Whew! Mission accomplished! Great promotion? Check! Pay raise? Check! (25%-for those of you keeping up with my mama-capitalist story). More on that in future writings. My brief break from this blog has given me time to pause, reflect and recharge. The issues surrounding us are constantly in my mind and so are solutions.
This month my blog turns 1! To celebrate and introduce myself to newer readers, I wanted to share what inspired it. Thanks to all of the friends I have come across in the blogosphere. You made long, lonely days at my desk survivable.
The Story Behind The Ultimate Outcast Blog:
If asked before I was a Mom what my biggest fears were, I would have given pretty common answers. The list would include any manner of death, that I would have to live with my mother-in-law or that I would be awakened again one morning by a giant cockroach crawling on my forehead.
Motherhood introduced a whole new set of fears.
For several days last summer, I had the opportunity to read America’s most influential business newspaper, The Wall Street Journal.
Article after article spoke of “markets” making decisions as if Wall Street is if run by headless beings. There were numerous stories about bickering lawmakers and battles over sensible ideas. Front page reports focused on government and corporate incompetence and never-ending wars. The printed photos of human devastation further illustrated mankind’s dark nature.
Then, one day I began to see the stories differently. During a mental rewrite of every article on the front page from a Mom’s perspective, I was discovering new solutions to old problems.
As I wondered why my type of spin was never ‘news that mattered’, a different kind of fear set in.
I feared greatly that for another thousand years (or so), Mothers like us — those most needful of intelligent, protective societies — would not see themselves as essential to the economic and political strength of their nations. I started to worry that Mothers would continue to be rendered powerless and dependent, unable to influence those societies upon which they so rely.
I also feared that the story of Moms today, like so many others before us, would go unwritten.
So, I decided to start writing.
Yet, as I geared up to begin my blog there was something eating away at me. Rooted in self-doubt, I feared that writing articles that intermingle the economy, capitalism, religion, politics, sex and motherhood would be considered highly offensive.
In spite of my personal and professional experiences, the fear of being wrong, considered stupid and unimportant was strangely paralyzing. All because you know, I am ”just-a-mom”.
Then at the right moment, the perfect words intersected my life, spoken by the unlikliest of people: Olivier Martinez.
He’s that French actor who captivates Diane Lane in the film “Unfaithful”. The one who inspired this memorable cinematic line: “Two looks from a guy like that and I’d be on my back in a second”.
Now, I quote that line because it was actually spoken by a mom in the movie. This mother, when in the presence of someone interesting, sexy, beautiful, did not censor herself and I could appreciate that. I mention the line because it also justifies why I was stalking Mr. Martinez one day on the Internet. It’s how I found the following quote on his IMDB page.
“I personally think you must believe in something. You must have a point of view on everything even if you have to change it often. That’s my terrorist aspect in action! I need to have prejudices to make my choices, I mustn’t let myself be invaded by ultra conservatism. Better be wrong in one’s decision and then step backwards rather than not choosing at all.”
Handsome Olivier’s quote captivated me.
While stuck in a society that seems unwilling to evolve, I found these words liberating. I thought if he could live by them, I could too. They freed me of my fear of criticism, they gave me permission to experiment with words and ideas, to possibly be right and to possibly be wrong, to be confident of my ability to adapt to changing circumstances, to know that as a mother responsible for the future of a little boy, I possess a valid point-of-view.
We all know there may be repercussions when we reach out for ideas that do not fall neatly within the framework of our commonly understood concepts, the ones that can be easily labeled Republican, Democrat, Jewish, Christian, Capitalist, Socialist, male or female.
Inside we fear the cost of revealing our deepest thoughts. But we must do this as mothers. Because it’s moms who are forced to look beyond society’s preconceived notions about the human experience. When a mom is holding her young child stricken with a sudden illness, she may conclude that a for-profit healthcare system is inhumane. Her point-of-view is valid. As an American mom earnestly builds a path for her child’s dreams, she may determine that all mothers should be able to create these same paths for their own children — including those in the Middle East. Her point-of-view is valid.
As mothers, we often must admit that world is not as black and white as the words in The Wall Street Journal. Everyday mothers navigate a complex world that is countless shades of grey and an endless palette of vibrant colors all at the same time.
When we are mothers we have access to important insight, wisdom and compassion. For that reason ,we must insert ourselves into these broader conversations.
And we must do so fearlessly.
The Writer & Her Son