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Wonder Woman is the Super Hero I Need

Like so many others, I saw Wonder Woman last week and I loved it. I was fully expecting to like the movie, but even if I didn’t, I was 100% on board with my money going toward a movie starring a female action hero, that was directed by a woman. Which brings me back to my first statement, I was fully expecting to like this movie. After hearing friends talk about it, I had cautiously raised the bar of anticipation. Even so, this movie far exceeded my expectations. What came completely out of the blue though, was how profoundly it affected me. I’m 35 years old, I figured the days of getting pumped up and inspired by a super-hero movie were behind me. But then I sat and watched for two hours as a strong woman lead men and at no point was she referred to as a bitch, or a ball-buster, or was made fun of or told she was manly because of her strength. And amazingly, she was able to do all of this while still retaining her femininity. What?!?!?!?! How is that possible? That must be some Hollywood magic.

Whenever I’m in a group, I usually wind up leading it whether I want to or not. Trust me, there are times that I just want to kick back and go with the flow, but the next thing I know I’ve been nominated to take charge. People who know me, know that if I’m leading the group, shit will get done and it will get done well. I will lead the charge to the finish line and I prefer if you pull your weight, but we all know there will be at least one person per group who just wants to skate by doing nothing. I will drag that person kicking and screaming with me if that’s the only option left to me. This is why people ask me to lead, I pick up the slack of the weaker links.


What sucks, is that those very same people who want me in charge, are also the ones calling me a bitch. I have lost track of how many times I have heard someone whisper to their friend how huge of a bitch I am, and then turn around and ask me to lead them. It blows, but it’s something that I have always accepted as being the way of things. It was my price to pay. For what I don’t know? Having my personality? Who knows? I accepted that it was the way it would always be.

I’m sure what added to the “bitch persona,” is the fact that I am not a petite woman. There is nothing about me that is petite. My shoulders are so broad that I’ve hulked out the seams on more shirts and jackets than I care to admit . . . some of them in fitting rooms. But frankly, if the shirt isn’t actually an extra-large, they shouldn’t label it as an extra-large. That being said, I’m wearing an extra-large shirt right now, and the shoulder seams hit about an inch onto my shoulder. So really an extra-large doesn’t fit either.


My frame does not fit into the criteria of classic femininity. The way that I bulk on muscle, unless I’m excruciatingly careful about how I exercise, makes me look more like a body builder than a curvaceous woman. I can’t wear short sleeve shirts unless the arms are made of a material that can stretch, because my biceps are too big. I easily carried my forty pound dog up and down the stairs several times a day for four months when he tore his ACL. I am tall, I am broad, I am strong, and as if that weren’t enough I have a deep voice. I have been called a dude, butch, manly, one of the guys for so long that it takes me aback when a guy flirts with me. For an emergency, a deadline, hard advice, call Kat. For a good time or a hot date, call someone else.

Entertainment confirms this image. The big and strong girls are the comedic relief, or the ones that help carry the plot so the petite main character can live happily ever after. These are the roles for the non-feminine girls, and don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean ugly. You can be beautiful, but the second you’re the same size as 50% or more of the men in the room, you are no longer feminine enough to be a heroine or a love interest. The second you move from the girl being lifted in dance choreography to the girl doing the lifting because you don’t have enough guys, is the moment you lose the descriptor, feminine.

So imagine my amazement at watching these kick-ass fight scenes with bulked-out, strong AF women who exuded femininity. The Amazons were strong, fierce and had costumes that accentuated their strength more than their sex-appeal. And better yet, instead of being the ‘manly’ women, or the ones who take care of the other more petite women, they were just women. Even Wonder Woman’s classic uniform still paid tribute to its sexy forbearers, but it again shows her strength more than her curves. Compare the necklines and the waist size of the two women.

Old vs New WW

If I lost every ounce of fat on my body, I still couldn’t look like Lynda Carter. Gal Godot, that’s doable. I would still have to lose every ounce of fat on my body, but I could achieve that body shape. Broad shoulders, tall, discernible waist but not an hourglass. And most importantly, strong AF, and not apologizing for it or hiding it. Not apologizing for stepping out to take the lead, and not apologizing for breaking the classic mold of femininity. For the first time in my life, I left a movie loving the fact that I am strong and that I can put on muscle. I left a movie wanting to work out and get that muscle definition back. I left feeling that I can be just as feminine as my more petite counter-parts.

