“Girl Boss” vs. The Orange Dancing Donut

Through A 7th Grade Lens

By Lola Brown

2018 was considered the “Year of the Woman,” a statement that inspires my mom to say, every time, without fail, “Why isn’t every year the year of the woman?” I can almost cue her up with a three-second countdown—which she thinks is “insolent,” by the way. (Yes, I had to look that up).

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But, in thinking about the theme of this month’s Girl Talk, “Women in Power,” I recalled names like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alicia Garza, Christine Blasey-Ford, Emma Gonzalez, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, Tarana Burke and the “ripple effects of the #MeToo Movement” and realized that, in her attempts to make me aware, I had been listening to my mother sharing information about the power of these women all along.  Surprised at myself, I took a moment to think about that before deciding on what I should write about.  My mother talks a lot. But to be more specific, she talks a lot about power and grace as if the two went together like milk and cookies or Liza Koshy and David Dobrik.  And given the opportunity of a “really good teachable moment,” she’ll turn to my brother and I and say, “blah, blah, blah, big words, big words, big words, there is power in grace…”  That last part always sticks with me because even though I like the way it sounds, and kind of knew what she was trying to say, I wasn’t always sure if I could put what she meant into words— until now.

Every morning, my mother wakes up, rinses just enough sleep out of her eyes so she can see which buttons to push on the espresso machine, and grabs one of her two favorite mugs. I always know what kind of days it’s going to be when I see her enter my room with it. There’s the bright orange one with the white dancing donut, which means she’s in a mood to do something fun and we won’t know what it is until we get there. There’s also the black and white one that says “Girl Boss” printed in gold letter across the front, which means her day is full of writing, meetings and phone calls to set up meetings to talk about writing.  I enjoy seeing the orange dancing donut side of my mother for sure, who wouldn’t? But I also enjoy seeing the “Girl Boss” side, too, for different reasons. Watching my mother work is interesting and fascinating at the same time. She gets things done, means what she says, says what she means, and people respect her. And it’s not just because she’s really good at what she does, but she does it in a way that makes you want to do it just like her, or at least I do. I think that’s the “grace” part of it. When she talked about work I use to hear her say, with a little bit of pride, “I’m the only girl in the room.” I went to work with her one day and understood what she meant as she lead me into a big room with about ten guys seated at a long table who sat at attention when she walked in.  She introduced me before taking the only seat at the head of that table. That day was one of many that made me realize I wanted to be just like her— but dressed a little cooler, of course. And when I put it all together now, her words make sense. When we think about the power that women have always had, but only seem to be recognized for it every other year, I think about my mother as a “Girl Boss” and as that orange dancing donut and realize that power isn’t the only ingredient in the recipe that makes us successful, you have to add a little balance, hard work, humor and grace to everything you do. Maybe one day I’ll earn the privilege of using her “Girl Boss” mug, but for right now I’ve only earned the dancing donut, and that’s just fine with me!

Until next time…