“No Mark!” was all I heard. “No Mark…” followed by weeping. My co-worker and I had been waiting all day for the call. Our prayer warrior, our light, our shining example of hope and God’s grace had a mass growing in her ovary. We wanted it to be just a cyst. It was not. We cried. We asked God why?
As the fog began to clear, it was ovarian cancer and she would need chemotherapy. She and her husband, Mark had just adopted a son. They had planned so much. And now they planned chemo treatments. We still asked God why?
That was a few months ago. We had lunch this week. She was so full of life. She laughed as she told me about her wig and showed me her battle wounds from the chemo. She was smiling from ear to ear, telling me all about her son, her church and her journey.
She is half way through 17 weeks of her chemo. “Sometimes we just sit around with our wigs off and talk,” she said with a giggle as she talked about her days at the Cancer Institute.
“One of my new friends is an 80 year old woman. When we met, she told me that she had never been sick until the cancer and now she is only known as what type of cancer she had. I’ve made lots of friends there.”
As she spoke, I listened intently, her energy and hope was contagious.
“My oncologist said to me, ‘you are so encouraging to me’, she said with a smile.
Over lunch that day, Cerna was encouraging to me…encouraging me to believe God’s plan and to always cling to hope.
A few weeks ago, I attended a movie premiere playing one night in Chicago. I was invited by a very dear friend, Mary-Carol, who is friends with the movie producer. Mary-Carol gave me two tickets and said, “invite a friend!”
I thought, I could make this into an incredible date night but after watching the trailer, I decided to invite my friend, Nellie.
Muffin Top: A Love Story was tagged as a rom-com, according to imdb.com,
Muffin Top: A Love Story” is the story of Suzanne (Cathryn Michon) a Women’s Studies Pop Culture professor at Malibu University, who studies images of women in the media for a living, and yet is made insecure by the constant parade of female perfection that is our airbrushed culture. She has been going through IVF treatments to get pregnant by her network executive husband (Diedrich Bader), but discovers on her birthday, that her husband has knocked up his younger, skinnier, co-worker (Haylie Duff) and wants a divorce. Happy Birthday! She goes on to find a more authentic version of who she really is, despite the delights of being suddenly single in Los Angeles, where low self-esteem for women is our number one export to the world.
Total chick flick, right? As I watched Suzanne’s life fall apart on the big screen, I noticed that her friends rallied around her. They cheered her on, they laughed with her, they ate cake with her, they drank wine with her, they believed in her and saw a greater version of her than she could see in all the mess.
In one particular scene, she asked her sister to return an item that was a part of the divorce settlement. Her sister, one of her biggest cheerleaders, says she would take care of it and she does in an over the top kind of way. My friend, Nellie, lends over and says, “She’s a ride or die!”
I laughed. A ride or die chick is what every woman needs. Someone who holds your hand when you can’t face the world. Someone who holds your hair back when you’ve drank too much and you are hugging the toilet. Someone who sits next to you in a movie theater not sure what she’s gotten herself into but enjoys every moment.
Muffin Top was about empowering women but not just on screen. Its actually written, directed and produced by a woman, Cathryn Michon who also stars as the lead character. She intentionally hired women to work behind the scenes. She even went to extreme lengths to find a female composer for the music. We need people like Michon, according to a recent study by the Center for the Study of Women in TV and Films women are underrepresented in the movie industry.
Females comprised 15% of protagonists
29% of major characters
30% of all speaking characters (we TALK a whole LOT more than men in real life).
Only 13% of the top 100 films featured equal numbers of major female and male characters, or more major female characters than male characters.
Female characters were younger than their male counterparts and were more likely than males to have an identifiable marital status.
Female characters were less likely than males to have clearly identifiable goals or be portrayed as leaders of any kind.
For minority women, it’s even worse:
73% of all female characters were Caucasian
14% African American
3% other worldly
2% and other
With those stats and women often being are hard on other women; judging and dismissing each other without a second thought. We are a part of the same sisterhood, trying to define ourselves in our mess. It was refreshing to see this displayed on the big screen in not just one supporting role but many.
I’ve had a few “Ride or Die” chicks in my life. Sometimes distance or changes in life styles have caused us to go our separate ways. But its always been the kind of woman who helped me define myself and I have walked away feeling empowered and most importantly loved. Whether it’s been a road trip when we laughed til we cried, changing an alternator on my car because it needed to get done or experiencing the still small voice of God at a conference with thousands of other women…these women have helped me through many of my messes and I will always be grateful for my ride or die chicks!
Muffin Top can be seen video on Demand click here for a complete list. Have a party and invite your “Ride or Die” Chicks!