Ladies – do YOU build up or belittle other women?

In the past few weeks, I have been a part of a project that is mostly (4/5) female. I have been shocked and disappointed by the women, toward each other and toward me. Only one word applies and it’s a word I detest: bitchy.

Ladies, it is possible to acknowledge the strengths of other ladies, hell, to maybe even learn from them. It doesn’t weaken you OR your strengths. It doesn’t make you look stupid. You know what does make you appear stupid?

When you are a non-native English speaker and you do not accept help from someone with academic degrees and certifications in English. When you have little to no experience in oral presentations and you don’t accept help from someone who has done interviews, performances, and presentations for the past 12 years of her life. That doesn’t make anyone think you are stupid – you demonstrates that stupidity all by yourself.

It also demonstrates you are insecure and that you have a fragile ego. This is something which we have in common, again, as women. Most women have fragile egos, a reality which they either “cop to” or “cover up.” It’s the “cover-up” Queens that are the scary ones. That word I hate? It exclusively applies to the “cover up” Queens.

The “cop to” Chicks, in all walks of life, I respect. They all have one life strategy in common – they are confident with the skill sets they have (and those they lack), and do not feel the need to denigrate, demean, or disparage other women who have lesser OR stronger skills. Why would they? They are confident.

The female lecturers in the MILE (Mira Burri, Arancha Gonzalez, Gabrielle Marceau, Victoria Donaldson, Lee Ann Jackson, and others) have amazed and inspired me.

Though fully within their rights to have tattooed on their foreheads, “I am an international law and economics Bad Ass,” they don’t. They impart knowledge and they ask questions. In fact, they ask, “what do you think about what I just said?” and I think they are genuinely interested in the answer.

I spent 8 hours next to Donaldson during a dispute exercise and she gave me priceless wisdom, support, and encouragement. Burri is exactly the same. Gonzalez, Jackson…they all are. They are strong, vibrant women at the tops of their respective fields. They are “cop to” Chicks, who are committed to supporting and strengthening other women, not being afraid of or intimidated by women who are or want to be strong.

Imagine if all women were “cop to” Chicks. Imagine the effect on Fortune 500 companies, legislative bodies worldwide, homes, religious centers, shops and streets. Everyone’s talking about Bernie and Trump revolutions, what are we doing? There is a fully-qualified, articulate, wonderful woman running for President?? What about that revolution?

Just imagine what we could do.

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This image comes from this gal’s blog and it’s fabulous:

Settling – it’s what’s for dinner

There was this day late in August of 2013.

I was 12 hours out of the hospital with a serious back and neck injury. I had an important appointment with the 80th lawyer. (Who probably asked to see me because she needed extra spending money. For sure, it wasn’t because she had anything concrete to offer in the way of pertinent legal advice.) And, the man I loved made a big offer (PETAL 1):

“I’m going to pick you up and take you to the appointment.”



Twenty minutes after I needed to be picked up (a brace around my back and a medicinal brace around my neck), I heard the sound of a Vespa (PETAL 2). I remember thinking, “no way” and reality bitch-slapping me, “yes, way” when a little blue speed demon came around the corner.

Twenty minutes after having a helmet shoved on my head to “protect me” (PETAL 3), I was sitting in the lawyer’s office talking about her brilliant ideas – I either betray the man I love or publicly humiliate myself (PETAL 4). I knew I would chose the later, but…really? I think I popped a pain pill.

Forty-five minutes after that disaster, I was crying too hard to have the man I loved see me. His SMSs “I need to get to my meeting, are you done yet?” etc. went unanswered until I got myself under control. Bearing in mind: 12 hours out of the hospital, intense physical pain, exhausted, etc.

There was no helpful suggestion from the lawyer. No help from the man I loved. No help from God. No one heard me. I walked out of the door, having sent an SMS “I’m ready now” and saw something on the building in front of me:

  Post Tenebras, Lux.

But, there was no light after that darkness. That darkness was followed by more darkness.

I think it goes to a simple point and that’s in this poem I’m attaching below called “Just a Petal.” We are born with this tiny seed. It’s given to us by “whatever” made us. It’s the pure version of us, you know? The one that doesn’t know how to spell, smell, or identify what a “gun” is.

We forget about this. Time goes on and we pile a lot of stuff on that core (it’s “Kern” in German) part of us.

I think it’s important NOT to forget and I think it’s important to place a finger on that “Kern” and identify it. Remember who you are.

Otherwise, riding a Vespa with a back & neck injury or paying 500CHF to be told nothing by a person who doesn’t care about your future might seem “good enough.” When, those things are actually…just petals.

Just a Petal

Once upon a time feels a long way away.

Did it happen for real, did I actually say?

“Granddaddy, I dream of a day when I’ll settle

for a man carrying, not a rose, just a petal.

 He’ll be ‘not that bad,’ he might ‘like’ me a lot

The petal’s not much, but it’s all that he’s got.

He doesn’t hit me or cheat, not so much anyway.”

Once upon a time? Feels a long way away.

“No,” Granddaddy’d scold, “it’s not right what you say.

There’s much more you deserve, settling’s not the way.

Just hear it from my side, and see what I see.

‘Cause here’s what I see, what your future should be.

 For you, I dream of a man who will be a real man.

Needn’t head for the hills, running fast as he can

if trouble draws near, hanging above like a cloud.

By your side, he will be, and he’ll always be proud-

 he is yours, you are his, there is no end in sight.

There’s someone to hold, if you’re scared late at night.

My dream is better than yours is, I see it so clear.

Where did your dreams all go wrong? How’d you find yourself here?”

True, when did I start to settle…for only a petal?

Who says the minimum’s okay? Fidelity gets a medal?

We might see each other if he manages ‘some time?’

Do I feel butterflies, as I hover over my bottom line?

 Is this my Prince Charming? Someone moving like a fish

quickly in and out of my life, no intention to commit?

“I don’t remember what it feels like,” I say, though he knows,

“to be special enough to deserve the whole rose.”

 “Go back to your dreams, Granddotta – Remember who you are.

You deserve more than a petal –You’re your Granddaddy’s star.”

Laura Anne Ayres, 2014