Many people here in the United States take time to give thanks this month. I figured I’d better do the same. Only because these thoughts have been on my heart for a while. It’s not that I’m not thankful, because I am. A quiet, thankful–that is. Not too long ago, I was bursting with thanksgiving. Not so much anymore. Somehow with parenting and life, my heart has become a bit jaded. But I am working on it! It’s just my feelings have been a bit unruly of late. It’s been quite an emotional roller coaster this year. Always happens, I suppose, when one is being STRETCHED and learning new things. And not progressing on my edits like I had hoped. Of course, I wasn’t exactly practical with my deadlines. Major content edits done in a month? Ha! Live and learn.
I am thankful for my precious kiddos, my family, friends and our home, being able to pursue my dream to write and all, but two things have stood out to me this past year or so.
My husband, for one. I am so thankful for him. Not because he is perfect…he’s pretty darn close though. Ha! But because he is learning life right alongside of me. He believes in me, supports me, and does not try to put me in a box. I’m sure I can be quite difficult to live with. Not that I mean to be, but being an introvert, a perfectionist, with plenty of issues and shortcomings (don’t we all?), and a bit…odd. Hey I write fantasy and I have several story worlds buzzing around in my head. But we’re working out the details on this whole marriage and parenting thing, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner.
Secondly, my parents.
Living in East Texas has open my eyes to how thankful I am for my family and how they raised me. Sure, growing up, my family had issues. Who doesn’t? But in the midst of the messiness of life, my parents taught me that it didn’t matter if I was a girl or a boy. If there was a job to do, you did it. We moved a lot and some of those moves involved farms. And when you are living on a farm, there is work to be done. All. The. Time. So if the hay needed cutting, raking, baling, stacking, you did it. Rocks had to be picked, so fields could be planted. Cement had to get mixed, so my dad could finish the barn. It didn’t matter if it took all day and night and into the next day–without stopping! The animals had to be fed, it didn’t matter that there were three feet of snow or more on the ground. By the way, you can’t stack six bales of hay on those little orange sleds and actually move it to its destination. Of course, I was only eleven at the time. Your mileage may vary.
So here I am in East Texas, and I am amazed at some of the mentalities regarding women down here. I’m not exactly sure what is expected of me, but it isn’t what I grew up with. I’m not one to sit idly by when others are working. Especially when it comes to physical labor. I get a deep sense of satisfaction from it and a good night’s rest as well! If there’s a job to be done, and I am capable of doing it, I will do it. To not, would feel like I’m shirking my responsibilities. I’m not out to prove that I can do it better than a man. I am just here, doing what I can.
And I sure don’t mind a guy opening a door for me either. Come on, I write about chivalry and young ladies figuring out their worth and dreams and finding true love. Amid action, adventure, and much peril, of course! This reminds me of urban fantasy author K. M. Carroll’s post on Why We Need Strong Women and Damsels in Distress. And men too. Got to read the article, excellent points.
So every time I’m faced with preconceived notions of what a woman’s place is in this world, my heart thanks my mom and dad who taught me that a person’s significance isn’t based so much on their gender but their character. And my hubby who continues to support that. Life is way too short to live in a box.
So what say you? Have you personally come across “preconceived notions”? It’s not just limited to gender, and I know I’m hardly alone in this. How have you dealt with it?
And speaking of being thankful, what are you thankful for?