What she said … 15 Famous Women Spill Their Guts.

“Listen. I wish I could tell you that it gets better but, it doesn’t get better. YOU get better.” — Joan Rivers
Photo taken by Kathy H Porter

I miss Rivers’ wit, her ability to strip conversations of artifice. She ripped band aids off of polite conversations, nailed us with her bare bones commentary, then rolled it all up into comedy routines that kept us laughing. And, she never stopped, until one day, she did.

“Most people are brought up to believe they are as good as the person next to them, I was told I was better.” — Katharine Hepburn

Up until the time I was 12 years old, I thought that every family lived on military bases, that all dads got saluted. No one ever told me that “I was better” but, I had one hell of a role model to show me that I was. Here’s the catch: if you fail to temper this belief with genuinely wanting the best for others you become an arrogant bully.

“I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can.” — Beryl Markham WEST WITH THE NIGHT

The best way to find yourself is to crack your heart wide open, square your shoulders, grab your bag and, hit the road. Don’t look back. Home is either somewhere up ahead or waiting for your return.

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” — Margaret Atwood

Is there no getting around this? Our insistence on holding fast to ancient myths of what makes a man and what makes a woman serves no one.

“I did not think of language as the means to self-description. I thought of it as the door— a thousand opening doors! — past myself. I thought of it as the means to notice, to contemplate, to praise, and , thus, to come into power.” Mary Oliver, UPSTREAM

I worry that we’re losing our ability to engage in civil discourse; that too many of us have become complacent with “meme shouts” on Facebook and verbal rhetoric so easy to copy and paste into an endless “news” feed loop where language becomes racist and we drown.

“ Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.” — Susan B Anthony

The fierce, protective love that washed over me when I stood in the doorway of my son’s empty 4th grade classroom: his head bowed as he stood by his desk, the floor around him littered with the entire contents of his desk, anchored by an empty backpack. Kneeling down, I gathered him in my arms, whispering that even though I didn’t know how we would do it, we would find him a better, happier school.

That look in my mother-in-law’s eyes when her oncologist quietly said that there was nothing more he could do.

The morning when my 14 year old whippet, Josephine, breathed her last as she lay in the comfort of a dog bed inside of the Great Dane-sized dog crate we’d never taken down. Moments after her chest stopped moving, I watched in both certainty and disbelief as Josephine’s spirit-shroud separated from her physical body, a translucent, white ghost-dog soaring upward until she was gone.

“The world is not the most pleasant place. Eventually your parents leave you and nobody is going out of their way to protect you unconditionally. You need to learn how to stand up for yourself and what you believe and sometimes, pardon my language, kick some ass.” — Queen Elizabeth II

Some of us (many of us) can do this but, there will always be those who need the support of stronger voices and responsible guidance. May this understanding never falter.

“The critical moment of any social movement comes when someone who can think outside the box figures out that other people, rather than, say, nature or even God’s law, are the source of their oppression. O’Connor and Ginsberg each figured that out.” — Linda Hirshman writing about Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg in her book, SISTERS IN LAW

Imagine Queen Elizabeth II, Sandra Day O ‘Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg sitting down to dinner. Who would speak first, calling out that guy (because you know it was a guy) who failed to silence them? How long into the night would their shared stories swirl upwards into the air until, caught on a cool breeze outside an open window, they soar into the night sky to land with quiet assurances into the dreams of little girls?

“When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.”— Shirley Chisholm

Fight this with every breath you take. Marry loving kindness with steely resolve, seek out like-minded partners and, dig in. The hard work is about to begin. Again.

“I would rather be honest and loved than shiny and admired,” Abby Wambach

Just like the Velveteen Rabbit, we all need to become Real, to be loved for a long, long time … knowing that “ … becoming Real doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.” (excerpt from THE VELVETEEN RABBIT, by Margery Williams.)

“I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.” — Anne Lamott

This is pissed off, f@uck you, spitting mad talk: words so feisty, raw and in-your-face bad ass that the writer in you wishes you’d written them first. The little girl who lives inside of the woman you are wishes she could have put this resilience on like a coat every morning of her young life.

“George and I are complete opposites — I’m quiet, he’s talkative. I’m introverted, he’s extroverted. I can pronounce “nuclear.” — Laura Bush

Like bread crumbs dropped to mark a path, women often make the most disarming of comments, leaving clues about their marriages for those of us astute enough to pick them up, turn them over and wonder.

“On the days when there are no words, there are stiff drinks and pulling weeds.” -Kathy H Porter

Some days are like that.