I wrote this piece following the Democratic National Convention 2016, after watching Hillary Rodham Clinton accept the Democrats’ nomination for President of the United States of America.
“Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at hello. You had me at hello.”
Dorothy, Jerry Maguire (1996)
In 1995, I turned ten years old the same week our then-First Lady of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton stood in Beijing, China and boldly declared, “human rights are women’s rights…. And women’s rights are human rights.”
The Magnificent Seven took gymnastics gold in the Atlanta Olympics when I was in fifth grade.
The Spice Girls showed the world that Girl Power comes in many different colors, styles, and temperaments when I was navigating the early days of middle school.
Gwen Stefani taught me emotion and creativity make for one powerful voice and wrote the soundtrack to most of my adolescence.
Princess Diana embodied the strength of grace and proved there is no greater act than an act of kindness.
Power, equality, vulnerability, grace, and resilience proved key ingredients in the making of my ‘90s girlhood.
The women in my life each played their own role in shaping my feminist identity, and though they were most likely under the impression I was busy incessantly talking, I was always watching and listening.
I read this piece at a Writers of Central Florida or Thereabouts event at Maitland Public Library hosted by Tim Rumsey and Jeff Rembert around the theme of movies on April 4, 2016.
When I was a kid there wasn’t much that could go wrong on a family outing to the movies, therefore movie-going became a frequent activity for my sister, my parents, and me. I don’t even recall what the first movie I ever saw was, but grew up hearing that babysitters and family members putting a movie on to relax me into sleeping always had the opposite effect. I would be alert, awake, and captivated by the stories on screen. Meanwhile my gramas would be dozing, or worse snoring.
My sister would cry and cry and cry when Dumbo was separated from his mother and yet we would beg our parents to rent the VHS over and over. They did so reluctantly and endured our inevitable sob fests.
Once we moved from Upstate New York to Winter Springs, Florida we would often pile in the car and head to the old Litchfield Theatre on 17-92. One day our intended showtime was sold out— this was the early ‘90s pre-Fandago and you had to look up the movie times and descriptions in the newspaper. Missing the showing meant my parents were left with the options of leaving and convincing us into a different, sub-par, activity or staying at the theater for the next show.
I read this piece at Writers of Central Florida or Thereabouts event “Short Attention Span Storytelling Hour” on August 12, 2015 following a trip back to my family’s home of Upstate, NY. This is dedicated to my grandmother, Jeanette Doyle, and all of us who love her so.
I slide into the backseat of my Gram’s teal Toyota Camry. My feet ache from stomping the tile floors of Sangertown Shopping Center, the local mall of the Utica, NY “metro area”– Charlotte Russe, Aeropostale, both a Hot Topic and a Spencer’s Gifts– this mall had all the haunts of a middle schooler’s Friday night out dreams. The only stores of interest for our party were H&M– the cheap and trendy shop for my sister and I to try on a bunch of clothes we did not need, and Macy’s which is basically a place of worship for my 88 year old Grama. She Christmas shops and harasses sales associates there year round.
Despite my inability to do a cartwheel or even a handstand, I am NBC’s demographic for Team USA Women’s Gymnastics. I was born in 1985 and the Magnificent Seven of the Atlanta Olympics took gold at an impressionable age for me. Combine that with a display of flashy hair accessories and undoubtedly no sport holds my attention like women’s Olympic gymnastics.
After viewing day one of the “Fab Five” I find myself turning off the TV not with the usual admiration and inspiration of witnessing others dreams realized, but with outrage.