"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Girls in the Palace

Some years ago, there was a wave of ad campaigns pitting this or that commercial product with the message of, "Buy me because you are so special you deserve the best."  Loriel may be the most famous but someone must have done some research that said this was a winning notion and quite a few companies made this same sort of pitch to prospective consumers.  It worked.  You can still google "because you deserve it" and find out that apparently, we all deserve a variety of beauty products, jewelry, solid steel mouse pads, swimming pools (this is a common theme, nation wide), home cleaning services, vacations, spa treatments, blah, blah, blah.

I absolutely hated those ad campaigns.  HATED them.  A commercial would come on the television and I would positively sneer.
Clearly I had issues.   As far as I was concerned, it was a crass appeal to selfishness and vanity and I was embarrassed for women who immediately globbed on to this blatant manipulation of their basest impulses.

Oh, we can all be little princesses!
Yeech.  I didn't want to be a princess.  I wanted to be like those women in the thirties who were strong, independent, incredibly sexy and, well, WOMEN.  I saw those commercials as encouraging women to take our birthright of strength, wisdom and courage and exchange it for a pink, rhinestone tiera. 

Not opinionated, am I?

My mother once happily announced that she was moving to a luxury retirement community, "Because I deserve to be pampered."  My snotty comment that perhaps Mother Teresa deserved to be pampered but for some reason didn't feel the need made for a chilly week or two. 

I was a real snot, sometimes.  Still can be but I'm better.
Right about the same time as that ad campaign took root, there became popular the mantra that "you can't take care of other people if you don't take care of yourself."  I found that a bit more palatable as far as it goes but, just as companies no doubt predicted, the notion was promptly seized upon by people looking for an excuse to dump the kids for the weekend, go party, kick up their heels and run away from their responsibilities - now, guilt free.  Mind you, I don't think eveyone did that but I think the general notion was twisted to the point where many women would fall back on that mantra every time they wanted to do something that was going to put someone else out.  And that self centered, escapist attitude is a big part of our culture, these days.
Where I am going with that is that over time, I think I may "get" what might have really been going on in the original research that ended up being corrupted by mass marketing.   I think most women need (not deserve) a way to regularly recharge their batteries, nourish their souls and put on their battle gear to take on life.  I don't think that is an entitlement issue the way it ended up being advertised and which offended me to the soul.  It has nothing to do with our "worth" or what we "deserve."  I think it is simply the way we are hardwired.  And I think a "need" has a much greater claim to being a higher priority than something we merely "deserve" which flounders around with some sort of vague entitlement notion and doesn't answer the question of "why" we deserve anything.  By changing the emphasis, I give no ground.  In my opinion, making provisions to nurture your spirit is an essential mental and physical health issue.  People like me, who didn't always make provisions for that grounding make life harder on themselves and others than it needs to be.
It seems to me that most women regularly need a little space and a little time to look inward, reflect, contemplate and create.  Makeup, jewelry and the like are nice but not the kind of things needed to nourish our souls and bring balance.  The traditional way is through prayer and worship.  Prayer is still considered such a sacred thing that no one is going to interrupt someone communing with her god.  But you can do it in other ways - Yoga, a good run, art, music, baking (if you like that sort of thing), crafts, gardening - anything that sets you free, for just a little bit of time, from the worries of life to tend to the state of your heart and soul.   

I don't see anything wrong with a weekend with the girls for a break.  In fact, I think it positively contributes to our need to commune with our sisters.  And I don't see anything wrong with reading, surfing the net and watching television - all of which are pure forms of escapism.  However, I think a lot of people have confused taking a break from life (escapism) with taking time to look inward.  These are two completely separate things.   If you are like me (I adore reading), you are probably spending more time escaping your soul than you are nurturing it. 

In my opinion, escapism, overdone, hampers more than helps us achieve balance.   In fact, I think a woman who consistently throws herself into escapism instead of tending to her soul is running away from answers and health rather than towards them.  When life gets out of control, grim and hectic, sometimes just two or three days (or a lunch break) dedicated to genuine soul searching makes everything fall into place.
Neglecting our soul is a lot like being married to someone we work to avoid.  That isn't a happy marriage on either front.

My Wonderful has been in South America all week (don't even ask) and I've gotten a ton of stitching done.  I've been working on Katie's wedding quilt and had it all set up on the longarm but the phone doesn't reach out there too well.  While husband was traveling and could be expected to call, I stayed in the house and finished up Windy's quilt top.  I am making her a traditional looking picket fence quilt and she helped me pick out colors and style, which I really appreciated.  She wanted something light and airy and I got the feeling she was looking for a traditional, thirties colors type of quilt.  I finished the top two days ago.

 Evelyn is under the quilt top:

The fabrics are not traditional feedsack but I had some Moda strips that were pastel and had a soft, romantic feel to them: 
 Evelyn has music in her soul:

 I am excited to see how it will look once it is quilted. 
Yesterday, I knew I wouldn't be getting any phone calls from the Mister for several hours so I worked out in the barn on Katie's quilt.

I was making great progress when the machine head slipped and I sewed myself.  I felt the needle go through my fingernail through my finger although it didn't really hurt because it happened so fast.   When I dared look at it, thread was going through my finger.  Top thread on top (variegated) and bobbin thread coming out the bottom (blue).  I got most of the thread out and am going to get a tetanus booster this afternoon.  It isn't bothering me except the bandage makes it hard to type.  Fortunately, it is on my left hand and I am right handed.  With any luck, I will be able to finish quilting Kate's quilt, tomorrow.
It has been incredibly hot and I haven't left the property since dropping off Mr. Wonderful at the airport last Saturday.  The quiet around the house is soothing and I've enjoyed getting so much quilting done.  I've been doing a little cooking, a little house cleaning, sitting out on the patio in the early morning, watering the trees, clipping the errant weeds with hedge clippers (it is so dry, nothing but weeds grow), and rescuing toads from the hell hounds. 

Early this morning, we had clouds that made the sunlight at dawn filter through in amazing colors and patterns.  I noticed the sun is already moving back towards the south as it rises on the eastern horizon.  I enjoyed looking out over the land at the birds and a few horses you can see if you squint.  Although I've done nothing to "deserve it," as I sat there in my red cushioned patio chair with my cup of coffee (the one that says, World's Best Grandma that my kids gave me when they told me Charlie was on the way) and a fluffy white dog on either side of me, I felt like a queen. 

Not a princess - a queen.  And you don't want a pink rhinestone tiera for that. 
Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


Florida Farm Girl said...

Amen, sister, amen!!!!!

Amanda karol said...

Thank you for not showing us a picture of the thread thru your finger!

And I LOVE the picture of the dog tongue and the frog with the 'oh crap' look on his face!

Miriam said...

Ouch with the thread through your finger!!!! I hope it heals quickly.
I love the fabrics you have used in Windy's quilt. I look forward to seeing how you quilt it.
I think the concept of entitlement has a lot to answer for in our society.

Love the photos of the girls!:)

Carol S said...

Penny, you must not have blood on the quilt or you would have mentioned it. Ouch!! It is a lovely quilt.
Entry deadline is Aug 15 for state fair. Are you entering the pineapple quilt this year? You should!