I was not expecting to get that kind of body-positive affirmations from a comic book super-hero movie. Consider my mind blown. Especially when I logged onto social media and saw this kind of reaction across the board. Petite women felt empowered. Larger women felt empowered. Average size women felt empowered. By treating a female super-hero like they would have treated a male super-hero, women across the country felt empowered. Feminism is not the desire to be treated better than men. It is the desire to be treated on an equal plane with men. The things we can learn from comic books. Go figure.

How I Chose My Candidate

Anyone who follows me on Facebook knows very clearly that Hillary Clinton has my vote in November. I post about her often and have gotten into more than a handful of conversations with people. One of the things that I see more than anything else from Hillary-Haters is this sentiment, “Give me a reason other than she is a woman or she is better than Trump.” Which is absolutely fair. This is your vote and I completely respect people’s desires to want to vote for a candidate who will best represent them and their beliefs. Neither of those two answers is adequate.


There are multiple reasons that HRC has my vote. Looking at her resume alone, she is one of the most qualified people to ever run for the presidency. She has extensive international diplomacy experience, has dealt with the military, knows firsthand how the Senate runs, knows firsthand what life in the White House is like and has similar if not the same stances on the majority of the major issues as me. See below. Not to mention, anybody that can weather as much criticism and backlash as she has and still be standing, much less functioning at a high level, has the fortitude to withstand a presidency. As a glass-ceiling-breaker she has been put up against higher standards then any male politician. From my study of other glass-ceiling-breakers in America, this is par for the course. She has weathered the storm with grace. And last but not least, the more that I read about her the more her tenacity and “fuck your expectations, I don’t care if I’m a woman” attitude reminds me of myself. The fact that she is a woman is just icing on the cake.

As far as my comparison of the issues, I started in two places. This information below was taken from the results of the quiz on www.iSidewith.com. As I work full time I don’t have the luxury of being able to look up all of this info on separate independent websites and compile my own results. I needed a jumping off point to know where to begin my research and what my research should focus on. In the quiz itself I clicked the “Other Stances” button to read all of the options for each question. At the end of each big issues, I clicked on “answer more questions about . . .” and continued to do this until I had answered every question available. There is also a nifty “Learn More” button next to each question. I clicked on and read almost every one of them. Some categories have many more questions than others, so it’s obviously not perfect. But for a jumping off point, really handy. Here are my results. I was actually surprised by Jill Stein, which warranted more investigation.

Candidates you side with…

89% – Hillary Clinton on social, domestic policy, economic, immigration, healthcare, environmental, science, education, and electoral issues.

87% – Jill Stein on social, domestic policy, economic, foreign policy, immigration, environmental, healthcare, science, education, and electoral issues.

65% – Gary Johnson on social, immigration, and electoral issues.

27% – Donald Trump on no major issues.

Next I looked at www.ontheissues.com which lays out each candidate, the issues and multiple quotes of their stances over time. Awesome! And wouldn’t you know it, they have a candidate picker quiz too. This one’s cool because it lets you see how you line up with senators, mayors, etc as well. However, it only asks 20 pretty basic questions. (To save time, use your back navigation button to switch which candidates you’re comparing yourself to. That way you don’t have to redo the quiz each time!) Again, this is not perfect, but it’s nice to see how this one compared to the other. I still scored with Hillary as first and Trump as last, however, the gap between Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein was bigger, and reading all of Stein’s quotes I think the bigger gap is more accurate. She’s a little too liberal for me.

This is where I started. The quizzes aside, both of these sites are great resources because of all of the questions have snippets about what the questions is talking about. On The Issues has links for every issue. It is really hard to research a topic that you know nothing about. I will be the first to admit that I am not well versed in all of the major topics. My understanding of economics is abysmal. These websites provided me with a launching point to know what and if I wanted to do research on something specific. That allowed me to brush up on, or learn about the issues themselves, decide where I stood and then match it up to a candidate. I have also read my share of articles, watched speeches and shared more than a few memes spouting rhetoric. But this is where I started, and I am more than happy to have intelligent, respectful conversations about any of it, because there is still plenty that I have to learn. Especially economics. My understanding there is still abysmal.




