Why I Love Lucy: Unapologetically Confident!

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I love Lucy.  No, I’m not talking about Lucille Ball, even though she is fabulous, hilarious, and not a commie.  (For those who are too young to remember or fell asleep in their history class, Lucille Ball was accused of being a communist during the beginnings of the Cold War.)  No, I’m talking about Lucy, the ball-busting, self-assured little brunette girl from the Peanuts Gang.  My obsession with Lucy started in 2002 when I had the pleasure of playing her in a community theatre production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (music and lyrics by Clark Gesner and based on the cartoon by Charles M. Schulz) and eventually led to the spirit and tag line of this blog:  “When I grow up, I intend to be a queen.”

Why do I love Lucy?  She is what I wish more women were.  She is what I wish more women would accept rather than criticize.  Simply stated, Lucy is unapologetic, and she is what I want to be:  unapologetically confident and resolute in my goals and desires.  Lucy never apologizes for wanting more.  She never apologizes for her successes.  Lucy never even apologizes for her failures.  (Note the many, many times Lucy has been rejected by Schroeder.  That little twerp never gives her a chance!)

Take a look at one of Lucy’s monologues from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown:

(Picture Lucy standing in an oversized wingback chair.)

“Do you know what I intend? I intend to be a queen. When I grow up I’m going to bethe biggest queen there ever was, and I’ll live in a big palace and when I go out in my coach, all the people will wave and I will shout at them…”

Lucy knows her goal is great and important, but that does not deter her.  She not only publicly states her goal she celebrates it.  She goes on:

“and…and…in the summertime I will go to my summer palace and I’ll wear my crown in swimming and everything, and all the people will cheer and I will shout at them…”

Lucy would never refuse a crown or a compliment.  She would never apologize for having the goal or succeeding in it! She would proudly wear her crown all the time, in swimming and everything! 

How many of us are guilty of changing Lucy’s goal from I intend to be a queen to I know it’s stupid, but I really would like to be a queen…maybe…if it’s o.k. with you?  How many of us sabotage our goals everyday by apologizing for them?  Lucy continues:

“What do you mean I can’t be queen?  Nobody should be kept from being a queen if she wants to be one.”

So, here it is.  The dilemma we have all faced in the past and will surely face again:  your goal has been challenged, laughed at, doubted, or flat out denied.  What do you do?  Do you apologize for trying?  Do you stop trying?  Do you settle for less?  Or do you stand taller in your oversized, wingback chair and declare to the world that their assumed limitations don’t matter.  For Lucy the decision is easy:  Queen is what she wants, so queen is what she will become!  The ending of the monologue shows just how unapologetic Lucy is:

Well…. if I can’t be a queen, then I’ll be very rich and I will buy myself a queendom. Yes, I will buy myself a queendom and then I’ll kick out the old queen and take over the whole operation myself. I will be head queen.

That’s right, sister, think big!

Me as Lucy! Thank you to my friend Candace for the perfect gift!

Oh, sure, Lucy should eventually allow Charlie Brown to kick the football, she should stop threatening to punch Linus in the face, and her pursuit of Schroeder skips joyfully down the road to stalker-ville, but I think we could all learn from Lucy.  Did Lucy give up when her goal became difficult to achieve?  Did she give up when success seemed impossible?  No, Lucy remains eternally optimistic that Schroeder will one day play his little piano just for her, Linus will give up that stupid blanket, Charlie Brown will grow a pair, and she will be queen.

Reinvent: What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

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Each Thursday evening, Tim Gunn tells the designers on Project Runway, “Make it work.”  Every time my husband and I move to a new town, I tell myself to make each new challenge work.  With each move, I find a new house, a new social group, and a new job, but I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

“You’ve had so many jobs,” commented a new friend over drinks a few nights ago.

That comment keeps running through my mind.  My new friend’s tone was humorous with just a touch of judgment.  Whether that judgment was good or bad, I don’t know.  What I do know is that I have had a lot of jobs.  I have always tried my best to adapt, to bend according to each new challenge, to make it work.  Since college, with each new stage or Army move, I have reinvented myself according to the needs of the particular time or town, all with the hope of one day landing on a job that turned into a career.

So, yes, I have had a lot of jobs.  Some jobs barely paid the bills: waitress, theatre costume shop manager, drama teacher, visual merchandiser, and newspaper columnist.  Some jobs paid all the bills: high school guidance counselor, instructional programs specialist, and outreach services director for a childcare organization.  Some jobs barely paid anything at all:  stitching and performing for a puppet performance group (Yes, I said puppet.  For that illustrious career, I paid student loan bills), sewing instructor, community theatre director, substitute teacher, and voice over artist.

And yes, my resume looks like that of an Irish Traveler.  Some potential employers may think I’m on the lamb.  Some may think I have the attention span of a gnat.  But that is because I refuse to believe that simply because my husband’s career causes us to move every few years that I must resign to do nothing with my life.  Or, that I should choose employment in a field common to all areas:  bank teller, retail associate, waitress, teacher, nurse, etc.  Some of these bore me to death.  Reliability is not worth mind-numbing boredom.  Some I have tried and hated.  (I learned years ago that I lack the patience to teach middle schoolers.  By the end of my teaching gig, I started fantasizing about smacking a few of my students in their snarky little mouths, so I got out before I got arrested.)  And nurses deal with bodily fluids far too often.  I don’t think a sensitive gag reflex is a good quality for a nurse.  So, I have refused to settle for common professions.  Instead, I search for my next mountain to conquer.

