...Anger can fuel our ability to challenge, to defy injustice. It can lead to creative projects, constructive behavior, acts that work toward inclusion. In such ways anger becomes a dynamism of love. - Sue Monk Kidd, Dance of the Dissident Daughter

As I am rather defective in my ability to express anger constructively, I worry about passing this defect on to my daughter. Oh how well I remember feeling totally powerless as a child, and particularly as a girl. I recognize the emotions and behaviors in Alex, and I want to give her more than I had. Better resources, better understanding, and better insight. Praying for grace and wisdom.

What TO Wear

Ever have one of those days when a particular theme just keeps popping up?

I've had a couple days like that recently. A few weeks ago, I watched that show What Not To Wear. I have very mixed feelings about that show. I love how the two hosts just blatantly ridicule people for the way they dress. I love seeing even worse clothes in other people's closets than what is in mine. I love knowing there are lots of other people out there who dress the way I do (not very thoughtfully, most of the time). I secretly love the idea of picking up tips and advice about how to dress better, since I am unfortunately very clueless about clothes and looks. But I don't like how much the show focuses on externals, especially in a culture that already ties so much of women's (especially women's) worth to their looks. I also don't know if I could let myself spend $5000 on a new wardrobe when people are hungry and starving and suffering from preventable diseases. I always wonder if they ever invite someone to be on the show who refuses because they don't want to spend that much money on clothes. I've decided that the only way they could get me on the show is if they agreed to give $10,000 to a humanitarian cause in addition to $5000 to me. Ha!

Anyway, immediately after watching the show that morning, I encountered this in my daily lectionary reading:

As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against each other, forgive each other...above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. - Col. 3:12-14

A bizarre fantasy played itself out in my head then, a silly dream about a TV show that dared people to clothe themselves with kindness and humility and compassion. Instead of teaching people to find the perfect dress and the perfect shoes, the hosts would follow people around with video cameras and catch them finding ways to put on gentleness and patience. I pictured the end of the show, where all the friends and family gather to see the transformed person, and they would all be cheering at how this person learned to put on love. If only we got that kind of encouragement from society...what a world this would be.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

40 days til 40 (or 41) 9

Yeah, well, I'm way behind on blogging but it's because I've been having so much fun. :-D Yeah.

Tammy and I are doing our "40 days til 40" celebration again this year. This time she is turning 40, and I am celebrating my last 40 days of being 40. Today, day 9, we had lunch together (without kids!) at the new Corner Bakery Cafe that opened up near my work. Earlier in the week we celebrated by touring the music store and buying some fun new piano duets, playing said duets (and posting silly videos!) , and listening to some new (to us) classical music. I LOVE having a birthday twin. We really are a lot alike.

One new thing we did this year was to pick our "one word." I heard about the idea on the radio - a bunch of people decided that instead of making New Year's resolutions, they were going to carefully select the one word that they wanted to focus on for the year ahead. Tammy picked "unwind" and I chose "connected." In my mind, there is a graphic related to my word that probably only makes sense to me and a few other people, because it comes directly from medical informatics. Basically, in computable terminologies, terms are pretty meaningless ("primitive") in and of themselves - they gain meaning and are "defined" by building a network of relationships to other terms. I thought of this as an analogy for people - the more rich our relationships and associations are with others (as well as with God and our own selves), the more full and meaningful our lives are. I think I've been in the habit of taking my "connections" for granted. I want to be more intentional about strengthening them, and more willing to invest in them.

Coming up: this weekend, more 40 day activities: snowshoes, the Super Bowl, and trying out some new mixed drinks.