Being a woman of confidence (part 2)

Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet (1706-1749), French mathematician and physicist, via Wikimedia

The other day, I asked you to tell me what you’re good at, and you delivered.  Between comments here and on Twitter and Facebook, as well as private emails, I learned that we are amazingly good at all kinds of things.  So what are they?

We’re good at our jobs.

No matter what we do, we do it well!  You told me that you are writers, teachers, artists, doctors, nurses, lawyers, marketing professionals, dancers, accountants, bankers, childcare workers, librarians, pastors, engineers . . . the list goes on.  And you love your work!  You’re professional, and you do your jobs well.  One woman commented on my post that she’s published 3 novels.  Holy cow, what an accomplishment!  I mean, I think publishing just one novel would be pretty amazing.  A few weeks ago, my church celebrated the anniversary of our pastor’s ordination.  I was awed by all of her accomplishments.  Not once did she act like it was “no big deal” (as we’re sometimes taught to do).  She accepted the thanks and accolades with grace.  Way to go, professional women!

We’re good at storytelling.

I have to highlight this one because I’m a writer myself, and I’m biased towards using our words.  One woman commented that her school district has The Hunger Games on the required reading list.  More and more places are adding in great works by women.  It may not be enough yet, but it’s a start.  I just finished reading A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle to my kids, and they’re eager for more.  Another woman–a person of color–commented that her heritage has beauty and goodness too.  I’m excited to begin delving into this richness.  There is no truth to the idea that books by women or featuring women are only for women.  My own son emotionally identifies just as strongly with Meg Murray as he does with Harry Potter.  As it turns out, many of us say we’re pretty handy with words.  Quite a lot of us blog, and some of us have wide audiences.  We know how to write, and we’re not afraid to say it.

We’re good at inter- and intrapersonal skills.

Some of the great things women said they were good at:

  • Organization
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Offering wise words
  • Time management
  • Caretaking
  • Encouragement
  • Prayer and meditation
  • Budgeting

Some of you said you were good at all of those!  One of the women I met in an online group has consistently said that something she’s determined to do is “show up.”  She didn’t say it in response to my plea for “what are you good at,” but I think it’s a good example of one of the ways in which women are sometimes fractured.  We’re spread so thin–especially in our churches–that we are no longer able to just “show up.”  When we can break out of that pattern, it’s amazing what we can do.

We’re good at sex.

I wonder why no one wanted to own this one publicly in the comments?  I got a few private emails from women telling me that they are, in fact, very good at sex–including one who said she’s good at giving head.  (No, they weren’t propositioning; just too shy to share it outright.)  I am dang proud of them for saying it!  We have this idea that men are sex fiends who think even really awful sex is good.  We also get this message that women are so hard to please that men ought to be focused on us in the bedroom.  (I realize I’m speaking in heterosexual terms here; I’m talking about the messages we get from society, which tend to ignore people who aren’t cis-het.)  It’s good to know there are women out there owning their between-the-sheets skills.  Woo hoo!

We’re good at being wives, partners, and mothers.

I’m hesitant to go there, since often we’re told that’s what we should be good at, even if we’re not.  A lot of us, though, seem to feel undervalued when it comes to family.  We may feel appreciated by our spouses and children, but we feel marginalized everywhere else.  Some women feel like their skills at nurturing are ridiculed by women who believe we’ve sold out by staying home.  Some women feel like they may be excellent wives and mothers, but since it’s expected, it doesn’t get any special attention.  Still others find it frustrating to only be seen as wives and mothers.  Yet it’s one of the things you listed as something you’re good at, and that has beauty and worth.

I don’t want this to be the end of the road for “what are we good at.”  Keep this going!  Today, I have two challenges for you.  First, find a woman or a girl and tell her one thing she’s good at.  Second, if you are a woman, think of one thing you do well and tell someone else your truth.  You can say, “You know what?  I am really good at _____!”  See what happens.  If you take my challenge, will you email me or comment here and tell me how it went?

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