Maybe I am still searching for what I want to be when I grow up.  Or maybe, I want to be everything when I finally grow up.  Why settle on just one career when you can evolve and change with every transportation order?  You may be thinking, “This woman needs to make up her mind!”  But why not reinvent?  Reinvention is invigorating!  Reinvention prevents burnout and boredom.  Reinvention provides risks, which are good for the soul.  Why be miserable in a job you hate?  Why stew in dissatisfaction?  Why not leap?  Your 401K will roll, 2-page resumes are forgivable, and you can ask yourself, even at 37, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

What do you want to be when you grow up?  If you could change your current career path and be anything you wanted to be, what would you be?  Share your dream with me in the comment space below!

Home Security: I Wish I Was Wonder Woman

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As you all know, home security has been a main line effort in my life over the past few months after two individuals attempted to break into my home on August 31.  I feel completely safe during the day.  In my mind, heinous crimes only happen in darkness.  Yes, I know that is a ridiculous thought, but in the light of day, I am a badass.  I am confident in my Wonder Woman abilities.  As darkness falls, however, my invisible plane and magic lasso disappear, replaced by anxiety of what is lurking in the shadows beyond my well lit home.  What I want most is to be able to see my bedroom as a sanctuary for rest again, but sadly, it has become a place of great vulnerability.

I put several measures into place that would hopefully help me feel safe while attempting to sleep, and my new pre-bed ritual has now become routine.  I turn off the T.V. in the den, check the deadbolts on all three exterior doors, turn the exterior lights on (front porch, back patio, and motion sensor lights), turn off the interior lights, lock my bedroom door from the inside, and arm the alarm system to instant from the panel in my bedroom so that the alarm will instantly sound if any door or window is opened.  Lastly, I ensure that my wasp spray and baseball bat are within easy reach of my pillow.  I thought these measures would be enough to ease my anxiety about going to sleep.  I was wrong.

One week ago, at 2:34 a.m., the alarm went off.  The sound of the alarm was so loud and startling, that my husband and I both shot straight up in bed.  My heart was immediately in my throat, and, I must admit, my initial disorientation was disturbing.  Wonder Woman was nowhere to be found.  Jay, on the other hand, sprung into action.  In his boxers and bare feet, he immediately grabbed the baseball bat from my side of our bed.  “Stay here!” was his only and very direct order to me.  He appeared to grow a foot and a half as he charged out of our bedroom with the alarm blaring in my ears.

I was immediately taken by his complete lack of fear.  How could this be?  How can two people who have shared the last 13 years and who seem to share so many personality traits react in such different ways to the same situation?  The fear that paralyzed me propelled him into action.  In my mind, I should have been at his side, ready for battle:  a pajama’ed version of Super Man and Wonder Woman.  In reality, I let him leave the bedroom alone.  Later, after the alarm was silenced and crisis averted, I asked why he didn’t take my trusty wasp spray with him.  He answered, “Because it’s better to swing (the bat) with two hands.”  While I sat trembling on my bed, my husband was searching the house with the intent of teeing off someone’s head.

Along with overestimating my abilities in a crisis, I also underestimated my alarm system.  The alarm system is also a fire system.  Apparently, turning on the heater for the first time this year caused the system to burn off dust on the coils, which set off the fire alarm.  After Jay searched the house to find no intruders, he turned off the alarm.  That is when we noticed the burning smell.  Jay went up to the attic (which I am also afraid of because God only knows what is hiding in my attic) to investigate.  The heater was fine.  I was not.

Back in our bedroom, we got back into bed.  I turned on the T.V. knowing that I was not going back to sleep that night.  I lay in bed with my heart pounding in my ears thinking about burglars, broken windows, home invasions, and house fires.  (Yay!  Now, I have a new worry to guide me towards my bottle of Xanax.)  Within a half hour, Jay was asleep.

So, why is he so much better equipped for these particular crises than I am?  I could sight his military training.  He has nearly two decades of training and actually charging onto a battlefield.  I have been taught to send care packages to the front lines.  Jay has been taught to fight.  I have been taught to pray for his well-being and survival.  Jay has been taught to protect me, and I have been more than happy to let him.

As a girl, I was taught to stick up for myself by being smart, making intelligent decisions, and by being a good human being.  I was taught to be polite and congratulated for being pretty.  I was taught to avoid situations that offer the opportunity to become a victim.  I wasn’t taught to fight.  As a boy, was Jay taught to protect those he loved?  Was he encouraged to become physically and mentally prepared for battle?  Was he encouraged to fight?  I think he, like many little boys fulfilling a traditional gender role, was taught to fight.

Now, I want Jay to teach me.  I want to be able to move from the living room to my bedroom each night without a sense of dread sitting on my chest.  I want to dismiss the boogeyman without anti-anxiety medication or sleep aids.  If I am ever going to be able to sleep comfortably again, I must learn how to fight.  I must gain the confidence to protect myself.

If you have learned how to fight, if you feel like Wonder Woman, please let me know how!  Leave a comment below describing how you defend your queendom.