Cherishing the Moments I Work with Women

I facilitated an expressive writing class today.  There were to be ten people attending. Only a few women showed up. It didn’t matter. I love working with women as there is much in their experience that is difficult, if not impossible to get into when men are in the group.

I understand that men have their traumas and their pain, and indeed, we are all human and can share the pain. However, for women struggling to make sense of their pain, shame, and guilt, having a single sex group is helpful.

I enjoy engaging with women. The irony of that statement is grounded in my youthful dislike of women. I didn’t know then what I understand now. That is not to say that I have patience for those females who are superficial, mean-spirited, or airheads. Listen, I never said I wasn’t judgmental.

We learn from the stories other women share with us. Years ago, I wrote a non-fiction book on women and creativity. The stories that were offered to me during those interviews were precious. For the most part, after speaking for a short time, the raw stories of these women tumbled out. I was honored that they shared so openly with me.

I have taught many workshops, most of them to women and every time, the sharing has had a profound impact upon me and others. I cherish those women, their honesty, their courage and their willingness to share.

 

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Working for nothing…*-??!!

I am between jobs, yet again. Or as the saying was in theatre years ago, I am at liberty just now! LOL. The life of a freelancer who would be queen. Whatever that might mean. I do fancy myself more important than I am, or at least the world hasn’t caught up with my brilliance yet. Still it has been a long time since I have agreed to write for nothing. I have worked on being paid for what I do. For some reason people believe that writing is one of those items that are not crucial to the project…

I have met with a friend who is starting a business. The competition in this particular arena is great. She and her partners have tried writing several pages for the soon to be website but can’t figure out what is needed. The call to me comes in. I am at liberty. Why not get involved in this new enterprise? Being unable to clearly explain what it is or what is needed to be written, I asked to meet with all the potential partners– including the techies who are the driving force at the present. That meeting is this Thursday. Upon thinking about this project, I have decided that I must be compensated in some way. I mean, what if the business takes off? What do I get for my efforts without any financial investment? More to be discovered.

In truth, I am an awful business woman. I do work for clients and forget to send an invoice. There are those who intimately know me that refer to such moments as my Gracie Allen moments. For those who are too young to remember, she was an hilariously ditzy character. She was lovable, as well. That’s it. My charm is in my Gracie Allen moments. In the meantime, I need to find work that will pay the electric bill and the internet service I am utilizing.

Maybe I should just forget it and collect my small share of social security early. OOOPPPPSSSS. Did I just give away my age?

The wind in my face

Wow. This is great. I went to a women’s challenge day this past weekend. It was billed as an empowerment day. I was skeptical. I guess all these years of going to awareness workshops , reading, talking, and yes therapy have provided me with a keen sense about myself.

That sense of myself does not relieve me from succumbing to my fears or insecurities it just provides me with an awareness that any particular moment I am acting crazy. 🙂

Any way, the day began with the instructors being introduced. What did I do? I sat there and beat myself up for not having organized such events. Blah, blah, blah.

We moved into the mornings challenges which were based upon team efforts. They were fun and in the end not terribly threatening. Hmmm.

After lunch we began our personal challenges. Climb a rock wall, something called the bridge walk (walking across a cable sooooooooo many feet above the ground, and a trust walk. I didn’t get to do the trust walk, I ran out of time.

I began with the rock wall. Years ago, I had done the rock wall more than once because my kids were doing it. And, because for most of that time I was in shape reaching the top was not a problem. I volunteered to go first. I climbed up the first half then on to a ledge to begin the second half of the climb. I got a bit caught up in the first few foot steps, I am not sure what they are called, but there I was holding on to the wall trying to figure out what to do next. The instructor yelled “don’t stay still too long, just keep moving.” I wanted to but couldn’t figure out where to go next. I placed my foot on this thing that was angled so I could only be there a second and had to move on. Yes, did that. People below cheered. I was shaking now. Moved up again and then lost my hold and flew backward. I caught the wall again but my fear conquered my will to keep going. The instructor yelled “do you want to come down?” “Yes, yes. yes.” I cried out. “OK , put your feet flat on the wall and lower yourself down.’

It was not a very graceful descent but I got to the ground. Cheers and congrats were forth coming. But I was disappointed in myself. No, don’t focus on the accomplishment. Focus on the failure. What failure…. I stayed on at that event and helped with the security rope and cheering others on. Two made it to the top in my group, impressive, most didn’t make it half way, but they all tried.

I next went to the bridge cable walk. I stayed working the ropes at this event for a while getting a sense of it and watching other women conquer their fears. Then I decided to go. Before me were two women who I had moved worked with in the morning. One started to cry as she was getting her security rope attached. The trainer said “do you want to do this?” “yes,” the young woman answered. “GOod. You look at me” the trainer said “before you go up the ladder, then listen to my voice when you are walking on the cable. If you want to come down just let us know.” I was this woman’s ladder spotter. Up she went, tears and all and across the cable.

Next woman began her preparation with fear and saying “I failed at this 20 years ago.” I said “today is a new day. Doesn’t matter what you did 20 years ago!” I am such a big shot sometimes, especially when it doesn’t concern me. Then my turn. I decided once I started climbing up the ladder, up the pole on the stakes there was no turning back.”Don’t look down, just keep going.” I told myself. Up the ladder, “transition one” I yelled, Up the pole, “transition 2” then up on the log to step on to the cable. The wind was very strong. I looked around a bit, not down but I was scared. I needed to keep moving. No looking down. But an occasional “WOOW!” escaped my mouth to let out some anxiety and to let the world know I was all the way up there. Across the cable. No thinking just doing. And I did it.

Releasing my self, “fall backwards hold the rope and we will lower you down” Not as easy as it sounds. Trust, trust trust. That was the crucial issue. Trust myself to do it , trust the women on the ground holding the safety rope that they will not let me crash to the ground. I am here to testify they did their jobs well and so did I. I was soooo high after that. I no longer cared that I did not make it up to the top of the wall. I had climbed the pole and walked across the cable. What a glorious feeling that sense of power. I hope to remember it when my fears tell me otherwise.

Writing:lessons learned

I am the newsletter writer for a women’s business owners organization. Like everything I do, I take the task seriously. I have been writing professionally since the mid eighties. I came to my writing career through the theatre and my graduate studies.

It has been an up hill struggle. A good deal of that struggle has been self imposed. I never knew how to network, never understood what it meant. And so, opportunities for making certain connections were missed. So many years later, I am working hard at making my connections. And I am making progress. But the progress seems slow at times. At least, it does when I am impatient to see things florish. In my weakened moments, I feel jealous when I hear someone speak about the success they have because they have managed their connections better than I have. That jealousy gets me no where.

I write for a few regional magazines as well and the feed back I have been receiving is positive. I have a new book recently published, and today I received an interesting assignment for a new magazine piece. I have begun research on a new project, one that I want to write as a screen play. And so, despite the lack of my bursting on to the writing scene (haa haa), I keep going. I have to.

With that sad note, I will sign off. Hopefully, to awake to a more positive framework. It is easier to write in a more centered place than struggle through the muck of emotional confusion.