Wonder Women

I’ve just spent the last hour reading some local bloggers. It’s stuffy in our bedroom, and the kids were sticking to me. Husband was snoring. I couldn’t sleep, turned the coffee pot on at 5AM, and – instead of doing useful things, like knitting my sock, or washing clothes – sat at the computer and clicked away.

The blog world is such a fascinating place. The webbiness of the web is most tangible here. Read a blog, and you’ll no doubt find five (or ten, or twenty) other bloggers with interesting ideas. This is, of course, breeds reading lists about as exponentially as cockroaches reproduce. Pretty soon, your browser is just a mess of open tabs and loading links. I curse Bloglines daily for making it sooooo easy to add new feeds.

Anyway, this all started with a woman I met at S4’s ballet class. I usually don’t talk with other parents when I take my kids to places. We just never seem to click. I’m sure it’s me; I don’t wear the right clothes, my hair’s generally unbrushed, I don’t wear makeup, etc. I must seem very unapproachable to the other suburban, well-groomed, fashionable women in the room. (I’m also very self-conscious about my incorrect clothing, unbrushed hair, and unmade face.) Plus, and I know this is going to come out really, really snobbish, they don’t interest me.  Or is this a defense-mechanism?  Most other women I meet around here don’t do anything interesting. Or, to be more accurate, they don’t think anything interesting. They don’t really think much at all. Not that my brain is teeming with super-fabulouso intellectual thoughts, but it’s at least grinding away. (Note: my interesting thoughts usually involve something along the lines of, “and the title of this blog post would be …..”)

This time, though, it was a little different. This woman was vibrant. She was verbal. She sought out conversation, instead of enduring it. She never once looked at her watch (well, not until I asked her for the time). She made eye contact, listened as much as she talked, and had really cool stuff to talk about, too. Such a breath of fresh air! I could have talked with her for hours. THAT is a rarity in these parts. Best part? She’s got a blog. Her husband has a blog. They’re homeschoolers. They’re progressive and inclusive and open-minded AND energetic. They’re from here.  Any one of those qualities is a rare find around these stifled, backwoodswards, repressive parts. But all of those? In one, sweet, kind, pretty package? Wowza.

Of course, the first thing I did when I got home was to look up her blog. And read it. And then I read her husband’s blog. And then I proceeded to blogroll them, and at least a half-dozen other blogs that they read. It’s vicious, I tell you.

So finally, this morning, with no sleep happening and not much else going on, I started reading one of these other blogs, and it turned out to be a local mom. I’m only calling her that because that’s how I would meet her, if we were ever to meet. I think she also teaches, and probably has several other self-identifiers, but “local mom” is what we have in common. As I read her last fifty five or six posts, it occurred to me that she was bright. She had wit. She had a decent vocabulary. She had some depth to her. She was interesting.

Why don’t I ever seem to meet people like this?

And then it occurred to me, while responding to a friend’s request to go berry picking today, that I actually have met people – women – like this. I think I just haven’t seen the forest for the trees. I think I have a bad habit of focusing on the narrow negatives and not the broader positives of such situations. Yes, there are a lot of dull, shallow, boring, clique-ish, catty, petty, flighty women out there. But there are also a lot of vibrant, interesting, colorful, amazing women out there, too. And I even know some of them.  And some of them even talk to me.

This then got me to thinking about a couple of other women I’ve met very recently. I started attending a knitting group about a year ago, and through it I’ve met some very nice women. It’s a casual group that meets only monthly, but a couple of us have really clicked and are starting to do things together outside of the regular get-togethers. One woman is a librarian, and invited the girls and me to a program last month. We went and had a wonderful time, and I got to see her in her “professional” capacity, which is always fun. There’s also a professor, who is wonderfully animated, and I enjoy talking with her so much that I joked to another friend that I’ve got a girl-crush on this woman. The group organizer is another woman that is really easy to just sit and be with. I hope to spend a little time with her, too.

