A “Nasty Woman” and the Enneagram

“What a Nasty Woman!”

This is what we get called when our need for truth-telling outweighs our need for approval.  When the anger, passion and injustice flood over the dam of societal convention that dictates women are to be small, quiet, uncomplicated and, above all, pleasant.

Why is that the first insult leveled at a woman who dares to step out in front and call a spade a spade, or, as in the case of a Mayor Cruz of San Juan, Puerto Rico, a disaster a disaster?   If the Mayor of San Juan were a man, you know the narrative would be different. Just that one word, nasty, has the power to denigrate both a woman’s character and physicality. It is a uniquely misogynistic insult and an unlikely feminist rallying cry.

But a rallying cry it has become.  Embracing your inner “Nasty woman” has been for a while the preserve of the third-wave feminist. Worn with a pink knitted hat, the nasty woman T-shirt is practically a 21st century feminist uniform, declaring opposition to the patriarchal put down in the most elemental way. But what if we, women who don’t fully identify with all the causes of a secular feminist movement, and yet full of vim and vinegar as many of us are, embrace it too?  What does it mean to let the world fully see us? How much better will the world, and yes, even the church, be served when we use our voices and our gifts to full effect.

This is part of my journey in rediscovering my identity. The inner work of shaking off outer conformity requires me to look full into the face of the nasty woman inside. The woman who is loud, opinionated, and often angry in a culture that idolizes the quiet, submissive and gentle woman.  The woman who comes out as a 7 and 8 on the Enneagram; Types exclusively reserved for my Brothers in Christ.  The woman who is ENTJ on Myers Briggs, and DI on the DISC test.

For almost a decade, I have lived in the heart of Bible Belt society, I have learned the ways, tried to conform (mostly unsuccessfully), have thrown myself into “approved” activities and groups, but at every turn, I find that nasty woman rising up and challenging. Not challenging Jesus, but challenging a culture that many small ways (and some large ways) seems to say;

” A good woman would be quiet. An excellent woman would prefer caring for her family over speaking out over injustice. A woman is for the home, for the family, for her husband.  The men don’t need your voice.  Quiet, dear, the men are talking! Isn’t it enough for you to raise Godly children? Be satisfied with your lot. Don’t complicate it, the system is for your good. Be pleasant, that is how you win influence”

And herein lies the rub, most of those things aren’t inherently bad… and if you are reading this, you don’t need me to point out the egregiously misogynistic ones.  But what those voices say, over and over to me is that I am not good, or excellent, or satisfied!

These voices declare that the very nature of me, which, to quote the Enneagram “exemplifies the desire for freedom and variety and for exploring the many rich experiences that life offers. Thus, they are probably the most enthusiastic, extroverted, and outgoing type of the Enneagram….Eights are assertive and passionate about life, meeting it head on with self-confidence and strength. They have learned to stand up for themselves and have a resourceful, “can-do” attitude. They are determined to be self-reliant and free to pursue their own destiny. ” … is unacceptable, is nasty.

I know I am not alone in this.  I also know that this is not everyone’s experience, but in the interest of being a truth-teller, I will risk the inevitable censure of my peers to offer a hand of solidarity to the younger ones coming after me and to say, “Here I am.”

To you, my sweet younger sisters, I say,

“Come, let’s be whole together. Let’s battle and explore and fight injustice. Let’s discover and share and teach, because the world needs you. The world needs your voice, your passion, your creativity and your compassion.  The world is not served by your shrinking but by your blooming into the fullness of the fierce warrior you are created to be!”

Join me




On Multitasking and other misnomers…

I blinked, and stepped away from my computer for 20 seconds, and a year went by!

What happened? Oh, I know, multitasking…. and seriously inept at it I appear to be! Therein lies the rub, dear readers, for me multitasking is a misnomer, what actually happens is that while attempting to do many things at once, I end up doing nothing well and even less gets accomplished than normal! So I gave up on my blog when it became yet another thing on the to do list…

But, ’tis a new year, a new season, and I have resolved to blog a little more and stress out a little less!

So, here, three months too late are my “New Year’s resolutions”:

1. I will blog at least monthly
2. I will not demand perfectionism of myself or those around me
3. I will endeavor to have a sense of humor about the ever encroaching army of orphaned socks, shoes and legos that threaten to take over my life!

