Battle of the Flesh

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Melissa Howden | 14 Comments

As Melissa’s mind and body challenge her conceptions, her father faces the inevitable

There are wars waging. If it is not bad enough that the GOP war on women continues unabated, I am at war with my own body. My body has become a battleground. As a Feminist I am embarrassed to confess this fact. But then again maybe this is the absolute prerogative of a Feminist—to admit to personal war with his/her body. It is after all my own, and currently I am miserable in it.

I heard a talk show host say the other day that there are parts of her body she loathes. My thought at the time was, “Right now I kind of loathe the whole dang thing”. My physical self feels like a fickle lover, a phenomenon I am all too familiar with. She is one thing then another. She is here, then she is there—she is high, she is low. She loves me. Loves me not. Read more

WANTED! Truthtellers. Apply Within.

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Relationships | 19 Comments

When Melissa’s trust is broken, she examines past and present with hope for the future

Here a lie, there a lie everywhere a liar, liar pants on fire.

When someone loved and trusted lies, its hurtful and makes me feel as though I am not worthy of the truth. Trust is so precious, and yet we take so much of the universe on trust. Having my trust violated leaves me feeling lonely and kind of empty. Ironically, it’s also kind of lonely to try and stand strong and sure in my own truth and experience.

In the third grade, my teacher Mrs. Randolph gave the whole class a word problem. Something along the lines of, “If ten monkeys hiked to the peak in search of one banana, but two of them took the bus half way, and had to wait for the bus for 30 minutes, and the bus travelled at 20 miles an hour and the rest of the monkeys high tailed it, who got to the banana first?” Mrs. Randolph instructed us to remain at our desks until we had the answer to the problem. When we thought we knew the answer we were to come up to her desk and whisper it to her. I came up with the answer right away and in front of the whole class Mrs. Randolph called me a cheater — except there was no way I could’ve cheated. In effect Mrs. Randolph was lying but calling me the liar. At eight years old, it was challenging to hold on to what I knew was true even as my teacher was abusing her power. I knew in my heart that I came up with the answer and that was an early lesson in trusting myself. A year later I read in the newspaper that Mrs. Randolph had been arrested for shoplifting, which somehow proved my case. Read more

Nice Girls Finish Last

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Courage, Rants | 13 Comments

Top Chef finalists Stephan, Carla and Hosea

When will women stop being such people pleasers?

Case in point: “Goody Two Shoes” is an expression reserved for females. It conjures up images of a child, a dimpled Shirley Temple-type, in a starched white dress, bobby socks and Mary Janes. “No more Mister Nice Guy,” on the other hand, is reserved for men. Picture a driven, successful executive. Mad Men’s Don Draper comes to mind.

After watching the finale of Top Chef, I was peeved. The three remaining finalists, two men and one woman, were asked to cook a $100k-winning meal. I was enthusiastic about Carla Hall, a 44-year-old woman with her own catering business, a great sense of humor and a big heart; an underdog who eventually found her stride and became a real contender.

Carla has personality as big as her hair. She cooks with love, and is proud to say so, plus she has classic French training and southern roots to boot. But Carla did not win. Why? Because, like so many women, Carla is just too niceRead more

Re-ignited and it Feels so Good

Filed Under All Posts, Connie Stetson, Politics, Rants | 6 Comments

“A man has to be Joe McCarthy to be called ruthless.
All a woman has to do is put you on hold.”
—Marlo Thomas

Hilarious.  I’m laughing so hard I think I’m gonna puke.

A friend recently commented to me that my renewed, reborn feminism was making me seem hard and angry and edgy, that in my speaking passionately—without compromise—I just wasn’t coming across as soft.  This friend is a woman.  She thinks I need to get laid.  Of course I need to get laid.  Who doesn’t?   Read more

Politics: Breakfast of Champions

Filed Under All Posts, Family, Melissa Howden, Politics | 8 Comments

In my Father’s house, politics has always been the breakfast of champions: coffee, oatmeal, two newspapers and commentary. Skipping the oatmeal, my own routine follows what I learned as a child—only I read my papers online.

My father was the youngest Mayor of the small town we lived in for the first six years of my life. From the time I could talk, when I went anywhere with my father I said, “We’re going “politicking,” which usually meant coffee and pie with the local movers and shakers at the Royal Café.

As a four-year-old I learned “the wave” while riding with Santa Claus and my father, the Mayor, in the Christmas parade down the main street of our town. Read more

Regarding Feminism

Filed Under All Posts, Carine Fabius, Politics | 6 Comments

La Sirene Verte, mixed media painting by Edouard Duval-Carrie

If one is to believe what they read in the press, it is now unhip to be a feminist. I don’t know how this happened, but I’m saying it loud, I’m a feminist and I’m proud! I wish it sounded as catchy as, Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud! But, I’m no James Brown. Every movement has its downsides. Although we still earn less then men do, women in corporate boardrooms no longer harken back to a time when alligators roamed the earth freely. We make more money than ever, but we work harder than ever. We wait longer to have children, are a lot more tired when we do have them, and spend a lot less time with them than we’d like. Some opt to keep working while others choose to re-evaluate; but we get to make the choice. Read more

I Don’t Hide My Age, But…

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Courage, Group Posts | 2 Comments

I don’t hide my age, but I don’t flaunt it either. Starting and participating in Fifty is the new is very much an act of bravery. In a way, I’m coming out of the closet. Not that the door was pulled shut, my age just hasn’t been all that important.

When people find out that I’m in my fifties, 51 to be precise, they usually display some degree of shock. “Really? No way!” Then comes the unintentionally impolite guessing game, “I thought you were 35, 38, maybe early forties at most.” I feel guilty taking credit for my perceived youthi-ness. Read more