HEY, GORGEOUS! IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY.
He has pulled up and is shouting at me from his car.
You’re beautiful! Why don’t you let me take you out for dinner sometime! You like sushi?
No, thank you. I’m married.
I am walking to my car. He keeps driving.
Yes, very happily. Thanks.
WANNA BE EVEN HAPPIER? I KNOW I CAN MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN HE DOES!
I keep walking to my car. I put my new shoes in the car. I get in my car. I drive home.
I relayed the story to my husband, as a passing example for him to see the difficulty that it is to be a woman on some days. “Why did you respond to him?” he asks me. It’s an innocent question but it makes me upset inside. I’m upset but I know I cannot fault him for not knowing the why.
Of course he does not know why I have to respond. My husband is a good-hearted man. Good-hearted men don’t know that you often respond because you don’t know what kind of pig this is. You don’t know if it’s the kind who, when ignored, will drive off - or the kind who, when ignored, will drive up next to you and follow you….What’s wrong? In a bad mood today? Too pretty to talk to me? Ugh.
There is great difficulty in being a woman. If you are a woman you know the difficulty that reaches from the trivial of dealing with nasty menstrual cycles to dealing with harassment like this when you are simply trying to buy shoes. Womanhood often feels as though it brings a new challenge each morning. It is hard to deal with the devil over each shoulder, one shouting You’re too much! and the other whispering You’re not enough. Too loud, too friendly, too bright, too animated - not skinny, not pretty, not friendly enough. It is tiring. It is disheartening. It is just plain hard.
A few short days after I was shouted at buying my shoes I was on Instagram following sweet Audrey Roloff’s page. She and her husband have created a blog called “Beating 50 Percent” as a way to help couples continually strengthen their marriages. It is an inspiring project. She wrote a post about the weekly communication she and her husband have built into their marriage….and the mean and hateful comments on it were absolutely appalling. Women took to it, tearing her apart….what do you know - thinking you’re an expert giving people marriage advice...ha, come back to me in 40 years...you are trying way too hard. I could see that some of the most disrespectful and hurtful comments had already been deleted.
Men are shouting at us and we are busy shouting at each other. Why?
When is it that women will recognize that it is so difficult to be a woman and tearing each other apart with hurtful words, disrespect, judgmental looks and pointed gossip does not help anything? Men sometimes treat us with disrespect that goes far beyond shouting from cars - but the disrespect I witness happening between women is often pointed, uncalled for, and disgusting.
Friends, I am constantly trying to figure out when women are going to recognize that we too often make life harder for each other and lay it all down and just love one another.
There are days when I feel frustrated and sad about the endless cycle of the tearing apart and cutting down, but in my moments of greatest exasperation there are things I know I must hold on to. My sister’s recent baby shower will remain one of these things forever.
We threw my sister a pajama party baby shower. Nearly 30 women showed up at our house in their pajamas (side note : us Wilson women throw showers at night because we think they are more fun). We had donuts and drinks and an impromptu dance party. It was so apparent, the reality that there is still a teenage girl living inside every woman who can surface at any moment. It can come right back to us in an instant, the freedom to be cozy and eat Reese's Pieces and enjoy the company of friends and sisters. We surrounded a woman who will bring new life to the world and we showered her with love and laughter and joy and gifts. There were babies in bellies and babies being held and women who hope for children and women who raised children long ago and we all gathered together to rally in sisterhood. There was no judgment, no competition, no tearing down, no gossip...there was only love and celebration and generosity.
Why is it not more like this every day?
At the end of this shower we gathered around a sister who needs prayers - one who has endured more suffering than any young woman ever should. We sat around her and extended hands - and, as happens within the bonds of women when one of us is in need - we cried out to God aloud - we sang over her in harmonies - and in the midst of this heavenly moment there was no age, there was no religion. There was only lifting up. There was only sisterhood. There was only the core of what life is all about.
The difficulty of being a woman will only take away from the magnificence if we let it, if we focus on the challenge more than we remember the joy. I invite you into this today - dig deep in the joy of being a woman - remember it and live in it and relish it with everything you’ve got. And in that moment that may come by when you feel an inclination to cut another woman down, make it a point to lift her up instead, out loud or in your heart. It will be the first small step to changing everything.