Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Celebrating Me ( - or just an ordinary woman)

This week's edition of Woman to Woman, hosted by Morning Glory and Lei, is an attempt to get us to speak about our strengths, as women. To celebrate our own strengths. Not so easy. We are not good at saying nice things about ourselves, and I am no different from the rest of you. It is so much easier to talk about the strengths of other people, who all seem so amazing in comparison to ourselves. I am ordinary. A mum, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher.
How many of you also battle to accept compliments graciously? I have been trying for years to get that one right, and am, at last, now able to simply smile and say thank you, instead of brushing it aside, and mumbling something inane. How did we get so stupid? We are women. We are amazing. We should be proud of who we are and what we do.

My strengths. Um. Yes. I was born a warrior, in a way. I fight battles for other people, and am super cool in times of crisis. I am not so good at fighting for myself though. But, if you need someone to fight for you, I am good at that. I can think very quickly in moments of stress, and my mind seems to process stuff faster than lightning as the adrenalin is pumping. So that is why people come to me in times of crisis, and need help. I am good at that. I can sort things. I am strong and confident. On the outside. Inside? Well, not many people get to see that part. The wobbly bit. I have been heard to say that I am coming back in my next life as weak and feeble, so that everyone will run around fixing my life for me, but I have a suspicion I would not last more than a day or so before I died of boredom.

(This is much harder than even I thought it would be.) Where was I? Strengths. I like people. I mix easily with everyone, and people talk to me. I like people. I like to talk. They seem to like to talk back. I can get an entire queue in the supermarket chatting together in seconds. I have been known to do this, to the mortification of my children. I mean, really.... what would you do if you saw a young man at the checkout with a 2 steaks, a bottle of wine and 2 potatoes? I asked if he was cooking for someone special, and he blushed and said yes, his new girlfriend.... so I said ( as you do) ...you need a salad. Go and get one quickly. Do you think so? he said. Absolutely, said I. So off he trotted, while the lady behind me agreed with me, and the cashier said, maybe he should get some dressing too, so by the time he got back, we had more stuff for him to go and get and we all chatted amongst ourselves. Then he needed chocolates, as the man behind the lady behind..... I digress.

I am a good friend. A great friend. My friends really matter to me, and I never take friendship lightly. Friendship, like any relationship, takes work. It does not just happen. I am an optimist. I have always been able to see the positive side to things, and I am eternally grateful for that, especially after the stuff life has thrown my way recently. I never give up. I believe. I try. I might fail, but tough, at least I tried. Like teaching. Heaven knows this is a "trying" time. I do my best. I don't believe in half measures. So I do tend to throw myself into things with vigour. This is not always wise. I also tend to get swamped.

Most of this is stuff I think you will know about me by now, anyway. (It would be MUCH easier to do this for someone else, MG. ) I am very good at textile art. I love designing beautiful things. I love kids, and I think I have been a good Mum. My children have certainly turned out very well, despite having me for a mother, so I must have done something right!

This is ridiculous. I am just me. I was shy once, but being married to a man who was away for 9 months of the year meant my children and I would either die of boredom alone in my home, or I would have to conquer shyness and get out there and make a life for my kids too, so that is what I did. In a sense, I was a single mother all my married life. It was how things were. It made me strong. Ironically, that same strength can also be intimidating, which is not great. (But it can be useful when I am out in warrior mode though! The inquest could be interesting.)

I am the sort of woman who cares too much, loves too much, tries too hard, attempts too much, doesn't know when to give up, doesn't know when to say no, and always believes the best in other people until I am proved wrong. Does this make for blissful happiness? Not always. But I would rather love and know the pain, than never love at all, try and fail, rather than never know if I could have done something. I AM going to be one of those women who gets to the end of her life, and knows that she has lived with all of her being. Why let fear rob you of life? Why build barricades around your heart? What is the worst thing that could ever happen? Is it likely to happen? And if it does, as it did to me, you know what? You pick yourself up and you plod on one step at a time, one day at a time, one mountain at a time, and one day, you find that you can look up and grin. God put me right here in this place for a purpose, and I am going to find out what it is. One day. I hope. But right now, this is who I am, and this is my strength. I am as good at mopping up tears as I am at shedding them. I feel. I hurt. I dream. But I am not afraid. I am a woman. I believe in life, and love and laughter.