Coming soon to a Reluctant Suburb near you:

Veggie gardening for maniacs!!
Parent-School cooperative education… thoughts, plans, hopes etc
and much more!

Thanks for sticking around, stay for a comment or a cuppa!

The Reluctant Suburbanite

Random Saturday

The Herb Garden.. (see below!)

So, I realise that I have been unaccountably absent this week, and therefore have decided to start a little thing I am going to call Random Saturday… innovative imaginative title, you say!  Well, you know, that is just the way it is, try to keep up!!  (self-deprecating  humour, very Brit, not very easy to convey in txt!)
Here we go, here is a totally Random sampling of my week, taken from the perspective of second-cup-of-coffee-while-the-kids-fight/play-in-the-background….
* I planted a herb garden this week, I love it, I have raised the parsley and basil from seed and am unaccountably proud that they have survived my kitchen for long enough to make it outside.. it is worthwhile noting that while planning and planting the herb garden my house went uncleaned and laundry went undone to the point that no-one in my house has clean underwear or trousers, and we are about to run out of towels…. but at least my herb garden is weeded, seeded and fed!!
* I have noticed that my children instantly attach immense value to anything the other is currently touching… note I said “touching” not playing with / adoring / using…  it is like they have some kind of ownership serum emitting from their sticky little hands that instantly challenges the other to draw blood  / inflict concussion / throw a spectacular screaming fit in order to obtain said ultimately desirable object.   Examples of such objects over the last week:  one playmobil sword, a large stick (of the “fell off the tree in the back yard variety”), empty toilet rolls, a five gallon bucket (it was orange and as far as I can tell the fact that it was orange and not white like the other seven in the garage was the cause of world war XXVI  for the week!!) etc etc.
* I am in desperate need of a reliable, responsible, reasonably inexpensive babysitter!  When hubby got home from our meeting last Saturday (I was, as you may recall getting ready for the Blogger Dinner at the Grand Lux), he encountered the almost apocalyptic destruction of our, up to that point, relatively clean home.  The sitter du jour had allowed my 3 and 5 year old to run wild ( insert gasps of horror here ); there was popcorn all over the floor; every item from the playroom had migrated downstairs was artfully strewn across the house and garden as if to give the impression that a horde of Vandals had just passed through; the boys had been allowed to eat anything they could get their hands on (which, by the way, is everything in my larder as they have decided that the shelves are as good as a ladder – so now there is nowhere to hide the chocolate 😦 ); the kitchen looked as though someone had allowed a kindergarden class to make spaghetti sauce without supervision…  And we were only gone for five hours!!  
* I have an extraordinary ability to ignore that beep that the microwave makes to say “I am done cooking, now would you PLEASE get this cup of coffee / rice / potato / soup out of me!!”… in fact, this week I ignored that beep for five whole hours until a friend came over and immediately identified the source of the noise and in an incredulous tone of voice asked me why the microwave was pretending to have cooked rice that was a) cold and b) very possibly beginning to attempt escape under its own power!  I really must pay more attention!
***WARNING!! ***
****Serious one coming up***
* I am in desperate need of food for my soul.  I know this is not funny / amusing etc but it is still part of my week. You see, that was probably the hardest part about this week, the dryness, the lethargy (some days even apathy) that I have been struggling with.  I need real revelation of the person of Christ in my life daily, and when I don’t have it I am lost, anchor-less, adrift in the storm that is my life.  My friends try to  help and offer life-rafts of various varieties, but the only person who can truly rescue me is Jesus.  The truth is that He is trying to bring me to a place where He is the source of my contentment, not our income, not my children, not my home, but Him, in all those things, despite all those things.  Then why is it so hard?  Why can I not trust Him to provide for us?  Honestly, that is the root of much of my struggle right now… financial instability is THE challenge to my contentment in Christ, and the root of that is the battle for control of my life – He should be on the throne, He should be the one I look to in all things while I fight against the do-it-yourself, make-it-on-my-own, entrepreneurial culture of my world and my heart.  So, in dependence I ask Him for help, and will not pretend that “more study / prayer / reading / discipline” will make the difference, but hope in His tender mercy and infinite Grace to rescue me from myself.
Thanks for stopping by for a visit, I hope your week was fun and fulfilling and even a bit challenging… because, like the trainers at the gym are always saying, if it isn’t hard it isn’t changing anything.  Hard is fulfilling – that is what hubby always says.