Girl Power

It was 9 am and I was a little behind schedule. I had gotten up early to finish and submit two freelance stories, one a day late. Got them in. Then I hopped on my bike to rush to my art handling job. Wait. First. I had to stop at the private school where I’ve been substitute teaching to get my paycheck on track.

Having to talk about money and getting paid makes me uncomfortable.

Like with my freelance jobs — I worry that I accept too little. And then I worry that I charge too much. Whaaaa! Whatever I do, I want them to like me. I live to be liked!

When I got to the school, I dashed up the stairs, two at a time. Then, I slowed down. Wait. What’s this? Yup. A ton of cool signage in the stairwell about the Day of the Girl. (This is a United Nations movement on October 11, which aims to educate and end child marriage, stop sexualized media images of girls, and celebrate girls as athletes, students, artists! Check their link to find out about more.)

Seeing these signs made me drop my insecurity. I felt empowered. it’s important I’m paid well and fairly. I want to be a good model for the girls.

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Girl power!IMG_7004.JPGI started a Pinterest Board, Girls Can Be Anything, with images of girls doing fun girl stuff — climbing trees, playing superheroes, making art. I hate when the only option for a girl is princess. I prefer president. Girls can aspire to that. They can be anything.

In fact one of my daughters ran for student council today. I don’t even care if she wins. I’m just proud of her for writing a speech, delivering it, and throwing her hat in the ring.

On my bike ride from the school to the art job, the chain came off my bike. But I put it back on and kept riding. Got my hands dirty. But yup, girls can fix their bikes too. Girls can do anything. IMG_7003.JPG

The Heiress

Washington Square is a character in The Heiress.
Washington Square is a character in The Heiress.

In New York, it’s always about the real estate. The dude from Downton Abbey still coveted a spot on Washington Park North.

Even in 1880, when Henry James wrote Washington Square, the story upon which The Heiress is based, the gentleman caller loved Catherine Sloper for her Greenwich Village real estate, 16 Washington Square.

I love the story of The Heiress and oh, all right, I love all girl/women empowerment stories! I took a seminar about Henry James in college. In one of his prefaces, James wrote that it was far better for an artist to never marry so that the artist could focus on his or her art, sublimating sexual urges for creative ones.

I wrote about this in another blog post: Work pays better than marriage.

James never married and was incredibly prolific — coincidence? ….He thought marriage was deadly to artists, particularly writers.

I love the fierce independence, social awkwardness and artistic drive of Catherine Sloper, our hero.

The acting in this production of The Heiress was awesome. When I saw it Tuesday night, I kept thinking, ‘Man, that Jessica Chastain can act! She looks nothing like the CIA agent she played in Zero Dark Thirty,’ which I had just seen the day before. (Zero Dark Thirty was wonderful, too, in terms of fricken’ amazing women who can do so much with tenacity and surveillance, much more effective war-time tools than torture!)

‘Chastain’s a great actress,’ I thought. ‘Great actors can make themselves look so completely different.’ After the show, my husband informed me that the understudy, Mairin Lee, had gone on for Chastain that night. Wow! I’ve got to read the playbill before the show apparently! I did not know that.

In 1995, I saw this show with Cherry Jones and Michael Cumpsty (love them!). What I remember from that performance is how Jones sat alone at the end, completely satisfied and completely alone.

As we left the theater, I told my husband, ‘Even if Catherine had hooked up with the dude from Downtown Abbey and the marriage didn’t work out because he might’ve just loved her only for her apartment, she still might’ve gotten some awesome children out of the marriage. And that would be wonderful. That is wonderful.”

curtainI saw this show with a cool bunch of fashion, mommy and travel bloggers and before the show, we had pizza and schmoozed at John’s Pizza on 44th Street. Yummy. (Disclosure: I wasn’t paid to write this post, but was given the ticket and dinner.)

The real estate on Washington Park is not permanent. You only get to live there a little while on 48th street. (The show runs until February 10th.)

Even briefly, you can join Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey and Jessica Chastain (or her replacement) and live like Catherine Sloper.

Sure, you may be plain and witless, but you get a glorious, delicious home and hot guys itching to marry you.

Just remember James’s word to the wise: marriage may derail your creativity.

For more info, visit www.TheHeiressOnBroadway.com
The Heiress on Twitter: @TheHeiressBway and Facebook 

Thanks for the ticket, Mama Drama.

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Other Religions

I love experiencing other people’s religions. There is something true in all of the worships.

Today I was at our dear friend’s Bat Mizvah. It was a bit long. So my mind wandered and I got thinking, the Jewish service is more kid-friendly than the Christian service.

Seems on most Sunday church worships, if your kid’s a little loud or cranky, people glare at you. But at today’s synagogue service, people smiled at the noisy baby. And nobody seemed to mind all the restless teens milling about, ostensibly heading to the bathroom, but probably just stretching their legs. People are nice. When I was a little lost in one of the books, some usher-type guy came over to instruct me, kindly, on the proper page number.

What I really loved? The 13-year old Bat Mizvah girl led the service. She delivered the message. She read a ton in Hebrew from the Torah. I think it’s beautiful when kids — especially young women — can be seen and heard in a religious service.

I like hearing what kids have to say. Like I like eavesdropping when I drive my girls anywhere. They usually talk about relationships. And say things like, “Do you like ____?”

I think the bible reading was about relationships today too. Bible stories are usually about relationships, rules, myths, and journeys. And churches and synagogues are usually beautiful spaces to listen to stories, especially when they are stories told by girls or women.