My Ideal Body Image

In part because it is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, but also because it has really been on mind lately, I’ve dedicated this week’s blog posts to body image. On Tuesday, I talked about Why Do We Hate Ourselves, and in that blog I talk quite a bit about how much it truly matters what words we use to describe ourselves. But really, I think it also matters what words we use to describe each other, and what words we use to describe our ideal. I don’t care how liberated, or free-thinking you are, I’m sure you have an image or a concept of what an ideal female body looks like. That could be skinny, fit, lean, curvy, flexible, resilient or any other number of adjectives. To be completely honest with you, none of those words hold any sway with me. I couldn’t care less which of those words would be best to describe my body. The only description that I care about, my ideal, comes down to one word – healthy.

Female Body Shapes

For almost a year now, I have hop-scotched from one minor illness to another, never quite getting back to 100% in between. I’m still not at 100% and have appointments with four specialists over the next two weeks. At this point, I don’t know how much longer my journey will be until I am at 100%, but through the journey thus far, I have learned two things to be absolutely true:

  1. You’re not a hypochondriac if there’s actually something wrong. Don’t ignore persistent symptoms, get them checked out. Better to be told that you’re fine and all is well, than let something minor build into something serious.
  2. I would choose to be healthy (whatever that happens to look like) over any other physical attribute every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Without a second’s hesitation.

Instead of focusing on being super-skinny, or applauding all of the curvy ladies or that thigh gap that was all the rage (have people finally figured out that that’s a genetic thing, and no amount of adductor exercises will give you one?) I say that we all start focusing on whether or not we are healthy. Instead of obsessing over the number on the scale, how about we obsess over our cholesterol levels or blood pressure. After having a baby, why don’t we strive to get back to our pre-baby 5K time instead of striving to get back into our pre-baby jeans? Instead of focusing on how we look in the mirror, let’s start focusing on how we look throughout the day.

Do you have enough energy and stamina for a full day of activities? Can you run around and play with kids, or easily take a flight or two of stairs if the elevator is out? In an emergency situation are you be able to run away from danger, or walk a mile or two if your car runs out of gas? Can you be on your feet for more than an hour or two (in good shoes) without joints hurting or getting a headache? Can you splurge at someone’s birthday party without worrying about your cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar spiking? (Or if the answer to that is no, are you taking active measures to regulate the issue?) Can you splurge and be happy at a birthday party without beating yourself up for the calorie intake? These are the questions that I care about. These are the questions that we should all care about. If you are healthy and happy, why should it matter what your butt looks like in a pair of yoga pants? Why should it matter if you have a “mom pooch,” stretch marks or a few extra pounds?


The smallest size that I have ever been in my life is a size 8, which for my 5’9”, very broad frame, was tiny. And I can tell you right now, both times that I reached that size I was far from healthy. Yes, I looked kickin’ in a mini-skirt, but internally my body was not functioning at its prime. My blood pressure was so low that more often than not I blacked out if I stood up too fast, I was anemic and from my limited food intake, was not getting all of the essential nutrients that I needed. I was also so stressed out I couldn’t see straight. That is most definitely not my ideal.

Right now, at a size 14-16, I’m not at my ideal either. I am however actively working to get there, and none of those actions involve extreme dieting, weighing myself on a regular basis, or constantly exercising. My focus is 100% on getting healthy. Which includes eating foods that are good for me, exercising, taking recommended supplements, and seeking out/following the advice of my healthcare professionals. I want to be healthy, and when I achieve that I figure everything else will have worked itself out to where it needs to be. Maybe it’s because it has been a while since I’ve been healthy, but when push comes to shove, I can’t think of anything else that is more important. So shouldn’t our ideal body type be healthy?


Why Do We Hate Ourselves?

