Bulletproof Babes

We were taught to be independent, strong, self-sufficient, poised and in-charge.  We were told by our mothers, themselves the daughters of bra-burning times, to suck up our fears, manage our emotions, never let the bastards see us cry and never ask for help as long as we can help ourselves.  Lessons were passed on that high-maintenance is for bimbos and dignity and class cannot co-exist with it.  Being demanding is as bad as promiscuity in the estimation of our lady-teachers.  We are to serve with strength and selflessness without thought to our needs and in return we will be respected and loved.  We are a wellspring of power, woman hear us roar, and we can supply the whole world with what it needs.  The ironies that were passed down from grandmothers, aunties, teachers, family friends and mothers abound.

We associate being honest about our needs with images of weak, victimized, or morally bankrupt women.¬† And so, to not be seen as a doormat, a loose woman or a gold digger we put on a persona of needlessness that then results in us becoming more… NEEDY.¬† Think about it.¬† If we deprive ourselves of food telling ourselves that we don’t need it don’t we become more and more… hungry?

But there comes a time when a Bulletproof Babe says “So what¬†if I have needs?¬† Of course¬†I do!¬† I’m human!”¬† We come around to the question of how are we to expect ourselves to provide selflessly for the needs of others when our needs are not met?¬† Even in the airplane instructions before take off we are instructed to put on our own mask first before helping the person next to us, child or no child.

I am learning through my own experience as a woman that low maintenance women, like strong buildings and towers, without support and care suffer in structure, appearance and strength from neglect.  Without support and TLC they crumble, crack under pressure and become inhabited by bitterness.  They lose their value Рhow they value themselves diminishes and is then projected out to what value others see.  Others react to what they see, convincing her further of the lie that started her shrinking view of herself in the first place.

But it starts with her.¬† What does a guy have to offer a girl who refuses to acknowledge she has needs and flaws and vulnerability and needs someone to lean on once in a while?¬† How many times do we Bulletproof Babes find ourselves lonely and disappointed because a friend wasn’t able to read our minds and be there for us because we didn’t know how to tell them how to support us and that we needed support in the first place?¬† How many times have we let a slight pass and pass again and pass again until we blow, totally surprising all around us?¬† Why does it have to fall apart and¬†be blatantly obvious and beyond the point of deniability for us to accept a helping hand?

We don’t have to be bulletproof to be beautiful, rigid to be respected, nor do we have to be low-maintenance in order to capture the attention of someone who could love us.¬† These are the ways we trick ourselves¬†into being someone who attracts human leeches, persons who seek to take without giving, because that is what we put ourselves forward as willing to accept.¬† Think about it… “Oh she doesn’t need this from me.¬† She just wants someone to give and give and give to.¬† She doesn’t expect anything back, bless her little cotton socks.¬† Goody!¬† Free ride!¬† Why would I EVER leave?”¬† Except, of course, we don’t want that type around either, do we?

To the beautiful Bulletproof Babes out there, let us support eachother and drop the act.¬† Being strong doesn’t mean having no needs.¬† You deserve to have your needs met, not ignored.¬† But the first step to making that happen is to not ignore them yourself.

Feminism (Motivationalpostersonline.blogspot.com)

… when you decide it’s time to live

… when you decide it’s time to live.

This is a post by one of my favourite bloggers about one of the most relevant topics in my life today – getting past what others think and getting past the hurts their smallness and inability to understand can place on your soul and REALLY LIVING.¬† There is a don’t-care element to confidence that I battle to maintain.¬† It isn’t the ugly defiance of arrogance but the calm and unthinking indifference or polite inattention to the complexes of others.¬† This poem captures the truth about a few things –

  1. Growth is a personal thing.  You alone determine how much your person grows.
  2. Growth attracts jealousy, resistence, and challenge from unexpected places.
  3. Those unexpected places DO NOT MATTER.  Growth is still priority over them.
  4. There is nothing wrong with cutting loose the anchors that certain friendships place on your growth.

Love it Hank.  Keeping an eye out for more of your poetic inspirations!

COMPLETION

It is popular to pay lip service to New Beginnings.  New jobs, new homes, big moves and big changes have their own hype and energy around them.  They each offer a new and unique opportunity to step away from what has been and create what will become.  New Years Days have always been met with hope and joy and promise for me.

But what about the baggage?

You know what I mean by baggage.  It is the residue of old hurts and old disappointments, the coping mechanisms that they activate in us that then become defensive pieces of armor welded to our personalities.  This baggage-armor is heavy and we are naturally fused to it.  It takes action akin to surgery to remove it.

And so, new beginnings bring new hope and ideas of walking away from the old, but do we really?  How much of the old poison is carried over like extra vacation days?

Introducing the concept of COMPLETION.

This year, before even making my resolutions, I have applied myself to letting go.¬† But it isn’t something I was born knowing how to do.¬† I researched it, discussed it with wise people in my life, and worked through some very practical steps that were recommended to me.¬† My findings were that it is not a short process and it is not worth doing if not done thoroughly.¬† It involves the complete purging of ones’ emotions around the issue, taking the lessons out of the soup, and finding gratefulness to close the chapter.¬† New Years Day 2012 has found me prepared like an athlete¬†working her way through weeks of training¬†for a marathon¬†to let go, complete, and move on.

