I was telling my friend the other day about this scene from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” where one of the girls tells is abducted by a man who asked her to come out to his car with him. She doesn’t want to be rude, so she goes. And is abducted. Matt Lauer’s cameo character comically (tragically) responds, “I’m always amazed by what women will do because they’re afraid of being rude….”
I died laughing when I first saw that scene. Because those hilarious (and tragic) words hit a little close to home.
Thankfully, I’ve never submitted myself to something as horrible as being abducted and forced into a doomsday cult. But the things I have or haven’t done because I was afraid of being rude are pretty ridiculous — hence the story I told my friend that prompted me to recount that scene. I’ve always half-heartedly “blamed” it on being raised in the South, where certain kind of sugary-sweet manners are still very much enforced (apparently the Mid-West has this kind of mindset as well). But the writers of “Kimmy Schmidt” seem to think it’s also a woman-thing. And I can totally see that, too. (So women from the South are doubly-doomed to pressure to bow to the almighty god of proper manners. Cool. Cool, cool, cool.)
Here’s the thing, though. I don’t want to live that way. I don’t want to be that kind of woman, even though I have to fight the urge as if it pumps through my blood. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about being kind. But I think kindness and strength/assertiveness/common sense can go hand-in-hand a lot better than the kind of sugary sweet demeanor I am tempted to believe I must plaster on every day.
And here’s another thing.
I am going to be a momma to two little girls.
Two little girls! Who will grow up to be women.
I’ve been reading a lot recently, and it’s ended up being mostly books and articles written by women. Strong, sassy, bold, brave, hilarious, creative, intelligent (and the list of totally awesome attributes could go on) women. These women’s words are stirring up all these things in my soul for both the kind of woman I want to be and the kind of little women I want to raise.
The more of these women’s voices I hear, and all so different, the more I realize that there are just so many ways to be a really great woman. I think a big part of the totally-awesome-woman-equation is just finding and using her voice. The voice that God dreamed up for her (from the time she was knit together in the womb), the one He means to use to accomplish His good purposes in the world: speaking hope, strength, fierce love, peace, and redeemed power. Not the one she thinks she’s supposed to use because someone else says ‘a lady is like this…’, but hers.
As a momma, I get the joy of helping her find and use her voice. I get to study, observe, pray, and discern the gifts (and weaknesses) God has given these beloved daughters. What an awesome, weighty (and fun, I am beginning to discover with my feisty 2.5 year old) privilege!
As I continue to learn to find and use my own voice, I pray I’d use it, and use it often, to speak life, freedom, boldness, true gentleness (not timidity), strength, and fierce love over my girls.
And I pray they would never, ever value “not being rude” so much that they will be abducted into a doomsday cult.