Sing it with me, you know you want to. Do it for Whitney.
I’m every woman.
It’s all in me.
Anything you want done, baby,
I’ll do it naturally.
For all of her troubles, Whitney Houston could sing the hell out of a song, and this one in particular, first done by Chaka Khan in 1978, is an anthem to women everywhere. We hear this and we want to sing along because it’s so true–we are every woman. (The key to being every woman, of course, is not to be them all at one time.)
My invitation to be a featured guest for the celebration of Blacklisted from the PTA‘s one-year birthday says we are celebrating “chicks, sips, & shoes.” (Read below to find out how to win an autographed copy of the book.) That’s pretty easy for me to do. It wasn’t until my mid-30′s that chicks, sips, and shoes held any interest for me. Something really wonderful happened in the midst of my mid-life crisis, though. I finally figured out what the female friendship thing is all about. I began a love of shoes that I’d never had before. I learned to drink. (That last one isn’t a boast. I just had never been a drinker and being in the midst of a mid-life crisis just sort of requires it.)
By mid-life I have also been a lot of the different women Whitney Houston croons about, and I have the shoes and sips to prove it.
My everyday woman, the one who likes to hang out at West Mountain Brewery in Fayetteville, Arkansas and run into the funkier side of Fayetteville, likes to wear hiking shoes and drink beer, preferably domestic. As often as she can, she wears her favorite t-shirt, the one that says “Out of wine. Life sucks” and her old Levi’s with bleach splatters at the bottom and the tear in the pocket.
One of the less visible women these days is the athlete. She played six different sports in high school, was on as many college intramural teams as she could sign up for, and ran in a few road races here and there. She hiked across Spain. She has a fabulous bike that doesn’t have nearly enough miles on it because she’s so busy being every woman, doin’ anything you want done, baby. The athlete would prefer to drink beer when she is working out, but she drinks her water.
Social woman gets pretty wound up and tries as hard as possible to never miss a party. Unfortunately, she is known to rule the house. My degree in Armchair Psychology tells me it’s because she sometimes felt left out of the good times being had by her high school peers, which is surely an outgrowth of the common teenage belief that everyone else is somewhere having fun without you. Social woman likes fruity things like strawberry margaritas, her Tevas, and a good deck on a warm Southern evening. When drinking things like margaritas and wearing Tevas, the best jokes are told, the biggest belly laughs are had, and the warmest friendships are made.
The Woman with the Red Shoes makes appearances here and there, and she loves her red pumps more than just about anything. She finds it entertaining to cross one leg over the other and swing that red-pumped foot just a bit. Mostly she admires it herself, but the compliments from men and women are warmly welcomed. The Woman with the Red Shoes sips white wine (red wine makes her chest and neck all blotchy) and talks with her hands. She usually pulls out the Red Shoes for fancy social events, but they have been known to make subversive appearances with suit pants and other career wear.
The Mom is often not fit for public appearances. She likes her long Razorback gym shorts, the ones intended for boys to wear for basketball, and over-sized t-shirts she got when she worked for Gap approximately one hundred years ago. The Mom wears old New Balance mule sneakers to take out the trash, drop off the kiddo for practice, and go to the grocery store. The Mom drinks an occasional Coke and draws from the stash of Miller Lite she keeps in the fridge.
Oh, we are all these women and so many more, aren’t we ladies? Lela Davidson’s Blacklisted from the PTA is a reminder that we can celebrate all these women we are, laugh at them, love them, but most of all, just be them, all of them.
Leave a comment below telling us about one of YOUR women. I’ll draw a name randomly from the comments and that winner will get a signed copy of Blacklisted!  Angie Albright, author of A Growing Season