Sunday, November 27, 2011

Inspirational Characters

I wanted to highlight a few inspirational women characters that have inspired me over the years, primarily from a creative and leadership standpoint. A shout out to ModernKiddo - a truly awesome blog that highlights kids' vintage clothing, toys, perspective and more.  My list is in no particular order.

Stevie Nicks - She's real of course but her presence anywhere was that of an exquisite character. Since I was small and I saw her grace the vinyl album covers of her solo albums, I was fascinated with her.  She had a presence...something about her commanded your attention. I would later find inspiration in her music, lyrics, and image in my late teens/early 20s. To this day, she is still a huge creative and entrepreneurial inspiration for me.

Charlie's Angels - I first fell in love with this show in high school, watching the reruns on TNT.  The ladies could do anything guys could do - and with grace, attitude, and sexiness.  The perfect blend. My favorite combo was Sabrina, Chris, and Kelly.

Wynona - A simply fascinating actress in the late 80s and early-mid 90s.  It's like her collection of films were especially curated for her.  Always a little but weird but still engaging.  As Lalaina Pierce, she captured my generation's spunk, drive and confusion post college so well.

Scarlett - I first watched GWTW at 12/13 years old.  I was hooked.  Scarlett's determination, perseverance, and fierceness resonated with me for years.  Much later - like, in my late 20s, early 30s - I would watch and realize how exquisitely written her character was. I could still relate to the aforementioned traits but equally important is her silliness, moments of immaturity, and conflicting feelings. It's easy to see - and love/respect - what is on the surface but how many of us have been ready to smack her at times for being so foolish too? Who can't relate to that dichotomy?

Maria - I was a preschooler when Maria entered my life.  I honestly cannot distinguish between Maria and Julie Andrews because in my eyes, they are both strong women/characters.  Another well written character who spews both confidence and vulnerability. My most favorite moments are when she defies Captain VonTrapp - to his face - but always speaks the truth.

Nancy Drew is to this day just awesome.  A bad ass girl detective.  She had her best pals Bess and George as her side kicks and they all brought some level of humor and wit to whatever mystery was needing solving.  Nancy and her gals were always up for a challenge and to this day, I love that about them.

Kristi, Claudia and Dawn -Claudia was my favorite Babysitter's Club character.  Is it any surprise?  She was the artist and fashionista. While I loved Kristy's leadership and Dawn's individualism and independence, I thought it was brilliant that the author had such a defined artistic character.


Just a post-Turkey day thought: Who else has family that as soon as one finishes his/her meal (usually her), stands up and clears plates and immediately begins doing the dishes?  My mom does this and I have mixed feelings about it.  Part of the dinner is the socialization aspect of it and when folks jump up and put the focus on cleaning right away, I'm a little annoyed.  Don't get me wrong -- who isn't grateful for an extra (or 3 extra sets of hands) to help clean up after a party?  But I tell them to sit down and leave them...even for 30 minutes.  Enjoy a cup of coffee and conversation.  The dishes will get done.

This drives me the most crazy when my mom hosts Christmas Eve dinner at her own house, slaves away for weeks prior and then barely gets to enjoy it when it arrives because she's still caught in the stress ball moments.  The best time to finally relax would be following the meal - and enjoying dessert and coffee - but she rarely does this.  Dishes have to be soaked and stacked, fine china cleaned with care, dishwasher load one going before the first pot is on the table.

Damn the dishes.

Friday, November 25, 2011


I had a moment yesterday to get outside and really enjoy the gorgeous crisp fall afternoon.  In between preparing a turkey and aromatic stuffing and tidying up the place for the family, I escaped for about an hour to go for a short two mile run.  Sans my iTunes, it was me and the sound of the pavement and the wind blowing. With all my traveling this fall, I was happy to sneak in a run at a hotel's gym, a walk outside with the dog, or a visit to the gym for a spinning class.  It was like therapy to get outside in my gear and move.  I saw the last of the fall foliage set against a backdrop of a cloudless blue sky. I stared longingly at a tree outside the church and considered for a moment myself at 20, curled up underneath with a text book or a file of photography contact sheets, the Smiths playing from my disc man.

Runs are amazing, whether I have music or not.  My head is cleared and I get perspective.  On Thanksgiving Day, I had a moment to reflect on my blessings -- my family, sweet son, home, friends, colleagues, work, and characteristics the Lord has bestowed on me like fight, determination and perseverance.  And of course the ability to recognize that things happen for a reason and we are all part of His master plan.

It'll get chillier now with December waving his hand at us but I hope I can squeeze in a few more late fall runs before snow falls.

 A recent sunset on a warmer November day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Real and Imaginary

I drove out to State College with my colleague yesterday and I think in a span of 12 hours he went from being my ex-boss to a colleague (at least in my mind) and with it a few realizations and confidence.

When  started my agency, I was nervous but excited.  I went to a few first conferences with excitement, more to show folks "This is where I am now" and those folks were interested, curious, and also excited.  Fast forward 18 months and there have been some ups, downs and plenty of lessons.  Within those 18 months I also have fought some inner demons, particularly related to confidence.  It's easy in the beginning - to ride those coat tales of being a freshman and enjoy the newness.  It's tougher when it's my second or third time around and while the agency is still young, things look and feel different now.  A sophomore year tale I suppose - older and wiser but still young.  These past 6-9 months have been filled with confidence and vulnerability.  Depending where I am on that spectrum, something can be very real or very imagined.

I realized yesterday - when I was able to look beyond my own expectations and needs and "silent contracts" - that the sadness I felt post Baton Rouge was certainly real and justified but that I only looking at one side of very complex shape. I only saw reactive behavior and avoidance and I was not in place to want that nor know why it was the case and I interpreted it as unsupported.  I let it shake my confidence a bit in a super new situation and naturally, let my imagination get the best of me.

Through a host of conversations yesterday I saw that while it was reactive, it was based completely on how everything I am going through is a mirror image of what my colleague went through, following almost the same timeline. 

I saw a week ago through some little gestures that this person while not the most socially graceful was interested and supportive.  The terms of my silent contract had to be struck - it was unfair because silent contracts mean that only I know what I want and need and the other person has no idea and therefore no opportunity to try.  Moreover, my terms were unrealistic since they were based on interpretations.  I saw a little gesture and my conscious thought, he's trying.  I have to re-evaluate and remember that just because someone doesn't do or say what I want doesn't mean they aren't doing everything they are capable of doing...especially people who don't have a ton of social skills to begin with.

So my New Year's resolution is as my colleague Jenny says, not to feed that monster any more.  I'm calling it the sophomore monster - the one that because of where she is on the learning curve, can play both vulnerable and confident cards rather well but it yields both real and imagined (immature, silly, dogmatic) thoughts.

I'm still not certain if I am competition to this person but I'm letting it go.  There are too many relationships going on here to try to sort out in a clear fashion - mentor, competitor, friend.  I'm going to respect the competition line and not going to run to him with every victory or mentor like question in the future and/or assume he wants to offer up info but I'm over thinking he doesn't care.  I'm over calling him my ex-boss.  We are colleagues.  It took me 18 months to be comfortable and confident enough in myself to use that term.