Embrace Your Inner-Weird

If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.

~~ Tallulah Bankhead

As the Kalamazoo Growlers put the screws to the Rockford Rivets on a recent Saturday afternoon, a group of 50+ year-old people (men and women) sat under the baking sun, discussing what age they would choose if given the opportunity to travel back to a younger day. Not surprisingly, no one wanted to be in their twenties again. After all, most twenty-somethings in my day were cash-poor and working at McDonald’s to supplement college classes and nights at Wayside.

But what was surprising is that no one in this lively group wanted to relive their thirties either. The overwhelming go-to age to revisit if given the chance?

Forty.

Because it takes forty damn years to finally get comfortable in our skin and accepting of who we are. So, with help from the rear-view mirror, here are the bits of wisdom I would share with my 18-year-old self…

Heidi and Silvia Camping - 5-85

My sister & my 24-year-old self.

Embrace your inner-weird – Part theater geek, part tomboy—I knew I wasn’t your average kid way back then. I just didn’t know that I could celebrate my quirky inner-weird. Remember that oddly talented girl in school who didn’t care what people thought of her? Be her.

Relax – If only someone had taken me aside when I was a mere twenty-something and told me to relax—that I was only halfway to becoming my whole self. While teens envision 30-year-olds as being grownups, the truth is, at 50+ I’m still looking forward to reaching grownup status.

Take that summer job at Yellowstone – Or the camping trip with friends to the U.P. The point is, celebrate your newfound independence. You may think that you have your entire life to travel but life is about twists and turns, and before you know it, you’ll be pushing a stroller through Disney World and holding your mother’s hand in the nursing home. Yep, it goes by that fast so it’s OK to be a little selfish now.

Make your own mistakes – Oprah Magazine once featured the following tips for succeeding in life – “Learn from the mistakes made by others.” I could not disagree more, for I have never learned from watching others make mistakes. In fact, if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not living. Legendary actress Tallulah Bankhead had it right with her wisdom that mistakes should be made often and earlier. Don’t spend your life on the sidelines watching others have all the fun—make your own mistakes. Heck, I don’t even care if you make some of the same mistakes twice.

The advice I would give my younger self? Embrace your inner-weird and enjoy the ride—mistakes and all!

What’s a Girl to do?

Does everyone lose when girls are forced to choose between Girl Scouts and the all new Scouts?  

scout photoWith the simple removal of one word, a firestorm opened up on a centuries-old organization known for helping boys build campfires and character. After recent years of facing criticism and opposition from the socially-minded community for suppressing freedom of gender preference and identification, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is soon changing the name of their Boy Scouts program to simply, Scouts BSA.

While this has appeased the more progressive-minded, some parents along with many in the faith-leaning population are taking the organization to task, claiming that BSA is pandering to left-wing activists and losing its way as an organization established with the mission to assist young men on their journey of exploring life and their own identity. No girls allowed.

After all, girls have their own organization. Girl Scouts of the USA has been around for nearly as long as BSA (1910 and 1912 respectively) and offers not only the “get your fingernails dirty” camp-style activities found at BSA but also programs that appeal specifically to girls. With the new Welcome Girls! sign now hanging over the door at BSA, where does this leave the parents of little Emma  who’s looking for a merit badge? And what does this mean for the once-amicable relationship between Girls Scouts and BSA?

With the announcement of the new Scouts program, BSA faces the loss of support from the Mormon Church which has declared that they are severing ties with BSA and taking the memberships of over 400,000 boys with them. With BSA membership numbers falling at an alarming rate, growth needs to come from somewhere and while targeting girls may seem like a logical solution, it comes at the expense of another organization whose sole mission is to provide a safe environment where young women can empower themselves while gaining compassion, courage and confidence. And like the BSA, Girl Scouts is experiencing its own recruitment challenges. Children today have a multitude of afterschool activities to choose from—from soccer, dance and cheerleading to debate, tennis, volunteering and theatre. Parents are overwhelmed, and children are stretched tighter than rubber bands resulting in families passing on signing their children up for an organization that may have passed its relevance years ago.