I don’t know why, but I’ve been noticing a lot more than usual how negative women are about their bodies. I don’t think this is because I’ve started hanging around particularly negative people lately, I think it’s more to do with the fact that for whatever reason I have begun to notice it, where before I must have ignored it. After all, it’s endemic. If you stop and pay attention for that specifically you’ll start to hear women in the coffee shop, the elevator, the bathroom (especially the bathroom), etc. talk about how much they HATE some part of their body. Women hate their curly hair, their straight hair, their big noses, their small teeth, their fat ankles, their thick thighs, their non-existent butts, the wrinkles on their forehead, mouth, eyes, hands etc., etc., etc. I truly believe that if you listen long enough to enough women you will hear that there is at least one woman out there that hates every single part of the female body. I honestly don’t think there is a body part that will escape scrutiny, and that makes me sad.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely complained about my own body. For example, my ears don’t match. Seriously, they look completely different, like they’re from two totally different people. How does that even happen? As far as I know, ears are supposed to be a matched set, emphasis on matched! (Also, side note, do you have any idea how hard it is to take pictures of your own ears?)

Right Ear

Left ear
















I also have insanely long and skinny toes. They’ve been called everything from prehensile to gross, thank you to my sister for that one. Not to mention my feet are so narrow it’s impossible to find shoes that fit, so I always have redness or some sort of blister on my pinky toes that is impossible to hide when wearing sandals and always draws notice.



That being said, I don’t hate those things about myself. They are part of what make-up the quirky package that is Kat Michels, so how can I hate a part without eventually hating the whole? Let me say that again. How can you hate a part of yourself, without it eventually creeping in and causing a hatred of your whole self? Hate is an insidious thing, and if you give it purchase anywhere, it will eventually have purchase everywhere. So every time I hear a woman say that she hates some aspect of her appearance, it breaks my heart a little bit, because each utterance and each thought is a hammer blow on the chisel lodged in that woman’s self-worth. We as women determine our own self-worth, it comes from inside us. So every time we disparage ourselves, it gets chipped away a little bit.

I know that a lot of people will argue that they don’t actually ‘hate’ whatever body part it was that they mentioned. To them I ask, why do you say you do then? What do you actually mean if you don’t ‘hate’ it? Do you not like it, or do you wish it was different? How is that better? Why do we spend so much time fixating on the things that we don’t like? Especially things about our physical body that can’t be changed! How can you hate the wrinkles on your forehead? They are proof that you have gotten to spend time out in the sun – some of it hopefully in leisure – they are often times proof that you have smiled, sometimes they are proof that you were gravely ill, but were able to pull through, and they are irrevocable proof that you have lived long enough to get wrinkles. That is a privilege that is denied to so many, that I can’t understand where the hate comes from.


A similar argument can be made for any other body part that women hate, but better yet, let’s stop justifying things based on other people’s misfortunes. Let’s turn the focus on ourselves. Each and every body part, each aspect of our appearance makes up part of who we are. Yes, the total is greater than the sum of its parts, but the parts matter too. Not only do they matter, but how we talk about them to ourselves and to others matters. I truly believe that we need to learn to not only be nicer, but be more positive to ourselves. Instead of fixating on what we hate, we should be fixating on what we love, no matter how small. I’m not saying that you have to love each and every part of your body. That is asking way too much. But I have a feeling that if you shift your focus to the parts of you that you love, you’ll soon discover that those other parts of you all of a sudden don’t matter so much anymore. Because like hate, if you give love a place to roost, it will take over the whole damn place. And to me, that doesn’t sound too bad.


**It was brought to my attention that I should mention that I have not always felt this way or had this kind of confidence when it comes to my body. I spent all of middle and high school wishing that I could walk around with a paper bag over my head because my acne made me feel like I was hideous and gross. Even when I got to college and the acne was gone, I still didn’t have anything nice or complimentary to say about myself or my appearance. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties, with the guidance of a therapist and several years of persistent work to change my inner monologue, that I made it to where I am today.

Feminist With a Small “f”

Growing up I always vociferously declared that I was not a feminist. To me, being a feminist was a bad thing because feminists were all about burning bras, down with men, men suck and women are goddesses. Quite frankly, that’s just not how I roll. In my mind, men and women are equal despite society/history’s insistence that we’re not. Therefore, to accomplish that equality, men do not need to be torn down, women need to rise. Pretty simple concept in thought, not so simple in practice. With that belief and the work that I have been drawn to, it has become abundantly clear that I am indeed a feminist and that’s a good thing. I am simply a feminist with a small “f” (second definition) as opposed to a feminist with a capital “F” (first definition). It is through that distinction that I have been able to finally, comfortably declare myself a feminist.


