Monday, June 07, 2010

finding my voice...part deux

So I had a conversation with a friend this afternoon and she kept saying, WHY, Sarah Louise, does it bother you so much? This external validation? That you felt better when the ladies at work all came back from SATC and said, oh, wasn't it so funny?

And I told her about how SATC has fed me in many ways. It is no, not the way I would live my life, but I have made many of the mistakes those four have made, and I have learned more about relationships from the six seasons of SATC than I have from almost 20 years of dating and not dating.

And I told her how the Christian writer I used to follow on Twitter that could only focus on how SATC-TM-2 (Sex and the City, the Movie, 2) was disrespectful of Muslim ways of living. And how I thought maybe the director/writer was trying to say, "look, it's ridiculous that a woman has to lift a veil just to eat a french fry." But if you're only going to look at that part of the movie, it's not a critique of a movie, it's a lambaste, it's not fair.

And again, my friend pushed. But why do you care so much?

Because they are my girls. And I hate for someone to say bad things about them. It's like someone insulting my little sister. I can say, oh, she's a little this or that, but if you say it, I will come after you in your SLEEP. It's the Mama Bear adrenaline rush.

And, yes, it is hard to be a Christian woman who says, my favorite TV show is Sex and the City. That the theme to the show is the ringtone for my cellphone. But here's the thing. I don't think that liking SATC or not liking SATC is a point of salvation. I know enough about the world and about God to know the difference between a good world view and a corrupt one. I know that SATC is built on a corrupt one. But so is just about every other form of entertainment. THIS world is corrupt, and corroding more and more each day. For that matter, I am corrupt. I say one thing and do another. Like Paul in his letter to the Romans,

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. (Romans 7:15-20)

I told my friend about how when I worked at Fox Books, a man at my church made it his mission to let me know what books James Dobson thought should be removed. Or that no Christian could ever read/watch Silence of the Lambs. (I enjoyed both the book and the movie, though with all the lights on and taking my time.) That Harry Potter, if written by a Presbyterian woman, should mention that Harry went to church on Sunday. This man hearkened back to the Ford administration, where apparently the press always noted, "and Ford went to church on Sunday." I am no longer friends with a woman who thought that the Narnia books were Satan's work and Harry Potter no better. (Yes, she knew C.S. Lewis professed to be a Christian, and I disagree with foppish beliefs that the Narnia books are allegories...I do not look for a Christ figure in every book I read, he's alive enough in the Bible.) I am no longer friends with that woman, and fortunately only see that man on occasion. But we each in our lives have those people that get under our skin, for whatever reason, can, in my mother's apt words "have power over you." Sally is always getting me on that one. "Why are you letting that person get in your mind, have power over you?"

And I can only reply, when I think to, that I am a work in progress, and I have soft spots. I bruise easily, and I forget that I am beloved.

My father's response to this whole brouhaha was the best. "It's okay to be a fan. People ask me why I'm a Redskin's fan, I guess I like the drama." And in those few words, I got acceptance. That it is okay for me to like the color pink and to like SATC, and I don't have to explain my irrational self to anyone. I am enough. Which at the end of the day, is great to say. (And at the end of many days, impossible to say, true or not.)

I went in to work today, I had to work on some Summer Reading stuff. Yes, today was my day off, but the website goes live on Sunday, and if I don't work the kinks out now, they won't get worked out. "The show must go on" etc.

The great thing, though, about going in to work, was that my one boss, the one who sees me, believes in me, is firm with me, but knows I am capable of great things, encourages me, listened to me whine before I went off to my cubicle to work on the Summer Reading stuff. And then she was there when I'd fixed something or had an idea. And the constant doing something, seeing results there on the screen, followed by my boss saying, oh yes, that looks great, did something for me. And I realized that it's going to be okay, it really is.

So what I won't make Pittsburgh's "Forty under Forty" list. So what, I don't think I'll be presenting at the State Library conference in October. So what, I'm not making anyone a grandmother any time soon or probably ever. So what? I add a lot to a lot of people's lives, personally and professionally. And if I'm a late bloomer, so what?

I got a letter in the mail today. A real on stationery not a bill letter. From my high school friend L. I wrote her one, and she wrote me back. Neither my letter to her or her to mine will ever be published in "Dear Sarah Louise" or "Dear L," thick tomes of letters describing our discovery of the latest children's illustrator, but the letter I wrote mattered to her. And the letter she wrote mattered to me.

And at the end of the day, mattering, one person at a time, that is what makes a life.


Paula said...

Well said SL.

And isn't it wonderful to know your own value?!

Helen said...

For what it's worth, I always like reading your blog and I've never seen even one episode of SATC. I trust your judgment, but I think I am too far behind to catch up! =)

I heard a friend of mine defend Harry Potter one day by saying, "I read all the Grimm fairy tales when I was a kid and didn't end up a witch, so I think I can manage Harry!" There sure are a lot of literature 'police' around!

You are a pretty neat person.

Sarah Louise said...

Thanks guys!! I'm in that scary hormonal week where every morning I wake up thinking "blech."

Helen, I love your quote about Grimm.


BabelBabe said...

a quote from a shattering movie, Remember Me (do not watch it, seriously. I am still a mess.):
"If you could hear me, I would say, that our fingerprints never fade from the lives we have touched."

but the quotes are great.