you play like a girl.

unless you’ve been living under some sort of internet-proof rock, you’ve watched (or at least heard of) this video, released by always, the lady product brand;

this is obviously part of a well thought out and put together ad campaign, designed to make more women by always products–as is the dove real beauty campaign. however, since i’m not made of stone, it totally got me teary eyed.

then, i was reminded of a comic my parents had up on the fridge while i was growing up.

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it appeared during the 1999 women’s world cup, so my sister and i were thirteen and ten respectively. she was always more interested in sports (soccer, softball, volleyball), while i showed a preference for fashion, dance and pretty things from an early age. example: when i was six my mom and asked me if i liked playing soccer, and i told her i liked the snacks, hanging out with my friends on the team and the fact that our uniforms were pink…clearly not an olympic athlete in the making.

but the message the video and the cartoon highlight is the same–doing anything like a girl is not something anyone should be ashamed of.  i was lucky enough to have parents who recognized that it was a message important enough to have their young daughters see it every single day.

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a few years ago, i stumbled across an article published by the huffington post called “How to Talk to Little Girls,” by Lisa Bloom, an attorney and legal analyst. Bloom writes,

I went to a dinner party at a friend’s home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time.

Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, “Maya, you’re so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!”

What’s wrong with that? It’s our culture’s standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn’t it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.

Hold that thought for just a moment

Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything.

That’s why I force myself to talk to little girls as follows.

“Maya,” I said, crouching down at her level, looking into her eyes, “very nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too,” she said, in that trained, polite, talking-to-adults good girl voice.

“Hey, what are you reading?” I asked, a twinkle in my eyes. I love books. I’m nuts for them. I let that show.

Her eyes got bigger, and the practiced, polite facial expression gave way to genuine excitement over this topic. She paused, though, a little shy of me, a stranger.

“I LOVE books,” I said. “Do you?”

Most kids do.

“YES,” she said. “And I can read them all by myself now!”

“Wow, amazing!” I said. And it is, for a five-year-old. You go on with your bad self, Maya.

“What’s your favorite book?” I asked.

“I’ll go get it! Can I read it to you?”

…one tiny bit of opposition to a culture that sends all the wrong messages to our girls. One tiny nudge towards valuing female brains. One brief moment of intentional role modeling. Will my few minutes with Maya change our multibillion dollar beauty industry, reality shows that demean women, our celebrity-manic culture? No. But I did change Maya’s perspective for at least that evening.

Try this the next time you meet a little girl. She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. Ask her what she’s reading. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. You’re just generating an intelligent conversation that respects her brain. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: pollution, wars, school budgets slashed. What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does.

(excerpted)

 

i immediately emailed the article to my dad, thanking him for always talking to me in an engaged, intelligent way, and for encouraging all of my weird interests when i was a kid.  my family went on an entire Abraham Lincoln themed summer vacation because i was THAT into him as a kid. THAT’S WEIRD. 

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because of the way my parents raised me, i’ve always known that my worth lays in my mind and spirit, not my face or my body.

because of that simple message, i’ve grown into an independent, capable woman who can take responsibility for her actions as well as stand up for herself. i know that the only people who matter in life are the ones who value my whole person, and not to settle for less.

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adulting

so what was i up to for the past month?

the short answer is running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. I think i didn’t (or couldn’t) write because i was having trouble processing the crazy amount of stuff that was happening.

as you may remember, i graduated in may and was quickly (thank god) offered a full time position at the library i was already working for. i was hired as a library technology specialist, which means that i (along with my coworkers) teach basic computer classes for adults run a drop in job help lab. i absolutely love my job. my coworkers are fantastic and the actual work, while challenging, is very fulfilling. it’s a supportive, creative and flexible environment, and i’m so lucky to have this opportunity as a first job. i’ve discovered a passion for the workforce development aspect of my job, and teaching ain’t bad either 🙂

i love that i can leave work most days knowing i actually helped someone in a concrete way. whether by teaching about internet search tools or helping format a resume. i’ve definitely realized that nothing turns a bad day around like helping someone else.