Except it hasn’t. In fact, both organizations offer more benefits than ever for boys and girls. And today, as women recognize that they no longer have to sit on the sidelines, girls now have the option of joining Girl Scouts or the soon to be, Scouts, BSA. And while both organizations have much to offer young women, the two organizations still differ on many fronts, with Girl Scouts still offering a tremendous advantage over Scouts, BSA.

Studies within Girl Scouts show that young women partaking in activities within a single-gender environment achieve greater growth and satisfaction in a variety of ways…

Better performance – Improved scores on achievement tests in a variety of subjects

Stronger ambitions – Higher career and educational aspirations

School Completion – More likely to finish high school

Self-Confidence  – Enhanced self-assurance and positive personal judgement

Employment Security – Higher probability of employment after graduation

Social Awareness – More politically and socially aware and involved

Whether parents choose to enroll their daughters in Girl Scouts or Scouts, BSA, the good news is that girls now have a choice. While Scouts, BSA is now welcoming and actively recruiting girls, it’s safe to say that this organization was created with young men in mind, and simply erasing the word Boy isn’t going to erase decades of a belief system that this organization was created as a place where boys can be boys, and girls are an afterthought.

So, while girls are soon to be welcome at Scouts, BSA, Girl Scouts offers a more complete setting for programs and activities designed for young women. Even still, for young women looking for something more hands-on, Scouts, BSA may be the answer. A mother in West Michigan recently pulled her daughter out of Girl Scouts because her daughter complained that her troupe, “Did a lot of sitting around, talking about feelings.” While Girl Scouts offers a balanced focus ranging from science and life skills classes to political and entrepreneurship programs, this particular girl might feel more at home at Scouts, BSA where building campfires and racing pinewood derby cars are commonplace.

Not everyone is thrilled about the news of Scouts, BSA opening its doors to girls. Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo is quoted in a recent USA Today article as saying, “ We are disappointed that Boy Scouts of America has chosen to open its program to girls in contravention of its charter, rather than focusing on the 90% of American boys not being served by Boy Scouts. We believe strongly in the importance of the safe, all-girl, girl-led and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides.”

Even locally, Girl Scouts is feeling the pressure of the push by the local Scouts, BSA Chapter to enlist girls—believing that Scouts BSA is undermining the principle mission of the Girl Scouts—providing girls with experiences and adventures in a safe all-female environment while also serving as a support system to young women during challenging times in their lives.

Scouts, BSA will never replace Girl Scouts and shouldn’t, and parents need to simply see it as one more option for young women—and that’s a good thing.

Still a Man’s World

“My name is Heidi McCrary,” I explained to the guy on the other end of the phone. I was calling the pro shop at a popular golf course in the area, looking for a well-known golf instructor.  “If you could please have him call me. I would like to buy a set of clubs.” I left the gentleman my number and waited.

GolfAnd waited.

Now, the golf clubs I wanted to purchase weren’t your run-of-the mill starter set purchased at Dick’s. No, after 20 years of honing his craft with his current set, my husband was deserving of a new set. Clubs that are cutting edge and using technology invented yesterday, with newer models coming out tomorrow—all so a golfer can add five yards to his or her swing.

And to be clear, this transaction is not an inconvenience to any business. I was about to spend A CRAZY amount of money on my husband’s birthday present, so, after the second day of not having my call returned, I decided that it was their loss and moved on.

Which took me to the local golf range and retail center…

“I’m sorry,” the man said to me, from behind the counter as he looked at the computer screen. “They don’t make that model anymore.” He handed me back the slip of paper which listed the desired brand and model name along with specifics.

I took the paper back, and looked at him, about to ask him what he would recommend. But instead, I stopped myself. “Thank you,” I said, walking out the door.

Which finally lead me to a small public course located just outside the city limits. Managed by a female golf pro and her husband, I was greeted by a smile as I walked in the shop. As I handed the golf pro my slip of paper, I explained my dilemma of trying to make a purchase.

“No problem,” she said, looking up the model number on her computer. “I’m afraid that model has been discontinued. I would suggest we look at the newest model that seems to have replaced that one.”

And THAT’S customer service.

“You know why you got the run-around, right?” she said, handing me back the slip of paper. “Because you’re a women.”

And she was absolutely right.

What does the PERFECT woman look like?

