Monday, April 27, 2015

Women In Power

For people, and probably women in particular, there are two ways to execute power: by themselves or through others. But does power equal power?

For the longest time, most power by women was executed through others, mostly men - husbands, sons, lovers - with Queen Cleopatra as an example for this kind of executing power.

Born a princess, Cleopatra became Pharaoh of Egypt after disposing of her brother, and actually reigned her country in her own right before being conquered by the Romans. In order to avoid her country becoming just another province of the Roman empire, she famously seduced Julius Cesar and secured her country's independence through their son Cesarion. Being an unpopular figure in Rome, however, Cleopatra's power was in danger again when Cesar was assassinated. Thus, she chose one of Cesar's two successors, Marcus Antonius, to secure her power and married him. This marriage enraged Cesar's other successor, Octavian, whose sister Octavia was actually married to Marcus Antonius in Rome, and a war for the empire unrevealed, ending in Marcus Antonius' defeat and Cleopatra's suicide.

The lesson learned from this rather tragic story is that in order to execute power through others, one oftentimes has to give up oneself, and the acquired power only lasts as long as the other person is in power.

An example for a women exercising power in her own right is Queen Elizabeth I. As the younger daughter of King Henry VIII, Elizabeth was the last of his three surviving children to take the throne, and her reign was so successful it defined an entire era, the Elizabethan Age. She was queen in her own right, but never married and had no children. At her time, marrying would have meant to give up power in favor of her husband, most likely a foreign king, as the wife being subordinate to her husband was understood as a "god-given" order.

From this example we learn that powerful women were oftentimes lonely.

And in today's world?  A lot of time, women who hold power in their own rights are still lonely. In China, a whole generation of "alpha females" go through life without a partner, as their counterparts oftentimes feel more secure with "beta females" and so forth. Very few powerful women seem to also have a happy private life, as it does take a strong character in a man to accept a powerful woman.

But the 21st century is also a time of change. As more and more powerful and successful women emerge in politics and business, they are becoming less of a curiosity, and while the image of the "typical man" is changing at the same time, they are also becoming more accepted in society.

It is still a way to go until powerful women don't have to justify themselves any more, until they are accepted as equals by their male counterparts, and valued for their knowledge and experience rather than just perceived as "the woman". But the change is happening, gradually, until a woman's quota on director's boards are unnecessary.

This post is part of the Strong & Influential Sisterhood project

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (97)

Ten Things of Thankful

Yesterday, we said good-bye to our friends for a few years; it was a great week with a lot of activities, fun conversation, touristing around the area, and just having a wonderful time. I already miss them like crazy and can't wait to see them again!  This last week had so many things to be thankful for, most of all the memories we got to make, and which we all will always treasure.

My Ten Thankfuls for this week:

1. Having a flexible boss who let me switch days so I could have an extra day off this week to spend with our friends.

2. The girls being awesome giving up a good part of their privacy and rooming together for a week without complaining.

3. Our patio being finished.

4. The incredible chocolates our friends got for us. We have this chocolate confisérie in town that makes just the most delicious hand-crafted chocolates, definitely a treat!

5. Getting to show the town where "WE" started to our friends, the beautiful city of Bamberg.

6. Knowing a certain someone who shared an absolutely delicious tomato cream soup recipe. It truly warms the spirit!

7. Violet's kindergarten fest. Every class had a little performance, and Violet did great during hers. Afterwards, there was food, games, and the tree planting ceremony for all our town's babies born in 2014  :-)

8. A painful yet good conversation with a long-time family friend. It felt good to hear her viewpoint on certain things during my childhood and reassures us that we are doing fine raising our children.

9. Experiencing growing ever closer to hubbie. Sometimes, in the midst of everyday life and sleep deprivation, we almost forget that there's an "us" as well; the periods of refocussing on each other are always so special!

10. Our friends arriving back home safe and sound, and absolutely jet-lagged  :-)  We're sad they've left, but so thankful for all the memories we've got to make during the last week!

