Oprah Fixed my Toilet

Damnit, Oprah!

Leave it to Oprah to get me thinking early on a Monday and still have me thinking on Wednesday. Even if you didn’t watch the Golden Globes Sunday night, like me, you woke up Monday morning and got bombarded by her powerhouse speech of women empowerment. Maybe you’re a women. Maybe you’re teaching a little girl what it means to be a woman. Maybe you have a girlfriend, a wife, a mother, a coworker that’s a woman. Maybe you’re all of those things. Either way, there’s no one not affected by this sudden surge of women empowerment. Perhaps it’s because the trail had already been blazed for me, (I did grow up watching Oprah on TV every day after elementary school) or maybe it’s because I’m not trying to be the CEO of a major corporation, or because I’m not a politician, or an actress, but I don’t think being a woman is too bad. I’m not feeling any major social injustice. Of course, I’m 100% on board with things like better maternity leave AND better paternity leave.  Absolutely, there’s a hell of a lot of men out there who look at women as a tool for their own sexual gratification, but there’s also a hell of a lot of men who don’t. Are there gender inequalities and problems? Of course. We can always improve, but let’s not pretend for one minute that it’s an easy task for any man to become the CEO of a major corporation. It takes knowledge, sacrifice, guts, and grit, and belief in yourself.  I think if Oprah has me thinking about anything, she has me thinking about my own belief in myself. I don’t feel like, as a woman, doors are just closing in front of me, but sometimes I feel that subtle, quiet voice inside of me closing the doors all on my own.

Last week, when the weather was insanely cold, my car battery decided it was done with life. There I was all alone…stuck. It’s not like changing a car battery is hard….but I had never done it. No one ever taught me to change a car battery. I think it’s one of those “You’re a woman. You’ll have a man that will help you with things like that.” Sort of things. Except I don’t have a man at my beck and call all the time, and I have places to be!  I felt so frustrated and trapped, but I did nothing about it. I stayed home all day until a man could rescue me later that evening. I’m fully capable of changing a car battery, but I didn’t. I didn’t even try. For 30 years I’ve been groomed and taught to make things clean and pretty but not how to make them actually work.

Jolie is obsessed with baby dolls. She feeds them, cuddles them, puts them to bed, tells them how much she loves them. It’s the sweetest damn thing I’ve ever seen. I think something inside of her loved baby dolls before I ever encouraged it, but I can’t help but praise her for how good of a “mommy” she is… So now, baby dolls are her life. It’s so easy to fall into encouraging gender rolls, and I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with me encouraging her to play with dolls. Being a mom is the most wonderful, rewarding, challenging, and important job there is. If she decides to be a mother one day, I will be so proud of her, I just don’t want to leave out the rest of the picture for her.

Last weekend, her dad took her rock climbing, and I seriously can’t be more grateful. Mommy plays baby dolls with her, but Daddy takes her rock climbing. Mostly she just dove head first onto the floor mats, because she is 3, but what an important lesson in capability. I want her to know she’s capable of hard things. She doesn’t have to sit at home and wait for a man to come rescue her and change her car battery, or make her laws, or run her company. Maybe we just weren’t taught to believe in ourselves.

I’m glad Oprah has me thinking so much…Last night she fixed my toilet. Well I did, but I promise you, it was because of her. I watched a youtube video, took pieces apart, and fixed it, because I knew I could. I knew I should. I’m capable, and I want Jolie to see that women are capable. I have hope in society. We’re making way for women, for minorities, for everyone. We’re only going to get better, I really believe that. I don’t think society will close doors for Jolie, I just want to be sure she doesn’t end up closing the doors herself.

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