Two articles that appeared today on msn.com   

kardashArticle 1

Health Magazine shares with us what the perceived “Perfect Body” looks like according to a recent survey obviously presented to perfect people—and features a photo of Kim Kardashian, the Poster Girl for the Perfect Body according to the men surveyed.

Article 2

The other article features Lauren Chamberlain, a professional softball player, who discusses her involvement in the current ESPN Body Issue. In her own words…softball

Are you ready? “This was one of those crazy, write-it-in-your-diary kind of goals of mine. I have talked about the ESPN Body Issue since it’s been around. I don’t think I said yes for myself necessarily. I said yes for the girls around the world who might see the issue and see someone who looks like them – someone who’s thicker, bigger, not as jacked as the typical athlete – and that could give them that boost to love their bodies.” @espn #Body10

THIS is a perfectly real woman.

 

New Mace for Women!

Mace Photo

Came across this today at the checkout counter at the local Field & Stream…

Finally, Mace has introduced their product in Hot Pink so that we fragile ladies can now protect ourselves. Thank god they realized that women are unable to operate tools that do not come in pink.

Interesting to note that Mace also upped the amount of sprays from 10 to 15 for their women’s model so that they can charge 23% more for Hot Pink.

Thank you, Mace! Now, if manufacturers could just sell a hot pink car so that women can start driving…

Hold my Wine While I Putt

heidi-mediocre-golfer-e1525227933147.jpgMaybe it was the nine-iron that Elin Woods lovingly planted into the side of Tiger’s Jeep as her world-famous husband tried to flee the scene that made me realize that women and men view golf quite differently.

As Tiger Woods’ fall from grace parlayed into his disappearance from televised golf tournaments, public interest in golf fell as well. Couple that with the fact that women currently make up little more than 20% of all golfers, and you can see that golf has a P.R. problem—and along with it, an opportunity. What if women took control of the game, gave it a long-needed makeover and made it their own?”

Women, I’m talking to you—if you have EVER thought about getting involved in a sport that is healthy, fun, challenging, social, and something you can do while drinking, have I got the sport for you.

Here are four random things that might make you consider picking up a set of clubs…

  • If there was ever a sport that gives women an advantage, it’s golf. So much so, that at times, the women’s tees can give women an extreme advantage over men. Because of the placement of many women’s tees, men would win more golf scrambles if it occurred to them to put a woman on their team.
  • If you’re looking for a sport that you and your significant other can enjoy together without either one of you wanting to kill each other at the end of the round, this is your lucky day because in golf, you’re technically not playing each other—you’re trying to best your own score.
  • Golf can fit into your schedule AND your lifestyle. If you’re anything like me, nine holes is all you have the time and patience for. I can do eighteen, I just don’t want to. Golf is the perfect sport because you can make it a social thing with friends, a networking outing with clients or simply embrace the tranquility of what golf has to offer by going out on your own.
  • You can grow old doing this. There’s a reason why a lot of old people golf…because they can! Golf is more about finesse than strength, and a sport that you can take up at ANY age. There are wonderful female golf instructors in the area. Call one and give it a try!

And then there are the perks of golf—nice apparel, cool gadgets and cup holders on golf carts. Just remember… Golf bags come in a multitude of colors. Don’t limit yourself to pink just because a man in the design department at Callaway thinks women can’t possibly want a blue, black or orange bag.

See you on the green.

Hurry… While Supplies Last

It’s common practice for online companies to suggest products based on past purchases or web searches, so it didn’t surprise me to find an email in my inbox from Amazon. With my marketing background, I’m totally good with that.

And then I look at the product Amazon thought I would like… My Sack Photo

Amazon reasoned that because I’m a woman who viewed golf bags on their site, surely, I would be interested in this fine golf accessory. I know it’s intended to be funny, but it falls flat on so many levels…

  • The sack emulates a part of the human anatomy I do not possess.
  • Someone in the marketing department made it pink so women would naturally gravitate to it. I know it was a man because no woman would come up with this product idea.
  • They’ve included pink golf balls in the off-chance that the sack isn’t enticing enough.
  • And just in case women still aren’t hitting the “order” button, they display it hanging on a pink-accented golf bag because, well, you know.

According to the description, there is only one left so hurry while supplies last. Women around the world can only hope they’ll be restocking soon.

Heidi McCrary / Writer