What are you thankful for this week?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (96)

Somehow, it becomes a habit of mine being late for the link-up. I have an excuse this time, that may or may not be valid and acceptable by the Guard Virgins  (you decide): visitors from across the Big Pond (yay!!) that kept me busy and running around doing touristy stuff most of the weekend.

My other thankfuls this last week:

1. My washer and dryer being on a separate electric circuit than the rest of the downstairs area. Had a bunch of sheets in the dryer when the power went off and it took me a great while to figure out that it was caused by the power tools the landscapers had plugged in outside.

2. Somehow getting most of my to-dos done before the visitors arrived.

3. Calvin finally being well enough to get his shots. He was NOT pleased and went on to complain about the rude treatment to his Auntie.

4. Having a wonderful pediatrician with an equally wonderful staff! The ladies know Calvin by name even without looking at his file, and make sure that he's treated with extra care each time.

5. Home-made cinnamon rolls. Delicious and gone within a day..

6. Having coffee and a chat with a friend before swim class. She kindly agreed to give us a ride while hubby was still out to pick up our visitors from the airport.

7. Violet making so much progress in her development. She's been doing so much better writing her name recently, and but for the "v", she doesn't need help at all any more.

8. Having our friends arrive late, but safe and sound from the beautiful state of Washington.

9. Beautiful weather to do tons of exploring outside, and some underground.

10. All the children being so well behaved on all the outings we're doing. No-one's complaining that their feet are hurting or that they are bored. I'm so, so proud of them!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tha.Speakeasy - Ten Question To Tamara

A few weeks back, the wonderful Starr invited me to join "Tha.Speakeasy" event to promote the book of a very wonderful writer, the lovely Tamara Woods. Raised in West Virginia, she started writing poetry at the age of only 12 years old and eventually published her first collection of poems, The Shaping of an "Angry" Black Woman, in 2014. She is currently living a hillbilly hermit life in Hawaii, writing on her first fiction novel, and half a world away, I get to bug this wonderful lady with a bunch of questions!!

Q: Why do you describe yourself as angry?
A: I don't describe myself as angry. I'm not angry at all.  That's the point of the book. I'm much than any one emotion. We all are.

Q: What do you see as the source of your anger?
A: I don't think I have one source of anger. There's times when things irritate me as things irritate most people.

Q: Would you consider yourself a pessimistic optimist? 

A: I think of myself as cautiously optimistic. I like to look for the good in people and their redemptive qualities, but I also realize that sometimes people do not act in an altruistic way.

Q: Are you afraid of losing your anger and with it your inspiration to write?

A: No, not at all.  Anger isn't the source of my ability to write. It's not like I'm Popeye and anger is my spinach. Emotions and observations are my inspirations for writing. As long as I can still observe the world around me and feel things,I'll be writing.

Q: How can you maintain your anger when confronted with a bunch of rainbows on a daily basis?
A: I don't maintain my anger. I don't try to be angry all of the time. I'm generally a happy person. However, the insistence that I'm angry regardless of my actual emotional state did bring about this collection of poetry.

Q: When you were a little girl, who did you envision yourself to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to be a lawyer for a long time, but then I realized I didn't want to be on stage in a court of law. I also wanted to be a headlining singer with one name like Madonna or Cher. And when we would play pretend school, I was always teacher.

Q: Looking back, do you think Little You would like who you have become?
A: Yes. She probably would want me to be singing on stage somewhere.

Q: Which one is your favorite poem?
A: From my book? My favorite poem is probably, “The Child Who Never Was,” It hurt a lot to write it and it's painful to read.  It one of the most revealing poems I've ever written, but it was cathartic and needed to be written.
Note by me: I couldn't agree more! Listening to Tamara read this poem, you feel her emotions in every single word!

Q: What role does religion or spirituality play in your life?
A: Religion isn't something that I talk about. It's very personal to me. 

Q: What time of the day do you write best?
A: Either right after I wake up. Or a couple hours before I fall into an exhausted heap on my bed.

To stay up-to-date with Tamara, follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, or visit her author page on Goodreads. To watch and listen to the wonderful Tamara reading her poetry herself, visit her YouTube channel and don't forget to be part of Tha Speakeasy event on Facebook!!