However, I’ve discovered that the more research that I do into under-represented women in our past and the more that I read things about under-representation in our present the more that it seeps into my everyday thoughts and the more miserable I get. For example, some friends and I went to see the new Planes movie “Fire and Rescue.” An animated kid’s movie for a cute 90 minute diversion. However, instead of enjoying the show, I left frustrated, hating the movie because I had spent the entire time examining it under a feminist magnifying glass. (For anybody that hasn’t seen it, and doesn’t want spoilers, I would suggest that you stop reading.)

In the movie, there are three memorable female characters. The first we meet is a mechanic – nice, female representation in what is primarily a male dominated profession. The second is a plane in the Fire and Rescue division – again nice female representation. The third is a sweet little old camper lady on vacation with her sweet little old camper husband – gonna reserve judgment on this one. Now as the movie progresses we discover that the female mechanic, who is touted for being an amazing mechanic, is unable to fix our lead character’s engine. Not only can’t she fix it, but she sadly informs him that it can’t be fixed, no way, no how and they can’t find a replacement. Flash forward to the end and the main Fire and Rescue mechanic, who is a man, builds our lead character a brand new engine like it’s no big deal, completely invalidating the expertise of the female mechanic.

Let’s take a look at the second female character – the Fire and Rescue plane. Yes, she works in this great job and she’s good at what she does. However, the primary focus of this character isn’t when she’s working, but during the down time in between. What we see there is a dingy, sex-crazed, socially-awkward woman who unabashedly pursues the main character, despite the fact that he never gives her any indication that he’s interested. This tells us that for a woman to want to hold that kind of job then clearly it’s because there is something lacking in her personality so she is unable to get a husband and settle down. Awesome.

Now let’s move on to the sweet little old camper couple. They venture off to visit the bridge where they met, and of course that’s when the wildfire kicks in and really starts raging. So they’re trapped and have to be saved by our hero the main character. However, when we finally see them on the burning bridge they aren’t both huddled together awaiting a rescue. Oh, no! The woman is practically dangling off the bridge, being held up by her husband. In a situation where both a man and a woman needed rescuing, they had to make it so that the woman needed rescuing more. The silly broad couldn’t stay away from the edge and now she’s made herself a helpless victim twice over.

I was so bitter and frustrated. From an animated movie for kids. Let me repeat that, an animated movie, for kids, left me bitter and frustrated. After I had time to cool down and shake it off, I realized how ridiculous I was being. Instead of just enjoying the stupid animated movie and relaxing for 90 minutes I had fixated on everything that I deemed to be wrong. Instead of focusing on the intended message that you have to face your fears and sometimes you have to be willing to sacrifice yourself in order to help others, I focused on the fact that I wasn’t satisfied with the female characters. It was at this moment that I stopped and asked myself, to be a feminist, do I really have to be a feminist all the time? Do I really have to be on the look-out for every little indiscretion, or slight that is perpetrated toward women at all times, everywhere? Or am I allowed to leave the battlefield behind from time to time and simply live? Live without a bigger purpose, without a betterment in mind. Simply live for the pleasure of the moment, which may mean that I will occasionally enjoy things that don’t fall in line with the feminist agenda.

Tunnel Vision

My conclusion, absolutely. I am not the type of person that can crusade for a cause 24/7 without losing my mind and just being miserable. I know that about myself, I have to split my focus. There is a reason that I find Lucy Stone so much more intriguing and influential than Susan B. Anthony, and that is because Lucy refused to have tunnel vision. Susan B. Anthony and her contingent fought tooth and nail for women’s rights and tried to quash any legislature that did not positively address women – feminist with a capital “F.” On the other hand, Lucy Stone fought tooth and nail for women’s suffrage, but she also fought tooth and nail for abolition and rights for African Americans – feminist with a small “f.” She believed that rights and empowerment for any marginalized group was a step in the right direction for gaining rights and empowerment for all marginalized groups. Her fight for women’s suffrage never lessoned, she simply understood that there were other things in life worthy of her attention as well. Now I’m not saying that I am anywhere near the caliber of a Lucy Stone, I am way too selfish to be placed amongst the likes of her. However, I think we can all benefit from widening our perspective and recognizing that there may be things outside of our main goals that are worthy of our attention too.


