I Voted Because of Her

100 years ago, Susan B. Anthony died, more than a decade before she could legally have voted. But legalities did not stop this courageous woman from casting her first vote for Ulysses S. Grant in the presidential elections. She was soon arrested. Fourteen years later, in 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified granting women the right to vote.

In 2008 many believed, including myself, that there would never be a more monumental election than that of Barack Obama. Yet here we are just eight years later and once again we find ourselves on the edge of history.

“There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.”                                                                                               ― Susan B. Anthony

Now here we are in 2016 and another presidential election is upon us. As women we often take for granted what Susan B. Anthony and all the brave suffragettes fought so hard to achieve and here we are with a woman candidate who may very well be our next President of the United States.  

Our past is an honorable one of hard work, dedication, perseverance and belief in a better tomorrow. As we cast our votes today and every election in the future let us not forget what it means to our ancestors legacy and future generations of Susan B. Anthony’s and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s, who will continue breaking through that glass ceiling.

 

susan-b-anthony-grave

Advertisements

Pressure to be perfect

9334-pressure-to-be-perfect

What if I fail?

What if I let people down?

What if I can’t keep it all together?

What if…?

Without ever realizing it I have taken these questions to heart throughout my life.

My father died when I was young and I was the only sibling still at home. My mom needed me. She needed me to make sure she took care of herself. She needed me to move heavy items. She needed me to figure out how to hook up the VCR. (Yes I am dating myself here). She needed me to take care of the yard. She needed me.

I married the man of my dreams. Or so I thought. He was kind and gentle, but not the take charge kind of person. I believed we were a perfect fit. I would support him, raise our kids, and work on our fixer upper, which never truly got fixed up. I encouraged him to follow his dreams and we built our life together.  He needed me.

We all have these types of stories in our lives.  Sure there are different relationships, different circumstances but when all that is stripped away, we as women need to feel needed.

Why?

Being needed fulfills a part of us which craves acknowledgement, appreciation, success.  Maybe this is more common in women who are not climbing the corporate ladder. I will have to let you tell me. But the women I see are working outside the home, taking the kids to dance recitals, arranging sleepovers and planning the church fundraiser.

We push ourselves to do it all; mom, wife, taxi service, employee, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, organizer…the list goes on. But why do we do it?

We fear REJECTION,
                 want ATTENTION,
                              crave AFFECTION,
                                          dream of PERFECTION. 

I am taking some online courses to challenge myself and pad my resume which lacks formal education and I find myself challenged by the desire to get perfect scores.

My daughter is getting married in a few short weeks and I am stressing over the details wanting everything to be perfect; for her and the guests.

I have dogs and therefore I have hair on my floors, my couch, everywhere! Everyone who knows me, knows this. Yet I rush to vacuum when I know someone is coming over and try to make my house look like a magazine. 

I really fail here. 

Worst yet is when I do host events I am always apologizing for the way things look or taste, all while people are giving me compliments. Even when I do succeed I have trouble accepting it.

All of this doing for others, keeping up appearances, trying to make everyone else happy; it takes its toll on me emotionally and physically.

Why am I so afraid of not being perfect?

The wandering mind…

The wandering mind of a middle aged woman can be a very scary place. Believe me, I should know. I live in there every single moment of every single day. After fifty years you would think I would have mastered it by now, bent it to my will and molded it to perfection. But inside, the fifty year old brain is still in infancy. Battered by emotions, fueled by undisciplined passion, and lacking in the knowledge one would come to expect by this age.

But how did I get to this age? Wasn’t it just yesterday I was riding my bike with my friends in front of my family’s bungalow? Where did the time go? And why do I feel less qualified to be an adult now than when I turned eighteen?

They say wisdom comes with age but I have discovered that more often than not, the more I know the less I really know. Take for instance technology and science. I can run a computer or research things on my phone but I still have no idea why the light bulb comes on when I flip a switch.

So what have I really learned in all these years? That is a very difficult question to answer. So many thoughts race to my brain but as I ponder and really look at them I realize I only know the surface of so many things but yet a few certain truths stand out.

First and foremost, gravity and greasy foods are vile, evil culprits which should be eradicated from this earth before all hope is lost. They plague the body in a myriad of ways causing once lean, toned bodies to become lumpy, thick mounds of rebellious flesh. This does not even begin to mention what happens to our inner workings through years of silent onslaught.

Secondly, the reality of the world’s view of us is quickly realized with the selfie leaving us to ponder who the person looking back at us is, and why do they have so much grey hair and lines around their faces? The image locked in our mind carries us back in time to a fairy tale land where complexions are smooth and glowing, hair is flowing about us in waves of beauty and our eyes and smiles radiate like sparklers on a dark summer night. Now our image stares back at us in an instant and I see the truth.