It occurred to me, after thinking about these women, that there are actually quite a few strong, powerful, enjoyable women in my life. There’s my mom, of course. There’s G, who taught the bellydance class that I attended while pregnant with S4.  She’s since closed her studio, but is still a magnet for fascinating and interesting people, thanks to the regular coffee-get-togethers she organizes.  There’s T, who just went through a divorce and has custody of her two kids and works her butt off to support them all but still manages to paint and be creative and infect everyone around her with her laughter and energy. There’s S, a mirror of myself- staying at home with two children, just trying to be herself and doing the best she can (which, in her case at least, is pretty darn good). There’s my friend who doesn’t get an initial because I’m not sure how she’d want to be identified; she’s the one who is dealing with depression AND the right-wing politics of our community at the same time while still managing to keep a sense of humor about things and throw wicked dinner parties to boot. There’s E, who has a degree in English; she works as a flight attendant and loves it. I think it is so great that she allows herself to enjoy her job and never gets hung up on the fact that she’s probably overqualified for what she does for a living. There’s P, who I met when she started dating a friend; she’s from Canada and risks dangerous border-crossings once a month to be with her lover. In the interim, she knits him socks.

There are other women, fabulous women, in my life. Many are in my family: Aunties A and K, who are legends in their own right; Aunt K, who adopted the most adorable twins a few years ago; my grandma, of course; MIL, who is an avid gardener and practices yoga twice-weekly; MIL’s daughter (my step-sister-in-law?), who is losing her sight and hearing due to a rare, degenerative disease, but still is one of the sweetest, fiestiest, funniest women I know.

Then there are the bloggers, women I’ve never met and probably never will, but whose lives I hawkishly, voyeuristically follow online. Yeah. You know who you are.

I’m glad I thought about it this morning.  This really brightened my day.  Now I’m going to get my two girls, who will hopefully grow up to be amazing women in their own right, and see about doing some berry-picking.

8 thoughts on “Wonder Women

  1. I relate to this post completely.
    I am very social–at ease with meeting new people–but have such a hard time finding people that I genuinely like–(or maybe that genuinely interest me??)

    Does that not sound awful?

    I can easily find flaws in most people that I meet– and It’s a horrible trait to possess.

    They either talk too much,or too little–or are so completely absorbed in the Mommy minutia that it bores me to tears.

    I love to meet interesting people with interesting stories and perspectives–and passions beyond their children–I just have such a hard time finding them–

    Maybe I am overlooking them as well?

  2. It doesn’t sound awful at all.

    Secretly, I’m relieved to hear there’s at least one other person out there who is like me. Now, doesn’t THAT sound awful?!

  3. I’m in Paris for gosh’s sake! PARIS! It’s AWESOME! I got to walk around quaint little streets with shops today! I got to order a sandwich in French and I bought some blackberries at a fruitstand! I read my book at the foot of the Eiffel Tower! Bah, I say, bah to that pesky English degree! 😀

    I think YOU are awesome and one of the most interesting people I know. I love how you really think about things and don’t just spout an opinion based on something that you heard from someone else. You do the research. You do the legwork. You inspire me to think harder and choose my words more carefully so that I’m meaning exactly what I’m saying. YOU are vibrant, interesting, and creative.

  4. I hear you on the overflowing blog reader. I seriously need to do some culling of mine, its ridiculous!
    Anyway, this is a great post! I think its great that you have so many wonder-women to inspire you – both online and IRL. I am sure they all think the same things about you!

  5. I always thought there was something weird about me because I didn’t fit in with soccer moms, and book club ladies. In general, emphasis on in general, I found that all they wanted to do was complain about their husbands and how put upon they are by the world. Soooooo not me, and I would come away feeling drained. However, like you, I have come to realize I have incrediable women in my life. Topping this list are D1 and D2, my two daughters, both now in their early 20s. They are both absolutely fascinating women, and full of life. And a handful other women. Not many, but I have come to realize it’s the quality, not the quantity that counts.

    Blogging has been fantastic, and I totally relate to bouncing off of one person’s blog to the next. I now have 35 blogs that I try to read daily. Mainly women, with some great men thrown in there as well. Albeit virtual, I have found a circle of like-minded people who make me laugh, think, and empathize.

    Welcome to my circle, MotherMe, and I am thrilled to have joined yours.

  6. Thanks for the compliment, SweetP. It’s very sweet- almost as sweet as your Central Park hoodie! (Almost!)

    Urban Panther- thanks for the welcoming thoughts. You are right, it’s quality and not quantity that are important. And I think I was a little hung up on the lack of quantity as far as this subject goes. When I stop to think about the quality, however, there’s quite a bit in my life. And I’m pretty happy about that. Now, if I could just live up to my own expectations, things will be just smarmy! (Good luck on your outdoor kitchen project, by the way.)

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