I have always considered myself a strong woman both mentally and physically. I keep my cool in emergencies and I am usually one of the first people to act. I’m 5’9”, I have a broad frame and I pack on muscle just by looking at a set of weights. I am larger and stronger than the average woman and because of years of stage combat and self-defense training I would fare much better than the average woman in a fight. Yet the UCSB attack and the emergence of the #YesAllWomen campaign has really made me think. I am very fortunate in the fact that I have never been in a verbally or physically abusive relationship with a man. I am also very fortunate that I have never been sexually abused or assaulted. Sadly, this puts me in a minority group. I have lost track of how many of my friends have been raped. When I really stop and think about it, the number is mind boggling. It breaks my heart that I have friends that have to differentiate between when they forcibly lost their virginity and when they chose to lose their virginity. I can’t even begin to imagine the horrors that exist in their past.


Then I realize, that to a certain degree I can, because like them, I live every day in fear. I have never had any of these atrocities acted upon my body, yet there is an ever present warning light in the back of my mind reminding me that my turn could be just around the corner. I am not a victim, yet. All of the strength and training that I possess may not be enough to stop the inevitable. That’s right, the inevitable. I think every young woman, if she’s honest with herself, expects to be harmed by a man at some point in her lifetime. And that’s not right. There are a lot of really great men in this world, but they aren’t the ones that we’re taught about. So we’re afraid. I am afraid . . .

Because admitting that I’ve never been raped will eventually be met with the quip, “Challenge accepted!” and no one will be there to shame the man that says it.

Because I was taught to scream ‘fire’ or ‘fight’ instead of ‘rape’ or ‘help’ because the former will draw attention and the latter will not.

Because I was trained to carry my purse so that I can swing it at an attacker in a moment’s notice.

Because I was taught that you never open the door to an unknown man after dark, because obviously he is there to rape and kill you.

Because I’ve said yes to sex, even when I didn’t want to, because I was afraid of what might happen if I said no even though the man had shown no signs of aggression. Better to have the semblance of a choice, then have the choice removed completely.

Because I was given a “rape whistle” at my college orientation, and I knew girls that needed it for that purpose.

Because in college my friends and my reaction to men sticking their hands up our skirts at a dance club was either to avoid clubs completely, or make sure that we always wore pants.

Because I automatically start going over my self-defense training whenever I’m alone at night and see a man.

Because I sleep with a dagger by my bed, and nobody questions why it’s there.

Because I live my life with this insidious fear I have the tiniest glimpse into what life must be like for the women who are less fortunate than me. That makes my heart ache and my very soul cry. We should not have to live like this. #YesAllWomen deserve equality, but more importantly we deserve to be safe.

One of Those Days

Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the role that pantyhose play.  There are definitely days that I am a fan of the “control top.”  And who hasn’t put on their last pair of clean dress pants only to immediately spill coffee all over them and thank the stars for a pair of dark colored nylons to cover up the fact that you decided to sleep in an extra fifteen minutes instead of shaving your legs?  These are all good things, and for people as lily white as me, a good pair of pantyhose is the only way you will ever see my legs with that oh so attractive tanned hue.  But unless you happen to be the exact size of the pantyhose model, they don’t fit right.  If you’re short you get build up at the ankle.  If you’re tall the crotch lands just above the knee.  I don’t even think they fit right on averaged sized people and don’t get me started on knee highs!  There has got to be some sort of pantyhose fairy that goes around to make sure that whatever size you buy, no matter how long you study that little chart on the back, something about them won’t quite fit right.

I am well aware of this. Yet somehow I always forget while getting dressed in that rosy-hued, half-asleep oblivion of the morning where I believe that I will actually be comfortable wearing women’s clothing all day, that at some point during the day there will be a pantyhose meltdown.  A point at which the pantyhose revolt, and refuse to play nicely anymore.  They stage a coup on your comfort and sanity and you wind up with the crotch twisted up against your inner thigh which cuts off circulation to your other leg a little bit and no matter how much you tug, shimmy and cajole they won’t budge!  So you fight and struggle with them until finally in your frustration you pull just a little too hard, or your nail catches just so and a huge run screams down the length of your leg faster than you can exclaim, “WHAT NEW SWEET HELL IS THIS?”

