Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Am A Grown Ass Woman

You know how Oprah had that aha moment when someone said "Who do you think you are?" and she thought about it and told that someone who she indeed thought she was?  She told them with confidence, pride and self-love.

You don't know that story...well it's a good one.  Here is another good one.  Yesterday on the phone my older sister gave me some sage Oprah-like advice.  "As soon as we get off the phone, I want you to look yourself in the mirror and say 'I am a Grown Ass Woman,'" she boldly stated.

My sister and I are very different.  Sure we have similar features and mannerisms, but emotionally, politically we are about as different as they come.  Dana is composed, smart, put-together, calm.  A kind-hearted, critical thinker with a plan.  She is also a worrier, protector and enforcer.  

Legend goes that my quiet reserved older sister was just that on the playground, sweetly sticking by my mother's side.  Until I could walk.  I then would drag my reluctant sister up to the top of the biggest slide.  Knowing my sister she probably went with me to make sure I was ok.

Get it?  I am the reckless, dramatic, emotional one.  A kind-hearted, impulsive thinker mostly coming up with the plan as I go along.  

I said we were different from each other, not unique as far as sister stereotypes.  I am the Lori Petty to her Geena Davis in "A League of Their Own."  Constantly trying to prove myself to my big sister.  I am the Kate Winslet to her Emma Thompson in "Sense and Sensibility." Or the Laura to her Mary on "Little House on the Prairie."

As fate would have it, since our mother is riddled with mental instability and drug addiction, my stable, intelligent big sister, my Geena Davis, is now my mother figure too.  In fact she is the nominated matriarch to both my younger brother and me.  It sort of fits her just perfectly.  She always seemed older, more mature.  Dana was a typical bookworm smartypants growing up.  I tried and tried to get her to put her books down and hang out with me.  She usually relented after tactics such as me singing Janet Jackson's "Pleasure Principle" over and over in my most annoying high-pitched voice.

That sister/mother bond is a powerful, influential thing.  A mentor/friend once told me a story about how she had started smoking as a 20-something adult.  She was a little embarrassed, but this was a long time ago, before the evil stigma cigarettes have now (which I am glad they have it for obvious people-who-smoke-are-slowly-killing-themselves reasons).  She was a casual smoker, out with friends, after work, out to dinner.  But when it was time to go visit her big sister who lived in another state, she suddenly was ashamed, embarrassed, mortified.  She told me she left her pack of cigarettes on the plane and never smoked again.  That story resonates with me.  Surgeon general? Pishaw.  Big sister?  Scared straight.

My big sister Dana wields that kind of power over me.  And even though the whole mother role fits her, I do think the power makes her a bit uncomfortable.  Especially power or influence over a couple of emotional, sensitive loudmouths like my brother and me.  I always want to talk about everything, I mean everything.  I casually talk about, or write about, the past which makes Dana squirm.  I get angry and want to discuss the problem, which is like sticking needles in her eyes.  The more I push to talk, the more she clams up.  That is when the differences don't work so well.

So back to the other day on the phone, I was going on and on, as I usually do, about what this person said and how this person felt. And how sometimes I hate Facebook more than Fox News.  How I felt judged and stressed.  That is when my calm, quiet, non-swearing, conservative sister busted out with the grown ass woman advice.

We both laughed.  And I remembered why my big sister, my Geena Davis, wields so much power and influence...because she loves me.  And I love her.  And we are both grown ass women who make mistakes and own them.  I just talk about them more to her and the rest of the world or anyone that will listen/read.

So now, I am going to go out into the world chanting my sister's advice. I am going to live my life believing that I am a capable, intelligent person who yeah, deserves a little respect. (Starting to sound a little Stuart Smalley here, "I am good enough, smart enough and doggonit, people like me." But you get the idea.)  Armed with a reminder that not everyone will like what I choose to do with my life, and that it's ok because damn it, I am a grown ass woman.  

It is my new mantra- "I am a grown ass woman."  (Yes, a grown ass woman who needs her sister/mother's approval, I am working on that piece.  One step at a time.)

There's no crying in baseball. Montage moment.

God I love this movie, I bow down to Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet.  

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