Doing the Hard Thing

2024-06-30T16:47:47-07:00Categories: creative aging, featured posts, featured posts, politics|Tags: , , , , |

One minute you’re hanging by your knees from your neighbors’ swing set, and the next minute you’re on the ground and your arm is hurting a whole lot more than your average bumped elbow or skinned knee. “Better go home and show your mom,” the neighbor kids tell you, so you do, and her answer, which is not surprising to you, is, “I’m sure it will feel all better in the morning.” But it doesn’t. And it doesn’t feel better the next morning either, or the morning after that. So your mom finally takes you to the doctor and he says you’ve got a fractured wrist. Just a hairline fracture, he calls it, as he washes up and starts wrapping your arm like he’s doing a papier maché project at school. You feel pretty special, until he tells you the bad news: no swimming for six weeks. Six weeks?! Is he kidding? No, apparently not. Doesn’t he know it’s summertime, and you may be only seven, but you’re on the swim team? Yes, he does know it’s summertime, and he commends you for being on the team. But, he says, this is what you have to do when you’ve got a broken wrist. Fast forward sixty years, and you’re on the storied Spider Meadow Trail in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, with a pack on your back. You’re feeling pretty good, because the hike up went well, you and your husband spent a lovely June night in the meadow, watching the long light fade over the mountains, [...]

Imperfectionism: a manifesto

2019-11-07T15:33:14-08:00Categories: feminism, politics, women's rights|Tags: , , , , |

Here’s what gave me joy during the first presidential debate: Hillary Clinton’s smile. Sure, she might’ve practiced in front of the mirror, and I don’t fault her for that. As she told Donald Trump, she believes in preparing, both for the debates and for being president. But what her smile signaled so effectively was something else, something I would call her new imperfectionism. It’s no wonder she looked so joyful: if you’re Hillary Clinton, it must be a great relief to have moved beyond the futile grind of flat-out perfectionism. And I think we women can all learn from her. I’m not arguing that she was not brilliant that night. She was. But her tone, her ease, and best of all that bemused, transcendent smile told me that not only is she confident and ready to govern, she is now beyond inured to the type of male posturing in which Donald Trump invests all of his strategic energy. This is an important trait in a first female president. It is one she has honed over the decades, especially as Secretary of State. While Trump has been sharpening his negotiating skills by belittling tenants, employees, contractors, and beauty pageant winners, Clinton has been steadily building her ability to hold her own with hard-to-handle men, from her husband to five-star generals to heads of state. Remember when she was first lady, and she baked those cookies just to show she could? That was perfectionist Hillary, responding to a media pile-on that was all about how uncomfortable the country [...]

Go to Top