Sometimes this melt down happens at the end of the day.  But on some glorious, I love being a woman days it happens the second you are far enough away from the house that it is no longer practical to go back and remedy the situation.  Forget a horse, my kingdom for a razor and some shaving cream so that I can rip these suckers off once and for all and go about my day like the somewhat sane person that I usually am.  Although that’s not really an option either, because you just know that the second you start, that woman from the office down the hall with the styled hair, perfect make-up and never a seam out of place on her matchy-matchy outfits will walk in and give you that look.  You know the look that I’m talking about.  That haughty, “You call yourself a woman, get your act together!” look.

So you suffer in silence, escaping to the bathroom on regular intervals to tug and cajole but usually only succeed in making the situation worse.  Until one time you’re in there losing the battle and she walks in.  You brace yourself for the look, but it never comes.  Instead she gives you a look of commiseration and takes off her suit jacket so she can fight with her rogue bra strap.  Then it hits you, she’s not perfect.  Like you, she’s just trying to keep her shit together and make it through the day.  So you shelf that little green jealousy monster, and adjust the bra strap of the perfect stranger.  Why?  Because solidarity sister, our clothing is out to get us; we have to stick together.

How it All Started

I’ve been a fan of history for as long as I can remember.  Not in a memorize dates and names of battles and all the generals that ever lived sort of way – don’t give me a quiz, I will fail miserably.  More in a fascinated by the motivations that caused people to act and behave the way that they did, that can only be studied in hind sight sort of way.  I credit this fascination to my father.  He was a history major and then taught history in high school for a spell.  I have a feeling that he was one of those teachers that made the subject interesting and memorable; the way that all history should be taught.  I guess this, because this is how he taught me history, not in the classroom but at home.  Much more emphasis was placed on the whys and wherefores as opposed to the specific dates, times and names.  My childhood was spent watching more WWII movies than I can even recount.  I still have a special place in my heart for “Father Goose” and “Operation Petticoat,” gotta love Cary Grant.  Come to think of it, I still have a special place in my heart for Cary Grant . . .

At any rate, I find history fascinating.  So when I was visiting a friend in Richmond, Virginia and she suggested that we go tour the White House of the Confederacy I said yes.  We wondered through all of the exhibits, read about the little toy cannon that actually fired tiny little cannon balls that Jefferson Davis had made for his son and, like all museums, I wound up in the gift shop.  While perusing the merchandise, I came across this little booklet.  It was less than 70 pages long and it was about female spies in the Civil War.  To say that I was intrigued would be an understatement.  I sat down in the middle of the gift shop and started reading.  It was amazing!  In this time of women in petticoats that were put up on pedestals, here were stories detailing how they would use those very petticoats to hide correspondence.  They would use their perceived “frailty” to continue passing information even after being caught and jailed for being a spy!

These women were brilliant and cunning and brave, and sitting there reveling in their tales a melancholy fell over me.  How had I never heard of these women before?  Why, in an entire museum, was there more about a tiny toy cannon, than an entire group of operatives, which I later learned had major impacts on battles and eventually the course of the war?  I found this sad.  So I bought the booklet.  Then finished my vacation, went home and for the most part forgot about it.  But in the back of my head these women kept kicking around, and the next thing I knew there was a story forming.  It started out as a TV show – a period piece for Showtime or HBO.  It wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles and a friend out here convinced me that this idea of mine was better suited as a book.  Yes, I essentially moved to Los Angeles to turn my TV show into a novel.  Enjoy the irony, I do.

This is when I finally sat down and started to write the novel In a Time Never Known.  It is the story of Anna and Kady, two southern ladies, a mother, daughter duo, who are spies for the Union.  We get to see the sacrifices that they make, the people they encounter and the lengths that they are willing to go in our country’s darkest hour.  Now my spies are fictional, but I’d like to think that the spirits of the likes of Elizabeth Van Lew, Belle Boyd, Mary Elizabeth Bowser, Rose Greenhow and the Moon sisters to name a few are present throughout the pages.  These are the characters that I have fallen in love with, and these are the characters that I would like to introduce to you . . . in my next post . . . because this one’s really long already . . . and I kinda want to go to bed . . .