Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Empowering Women

If I had to pick two words to describe my life mission, those two would be very close to the top of the list. They might not be the very top, but darn close. But see... it was always something I offered to someone else.

Yet, so often lately, I'm on the other side of the metaphorical desk. Actually, it's kind of wonderful in its way -to see how generous people are with their knowledge and kind hearts, and to learn new things.

There's Trixie, who co-owns Gordon Hardware who explained to me how to do some repair work in the bathroom. Her calm certainty that I could safely undertake these tasks, and even hold out some hope for their success, overcame my near-hysteria when it comes to using tools that plug in. (Knitting needles are tools, after all, but seriously, how much damage can I really do with those?)

My brothers and sisters, who have not (where I can hear or see) laughed at me for not knowing the insanely basic things that I don't know about home maintenance. We didn't have a truly sexist upbringing. I'm sure our parents would have taught me these skills if I had shown the remotest interest in them. But I didn't, and no one insisted that I learn them in spite of my indifference. So, I'm learning them from my brothers and sisters rather than our parents. My one brother even told me what I so frequently tell new knitters. "Your first effort won't be perfect. What's going to happen? The police won't come!" True enough.

My fitness buddies who encourage me to get off my backside and get back to working out. They know I love it. They know I want to do interesting things in this area of my life and that there's training to be done before that can happen. They know I'll be disappointed in myself if I don't train. But more than that, they know that I can. They're holding onto the confidence that I can do it again, even though (or because) I can't hold it myself right now.

And all my friends whose generous, loving attitude is "his loss", when I start frothing about how I've been done wrong. I can't quite believe that yet, either. I've so often told social work clients and students and children... "my job is to hold onto the certainty that you are an amazing, talented creation. If you can't quite believe that yourself, just come check with me. I'll remind you." And now, people are doing precisely that for me.

I'm almost to the point where I believe all of you. Just hang on a little while. I'll catch up.


Kimberly said...


You have been teaching me so much about resilience and strength. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this, but by sharing your experiences, I think you are empowering all of us who might ever find ourselves in a position that seems too much to bear.

You really are fantastic!

Coupon Chris said...

I don't post here much since I haven't seen or spoken to you in forever. (I can't for the life of me find your email)

But I wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you and that when I think about the fantastic and amazing women I have known, you are right up there at the top. When I think about the kind of person I want to be, you are part of the inspiration. I read your blog because you make me think and want to care about the people and the world around me.

You have no idea just how amazing and wonderful you truly are. I am certain that you have touched more lives than you know, by just being you. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for and will get through this.

I will track you down, along with my knitting needles. I find I have missed you both tremendously.

Andrea Rusin said...

Chris, you can find me at the store on Saturdays. Or, you can e-mail me anytime at

suze said...

...think about the triathlon with me and Clare, my dear.

Training is good for the soul. And I need a kick in the backside, too, these days.