That is it. I am finished. I do not want to do this again. It was like pulling teeth.

21 comments:

Penless Thoughts said...

Great post, Linds. Now I know why I liked you from the very beginning. You are one very special woman and I'm glad to be getting to know you and call you friend. :o)
Susan

Linda said...

I'm taking the chicken's way out with this and reading a few posts before I even attempt this one. I believe that says something about my weaknesses rather than any strengths :)
I am fonder of you than ever Linds. You have strengths I truly wish I had. You have my deep admiration. I'd like you by my side in a crises; I'd love to sit and chat with you; I'd love to tag along as you live one adventure after another. I guess you've figured out I'm a great follower. Ah well...someone has to take orders or we wouldn't have any great leaders.
Great job Linds!!

Morning Glory said...

I like you even more now. That was wonderfully written! I loved feeling the strength and defiance that came through. I really wish I was one of the real-life people in your life in your village. I know we would have a great time.

Thanks for plodding through this and putting all those great attributes out there for us to read.

Dawn said...

I am having a hard time even thinking of what to write. It is a very difficult assignment. Thanks for being brave and being one of the first that we can model after. YOU ARE WOMAN, HEAR YOU ROAR!

PEA said...

You might have felt that writing this was like pulling teeth but you did a wonderful job of it dear Linds! Your whole character could be felt in this post and all I can say is that you are a person I would be proud to have in my life! It made me realize that I'm going on 50 this year and yet still have so much shyness in me, I'm not willing to try many new things and let a lot of people walk all over me...I need to start ROARING and not just MEWL! xoxo

Lei said...

Aw, it wasnt that hard, was it? You did a great job!

"I am the sort of woman who cares too much, loves too much, tries too hard, attempts too much, doesn't know when to give up, doesn't know when to say no, and always believes the best in other people until I am proved wrong." Thee is so much hope in these words! You are obviously a remarkable woman. Thank you for celebrating it with us!

Cmommy said...

May I copy your last paragraph and put it in my quote journal?! Seriously, I love what you shared!

Beth said...

Nicely done!!

An Ordinary Mom said...

You are one amazing and remarkable woman! Thanks for pulling your teeth and sharing your innermost thoughts with us :) !!

Julie said...

Great post! I admire your ability to converse easily with people. This is NOT a skill I currently have, but I would love to have it. Thanks for your perspective.

Code Yellow Mom said...

This post is awesome! It makes me want to fly to England and meet you. (I promise I'm not a scarey stalker:)) - I love how you balanced your strengths with an open admission that sometimes those strengths bring frustration or even pain, but that they are you. This post is a GREAT celebration of you!

Heidi said...

You are truly wonderful and beautiful. Thank you for writing this!!!!!

Montserrat said...

I enjoyed reading this a lot! Your last paragraph was a great summary.

Jungle Mom said...

Thanks for sharing so much with us.

Crystal said...

You are amazing - both in your character and for sharing these thoughts so openly! I want to reach across and give you a hug, my blog friend. Thanks for inspiring me and giving me some things to think about.

Myrna said...

You may not want to do it again--But I'm glad you did it this time. I enjoyed reading it and will be back to learn more about you.

Danielle B. said...

I really enjoyed reading this...and I didn't feel as though I was at the dentist at all (grin). I love the fact that we have the same habit of talking with whomever we meet in grocery lines!!well okay...not just grocery lines...just about anywhere!!!

Hungry Hippo said...

I can empathise with the loving too much, caring too much and attempting too much!

Dawn said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my Woman to Woman and for the kind, encouraging words. It was really fun to read everyone's "take" on this topic.

Friday's almost here!!

retha said...

I live about 1500km north of 'the good old Cape'
prefer to extract teeth, at least the dentist gives anestetics

Lori said...

Wonderful post!!! Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with us.