so the next chapter has begun…i’m a fully fledged adult and i need to start acting like one. i have to admit that i’ve always been pretty terrible with money. never having a set income made budgeting difficult and there was never an end game to save. well now that i’m getting started with my career, financial independence and security are two of my biggest priorities. i’m lucky enough to have great benefits (yay for city employees!), but i want to feel like i’m covered for disaster in all aspects of my life, including my bank account. living paycheck to paycheck just isn’t cute.

so here’s the plan.

1. move into my own apartment. for the past two years, i’ve shared the top floor of a duplex with two other librarians who are also some of my best friends, but it’s time we all went our seperate ways. one moved out on her own a few months ago and the other just got offered a job in LA (!!!!!!!!), so august 1st, i’ll be moving into my own little studio. i lived alone after college for one year, and while i loved it, at the time i was working 2 jobs and partying pretty hard so i was pretty much never at home. i’m excited to do living alone grown up style, and actually be able to decorate and have a place of my own. it’s also two blocks down the street from my current place…#creatureofhabit

2. buy a car. i work in one of the worst parts of milwaukee, so taking the bus is not only inconvenient and annoying, it’s really not safe for me. my original plan was to save up and buy something cheap but now i think i’ll be going the loan route so i can be in something before winter hits. i’ll most likely end up with a loan from my credit union because they have really good rates and i’ve been banking there since i was 17, and i’m hoping my parents will be able to make a trip up to help me make the purchase.

3. pay off debts. hi, remember how i was a graduate student? the government paid for that so now i need to start paying them back. i also have some credit card debt as well as some “bank of dad” loans. my family is very supportive and i’m very lucky to have them, so paying them back is important to me. i plan to set up recurring monthly transfers from my bank because mailing a check is like a three day process for me.

4. get a dog. the last 4 guys i’ve dated have had one thing in common…a bulldog. i’m serious. apparently i can smell out guys with bulldogs like no one else. i grew up with cats, and still love them, but am just really obsessed with dogs. i plan to get a french bulldog rescue (my building only allows for dogs up to 40 pounds), although if i had it completely my way, i’d be getting an american bulldog. hopefully i’ll share my life with some felines someday, but after growing up with outdoor cats, i would feel guilty having to keep them in all the time in the city.

5. get more involved with my community. the past three years of my life have consisted of school, work and social lifing, but now the i’m a “professional” (i can’t take word seriously), i want to pursue activities that will help me grow, as well as connect me to my city. rotary club anyone?

 

note: this post has no pictures because i wrote it on my work computer… my laptop charger died and i don’t feel like spending the $$ on a new one

last import.

after the whirlwind which was the past few months, i’ve been able to take a breather over the past few weeks and i finally feel rested and rejuvenated (a weekend without work has helped). so here’s the wrap up on the last few weeks in images.

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on sunday, may 18th, 2014 i graduated with my master’s degree in library and information science.

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on wednesday, may 21st, 2014 i was offered a full time position the same day as my interview and my dad turned 70 years old….i celebrated for both of us.

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on friday,may 23rd, 2014 my friend shanna and i headed home to michigan for my dad’s party and some relaxation. i also got to see my bff hannah before she left for a summer on the east coast.

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on tuesday, may 27th, 2014, i started my big girl job.

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and here are some snaps of stuff thats being going on.

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after i submitted my last paper, i went straight from the coffee shop to the nail salon to get a badly-needed pedicure.

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this guy–who “doesn’t dance”

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gorgeous flowers from my sister for graduation.

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preppy as usual, post interview.

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my dad is weird.

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third day on the new job. we had a potluck. i like them.

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my girl can cook…there was sangria too.

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gorgeous day at the beach with two of my favorites.

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men and their dogs.