I have spent the better part of this afternoon and many afternoons leading up to this writing out every emotion and purging myself, driving through this process.¬† I have isolated circumstances and protagonists of 2011 and those carried over from before and vomited page after page after page of written words.¬† Words carrying weight that have sat on my bones and joints and festered in my organs like a cancer.¬† The process began weeks ago and layer after layer has been stripped revealing my clean and healthy essence in place of rough and calloused armor.¬† By no means is this process fully complete.¬† But I am excited to find that¬†there is soooo much space once you defragment your emotions and choose what you’d like to save!¬†

The New Year finds many a home spotless and expectant.  There are festivities and celebrations all over the world.  Desks are cleaned on the last day of work for the year.  Garbage is taken out of the house.  All in preparation for a fresh start.  But what of hearts?  What of minds?

I challenge every one of my readers to face this year with confidence.  Complete your grief processes and the cycles of disappointment as best you can.  Forgive where that is called for.  Chip away at your callouses.  Purge yourself of your baggage.  And offer the space that you have cleaned out to the will of God and new opportunities.  Face the adventure of your future with space.  Space for love, space for joy, space for adventure and space to grow.

Travel light!  Happy New Year!

Promise Season

a little promise in the sky…

Most islanders having grown up in devout Christian communities will have a memory of the Rainbow song.  It went a bit like this:

A Rainbow is a promise in the sky
There’ll never be another flood where all the people die
When Jesus comes to take us home with him on high
A Rainbow is a promise in the sky

The little things we were taught as kids stay with us don’t they?¬† Ever since I was a little kid, every time I see one of these pretty boys I sing it in my head.

Sure, I’ve learned the science behind the rainbow and how light on water works.¬† I understand that¬†in rainy season there will be more of them than in dry season.¬† But somehow the lesson sat there and the sight of them makes me sing and makes me smile and makes me remember.¬† They are like an omen, a reminder.

And they always show up when I need them.  I remember a few years ago I was saying goodbye to someone very dear to me and the day that I hugged him goodbye at the airport I walked out to my car with tears in my eyes and there it was Рa rainbow.  I also remember being very scared about a very big career move I was contemplating another year that I looked up every day for several weeks to see a promise in the sky smiling down at me.
Perhaps I only go into crisis during rainy season?  I should keep this in mind, maybe I can plan for it better.
Today I woke up to a battle.  I have many challenges to face and have many fears to conquer.  There are things that weigh on my mind with the heaviness of a herd of elephants.  I slipped on my flip-flops and hooked up the dogs, armed the system and tucked my phone into my pocket.  It was full light and there was rain water in puddles in the driveway and sweetening the fresh air.  I needed to drink deep and steel myself for the day.  When I turned the corner around my building I looked up to see a little wink of a promise.  It was slow to appear but shone clearly through the power lines.  As I walked to the gate it lengthened and the colours got bolder, lending me a boldness to answer truthfully the questions I would be asked today.  I walked in circles pulling the dogs even when they wanted to stop and do their business staring constantly at the sky.  It grew wide at the base and rooted itself in the bush across the street, spreading out like a long trunk into the sky.  As if God wanted me to really get the point.

No matter what, Bushy, I will be there.

Bolder and wilder with the promises of God

2. The Power of Each Other

¬†She is my friend. She’s my family. My insides. She will be fine because she has to be fine. That’s how important she is to me. ~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

We all sat around the table with one of my girlfriends at the head.  She would instruct us, training our noses and our taste buds.  The spread was gorgeous Рcheeses of all kinds white and yellow, some with blue veins, lush grapes, creamy humus, toasted pita, spanish tortilla, and twenty elegant island women comfortable in linen slacks and summer dresses.  Two wine glasses were at each place Рone for the whites we would taste first and another for the bold reds.

The energy of the room could be seen as a glow throughout the district.  Power pulsing from each woman combined in the vibrant room in flavours of family and friendship, sitting on the house like a heralding star.  There were sisters, cousins, girlfriends, mothers, aunts, grandmothers.  There were matriarchs with manchego and shrimp and adolescents with coca cola in their glasses.  English and spanish would alternate throughout the room with white and red wine.  Stories were shared, wisdom imparted, updates given and scarlet jokes teased out of the most unexpected places.

It was as if these ladies know what I had intended to write about today:  A woman without girlfriends is a lost soul cut adrift without an anchor.

In going through the circles of love formed around a woman there will grow an understanding that she meets the varied needs of many.  What is not visible in this picture, however, are her varied needs and how they are met.  She is a complex, multi-faceted, interesting and unique being.  No one person can meet all her needs.  She has many passions and many contexts, plays many roles in the lives of others.  In her own story there are also many roles, a full cast of interesting people who play a part in her own life.  Of all the people she chooses to populate her stage perhaps the most underestimated cast members are her girlfriends.

