Monday, August 11, 2008

"Well-behaved women seldom make history." - laurel thatcher ulrich

That is something I want to teach my daughter. But, until I have a daughter who can speak, and isn't furry, I'll share it with you. I hope this doesn't come off as cocky...because it took me a loooooong time to learn this lesson.

I think I learned how to stand up for myself through one of my ultimate BFF's, Deneal. AKA Moto, my MOH. We were roomies in college and I was dating this guy. Long story short-ish: We had been dating for like 3 months and he did a series of things to make me think the relash was very serious, then suggested we date other people and thought he could just slither away. (Disclaimer: He is a very nice man and we have since talked about the breakup and made peace. I consider him a good friend.) Anyway, Deneal told me that for my own good, I couldn't let him get away with it. I had bought this little black dress for a black-tie event he'd invited me to, and I was devastated that I wouldn't be wearing it. So, after Deneal and I wrote out my speech and practiced it, I put on my dress, much to my roomies' astonishment, drove to his work, and broke up with him.

As time went by I was presented with another opportunity in the form of Nate Herrscher. This story can be viewed here. Now, I may have gone a bit overboard on that one...but seriously, who does that?!

As I've gotten older I've thought a lot about the lesson Deneal unknowingly taught me. I've thought a lot about it in a spiritual sense...especially after reading Emma. In her day, Emma was told she had too many opinions for a woman and that's why it took her so long to be married. When she told Joseph that, he said he valued a woman with opinions, and he thought the Lord did too.

It made me think about my divinity...how I am a daughter of God. I am lucky enough to have married a man who treats me like a daughter of God...but what if he didn't? Shouldn't a daughter of God demand respect from everyone? Now, by demand, I don't mean actually demanding, but rather that her presence demands respect. A daughter of God should exude kindness, compassion, and respect to everyone she meets so that you cannot help but respect her. A daughter of God should also find a way to kindly, yet powerfully, ask for respect when it is not given. This can be as simple as a, "Honey, please don't roll your eyes when I ask you to help me fold the laundry. That's not nice," or a "Mom, that wasn't a very nice thing to say."

In the hospital I was presented with another opportunity. I had a nurse who was filling in for someone. She came in and said, "Hi, I'm Anne. (That's not her real name.) I'm filling in for Kaye. I haven't worked on this floor but I do a lot of home-care for kids with seizures. I've done that for about 20 years so I've been around it my whole life."

I said, "That's really cool that you do home-care for kids! I bet that is such a rewarding job!"

She replied, "Yeah, I work with some kids that have like 30 seizures a day, so I come in and look at you and think, "So you have a seizure once in a while; big deal!" To be honest, I don't even know why you're here!"

I could feel the bile rising in my throat and the tears burning the back of my eyes. I looked at Spencer and he squeezed my hand, a signal to control myself. She left the room to get my medicine and Spencer went to use the restroom. She came back when I was alone and started administering my medicines, making rude comments about each of them and their effects. I swallowed my pills and she started rattling about how fascinating brain waves were and paused to look at my monitor. I saw the pause and Spencer's absence as a sign. I took a deep breath and said a prayer for guidance, then began.

"Do you have a lot of experience with pharmaceuticals?" I asked, in a half whisper.
"No, not really."
"Well, as a patient, I would advise you to use a little more sensitivity when talking to a patient about their meds. Seizure meds are really tough. You don't know individuals situations, and I found your comments inappropriate, unfounded, and mean." My voice was stronger now.
"I didn't..." she began
"Wait," I cut her off, "And as for your other comment...I realize how lucky I am that I don't have 30 seizures a day. I am sooooo lucky to lead the life I do and realize how blessed I am to be as healthy as this, and not like your other patients. However, to compare us is entirely unfair. You just met me 10 minutes ago. You have no idea what I have experienced in my life. You have no idea how hard I worked in order to BE like this...to walk...to talk...to swallow...to move my arms and legs. Yes, I am lucky that I only have a seizure every 3 months, but I have a full-time job, a husband, a family, hobbies...I want to be a MOTHER, and I can't do that if we don't get MY SITUATION under control. So please, do not belittle my hard work."

I know this sounds cheesy, but as I spoke, I could feel Heavenly Father's power in my words. So could she. As I spoke, she went to her knees, held my hand, and started to cry. After I was done she offered a sincere apology about her ignorance and said she couldn't imagine being in my shoes. We talked about babies for a while and then how she was glad I'd called her on it...how important it was for women to be confident enough to stand up for themselves...at the end of our conversation she hugged me and apologized again. Before she left that night she came in and said to me, "It was an honor meeting you, Chelsi. You are an amazing woman. If I had a daughter, I'd want her to be just like you."

I think she did recognize me as a daughter of God then, and I think Heavenly Father was proud of me for defending myself. So, to all of us daughters of God...stand tall! And to Moto, thanks.

10 comments:

Erin said...

love this quote, and love how you reacted. i often wish i had more grit to speak my mind -- not in an offensive way, but just to made my opinion known, like you did. you handled that situation beautifully. thanks for sharing. you ARE a strong woman.

Southams said...

GOOD FOR YOU!!!!! What a neat story to always remember. I'm proud of you!

Lori said...

you inspire. so glad you're back in my life.

mommy princess said...

Dang girl!!! You can write! I so got goose bumps while I was reading.
I'm so glad you posted this! You always know exactly what I need to hear! I think as a woman sometimes it's hard to find that fine line between a nagging presence and a commanding presence. My latest experience was with Stan and what a big baby he was being about family pictures. I swear in that issue it's like I have 4 kids! By the way shame on you! You know if I was up north while you were in the hospital I would totaly come to see you!!! I was up over the
4th. I'm sorry I didn't call you. I was a bit retarded and assumed that because you couldn't bring your Mac that cell phones were off limits too. So when I read your come home blog I was kicking myself. Do me a favor and text me your address so I can save it in my phone. My kids did something with my address book. It's probably burried in the back yard with the remote lol!

McClane, Jane and Rylee said...

You are an amazing writer! What you wrote literally brought me to tears! I hope your doing well...I think about you all the time!

Dan and Kira said...

I am so glad that you have a blog, cause I am alot better at blogging than face book yeah! I will for sure keep up wit you and put you as one of my peeps! (if that okay hope you don't think i am being ceepy?)

Kari said...

Wow, Chels. Way to go! I couldn't do anything like that.

Natalie said...

This book is the feminist mormon houswives book club book for the month. I totally want to read it!

Julie and KC said...

Go Chels! You are an amazing person!! I'm so proud of you. You are so inspiring and I love you for the great person you are.

d doggs said...

:)