When I was young I thought by age fifty I would have conquered the world. I would have an exciting job with many career accomplishments, planning retirement, living in a beautiful spacious home, kids off to college,  traveling…enjoying the good life. Well things didn’t quite go as planned. I am fifty years old. I have a daughter getting married in two months and another one in college along with myself, but as for the rest of it, the reality is quite different from the dream. Life at fifty means divorce, starting my career over after raising kids, home is modest but nice. I went to a weekend getaway last year to Michigan. Does that count as traveling?  And retirement…what is that?

When we are young life seems to stretch out as far as the eye can see on a highway across the open plains. We believe life is a great adventure just beyond the horizon. But all too quickly we realize a lot of the adventure is behind us.

Did we enjoy it?

Did we make it all it could be?  

Is it too late?

 

Skinned Knees & Broken Hearts

The Heartache of Parenting

My daughter called me today crying. I had to tell her I could not come over and hold her and make everything better. All I could do was listen. It felt like I had been kicked in the gut.

As a mother we always want to be able to at least comfort our children when they are hurting if we can’t make things better. But after almost 22 years, my baby girl has now moved across the state and where once I could wrap my arms around her and hold her close to calm her fears, now I only have a cold, lifeless phone to cross the distance and soothe the pain. 

Being a Mother is learning about the strengths you didn’t know you had…and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.

When our children are young life seems so big and dangerous, skinned knees, hot stoves, falling off chairs. But then as they grow older we realize how safe that time was and how we wish so desperately to go back to that simpler place. Oh how often I would kiss the boo boos and say “OK, now it’s all better.” And away they would go to tackle their next adventure. But now when my child hurts, it is often more a pain of the heart and I cannot seem to find a band-aid to fix that.

It is true; a parent feels the pain of their child. I do not know if it is because nothing is really new and we remember how we too had our hearts broken or lost that new job or is it much more? Once you become a parent, whether by birth or adoption or however that child came into your life they become a part of you. Suddenly our needs drop down the ladder. Those new shoes you have been looking at quickly become insignificant when you are looking at new bats for your favorite softball player.

God gives us many blessing but none so sweet and yet so painful as that of being a parent. But for all the pain, the grief, the skinned knees, the calls at 3 am, the broken hearts and banged up fenders I would not change a thing. Except to be able to hold them and wipe the tears away whenever they needed me.

Image: https://goo.gl/images/cyDKDJ

Mother Plus…

What do you want to be when you grow up?

  • A Doctor?
  • A Nurse?
  • An Astronaut?

We all had childhood dreams and ambitions. Did yours come true? I often struggled with this question. My mother, who was widowed at forty-seven, always told me to have a career. Whatever else I did, I need to make sure and have a career to support me. But I didn’t want that. I got good grades was accepted to Loyola University, but never went.

I longed for something else. I wanted a family. I wanted to be a wife and mommy. The problem was there were no ads in the classifieds, no courses at the local college for such a position. So I whittled some years away working at the local mall and hanging out with friends till I met the man I wanted to marry. Some years later we had that family. Two beautiful daughters, the house with the white picket fence (yes, it really had one), dogs, cats, rabbits and a minivan to complete the picture.

I was happy. I had found my calling. I homeschooled the girls into high school, volunteered at church, worked occasionally part-time and spent many blissful hours in my gardens where I sowed vegetables, foxgloves, daisies, and whatever other flower I could get my hands on. Life was good and I was satisfied.

But suddenly something went wrong and now after all these years; I am a fifty year old divorced woman who is now an empty nester. As both girls are launching their own lives who do I take care of now?

Me! That’s who. I absolutely loved my old life and aside from a few rocky years during the divorce I still love it. But now it is time to take care of myself and find out what God has planned for my next chapter. I am and always will be a mother but now I can be a mother plus (always a mother but so much more). The last few years have given me cause for alot of prayer and soul-serching. Now, not only can I say that I am satisfied, but I am eager-eager to see where this leads, eager to experience new adventures, eager to discover the world and myself.

Someone once said you can’t be truly happy in life until you are happy with yourself. I believe that. We all have our quirks and bad habits but we all have gifts too. Life is learning how to take those gifts and make them meaningful. For a while it was raising my daughters. Now it is writing and exploring all about me.  It is time for my plus life. 

As long as you are breathing, you have time to find your gift. What is your gift? What is your plus?

 

Welcome

Hello! I am so glad you dropped by. My name is Trish and I want to welcome you to Thinking Woman Today. This is a site created with you in mind and I want to invite you to visit often as we discuss topics from spirituality, parenting, politics and much more from a woman’s point of view. The world is a complex and wonderful place and as women today we owe it to ourselves our daughters and granddaughters to revel in our awesomeness, challenge our fears and push our limits to become all that we were created to be.