No matter who broke your heart, or how long it takes to heal, you’ll never get through it without your friends. ~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

It is a common tragedy – the woman newly divorced finds herself in a place she does not recognize and did not anticipate ever visiting.¬† From the day of her wedding, if not sometime before, she has devoted herself to her husbands’ needs, desires, soothed his ego and raised his children.¬† Her bridesmaids on that day of flowers, lace and vows, would have known standing pretty in pink satin that they were losing her, handing her over.¬† Even with the best of her intentions Saturday morning breakfast dates¬†would give way to his laundry and Thursday night karaoke would be traded in for cooking him dinner.¬† She would play the role blissfully unaware for a time and all would be right in her shrinking world.

And then the day of parting.¬† The feeling of failure, the complete rending of her world into two parts of his and hers, and the stifling silence and isolation that follows.¬† She probably hasn’t seen her bridesmaids in months.¬† They probably followed her lead into their own shrinking worlds of domestic conformity.¬† She is in a desolate place, an isolation that she helped to create.

Should the story end there?¬† Could this have been avoided?¬† Does she always have to start from scratch?¬† The moral – Girlfriends do not lose their importance when a man enters your life.¬† They are just as important.¬† Whose shoulder will you cry on when he fails?¬† And let’s face it, he is human, he will fail.¬† Who will advise her on the ins and outs of men and women?¬† With whom¬†will she share the things that only women understand?

Maybe our girlfriends are our soul mates and guys are just people to have fun with.
~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

I am convinced that fewer marriages would fail if the woman had maintained relationships with her girlfriends.  She would need less from her man, demand less of him, he would feel less pressured by her.  And sure, there is the potential benefit of keeping him on his toes a little with the knowledge that she can make it on her own without him.  Why should a relationship with him be the only one she has?

[CAVEAT РI am only a casual bystander to marriage and able only to jump on a theoretical soapbox in this instance.  A Bushlings opinion only.]

To the woman who finds herself alone, I encourage you to reconnect with the girl you were, with the girls you were a girl with, and perhaps with new women that can share your girlhood with you.  Life is not meant to be lived alone and company and strength is not only found in a man.

To the woman in love, do not forsake the parts of yourself that will always be a mystery to him.  Continue to enjoy the company of your girlfriends.  Share together, shop together, cry together, and celebrate together.  Seek to learn from and understand each other.  They are your support system and you are theirs.  Be the support to them that you would want for your time of need.  You never know when that time might come.

Finally, to the Single Woman, I am sure I do not need to say this.  For many of you this is your only circle, your smallest most intimate ring, and your only support system.  Love your girlfriends and care for them.  They will bring you great joy, comfort and strength in your solitude.  They will be your family if you have none.

 You girls are the loves of her life, a guy is lucky to come in fourth.
~Mr. Big, Sex and the City

 Today celebrate the women in your life and share the power of your love with them.

1. The Power and The Pebble

It is a part of the nature of power to be subtle.  Power need not announce itself.  The sleek beauty of a finned bomb falling from the sky, the unseen buzz of electricity dangerous and wholesome, the still small voice of God to Elijah.  Power is not in the whirlwind and not in the fire.  It is, today, in the tiny pebble dropped into a still pool.

And so she falls, out of the womb and into the stream as a pebble.¬† As smoothe, hard rock cuts the water’s glassy surface rings instantly form, encircling the point of entry.¬† The tiny rings are surrounded by little rings and little rings by bigger rings and bigger rings by large rings.¬† The power of her birth¬†and then her¬†being reverberates until the rings reach the sides of the pool.¬†¬† The closer rings are clearly visible, well defined, despite being small.¬† The large rings fade as they move out until only the eye of science follows them to shore.

It is in these rings encircling the woman that we find the beneficiaries of her love.

The closest circle to the pebble is small.  It is intimate, timeless.  In childhood they are her family, her parents and siblings and ever-present nurturers like God-mothers and aunts.  In adulthood they are still her family but others with no blood connection may have joined along the way.  A husband perhaps.  A best friend.  Members of this circle she loves as she loves herself.

Just outside are the friends that know her best.  Sandbox friends, college friends, girly friends, platonic husbands.  She may add a fiance.  Or a mentor.  This circle changes but infrequently.  One may come, one may go and the tone may change throughout her maturing.  But these are the friends she keeps few secrets from and loves with abandon.

Just outside is a wider circle of friends with a specialty.  No less a friend but in a specific context.  The friend from the gym she shares all things exercise with.  The friend from church she shares with on a spiritual level.  The friend from work.  The friend from the coffee shop.  The friend she goes out dancing with.  In a healthy woman boyfriends start here, fiances move into the second circle, and husbands are family.

Then there is the circle of her acquaintances.  Not people deep in her heart but occasional beneficiaries of her love.

The circles go on forever out to her work, her country, her world, the future.

But they start with the pebble.  The circles are formed around the shape of her love, her care, herself.  The pebble is the first circle.  For her to reach the shore of her stream first she must fall into the stream.  She must fall in love.  With herself.