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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.kymberlieingalls.com/p/editing-services.html

Sunday, February 24, 2013

You Go (Daddy) Girl!


"I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl." ~ Danica Patrick
I am so not on the Danica bandwagon.  I guess, per our society, I should be, because I'm a girl.  Just like all the blacks are supposed to be loyal to President Obama, all Latinos are supposed to be fans of George Lopez, and all writers are supposed to worship Hemingway.
danica patrick 06 1024x768 Danica Patrick Pictures Collection
Do I think Patrick has an advantage because of her gender?  I don't know.  I've looked at it from a dozen different angles. Weight (a silly, completely untrue theory), natural reactive skills, the hottie factor.  
I have a decent knowledge of the sport, and yes, I've had my "go girl!" moments, locally and nationwide.  But while I'm all for anyone who swaths out a path for others, it doesn't need to be based on gender, color or anything else other than talent and skill.  And Danica just hasn't shown to be a woman I want to admire nor celebrate. 
Sure, she has wins and statistics that are impressive by most standards, but for me it's attitude that determines a winner.  For the longest time, especially she transitioned into NASCAR, nothing was ever her fault.  When learning to drive a new class of car, there's a learning curve. Rather than learning gracefully, it seemed she was always in the face of another driver, accusations being screamed about. 

In my experience, the girls who go about proving they're a badass simply because of their gender completely disprove the above claim made by Ms. Patrick. 
A fellow Facebooker stated this evening, "Teach young girls they win when they're the best, not because they're 'undervalued' or face overwhelming obstacles.
My reply, "I agree, but the thing is .. I don't think she does."
What I really wanted to say was that while his intent was a positive one, by bringing attention to the topic of "a girl being on the pole of Daytona" he actually ended up being one whom he was speaking out against.
We have many women racing at our local track, but two in particular that I am great fans of, not because of their gender but because one is a good driver, and one is a great driver.  What stops the one from being a better driver is that yes, she does carry a "the boys are picking on me" vibe.  The other gets out there and races.  That's all.  And she is brilliant to watch. 
There was, at one time, a 17 year old girl who beat my husband in overall season points by just one.  I laughed for ages about the notion that this girl went out and kicked the asses of all the middle aged men around her.  And it wasn't because she was a girl.  It was because she was a driver of great skill.

Does it help or hurt that Danica Patrick is the
GoDaddy girl?  Well, I'm all for anyone who uses their looks in our shallow society to get ahead.  Use what you've got.  Exploit yourself to your heart's content. 
 
But then don't complain when it comes back and bites you in the T&A, and undervalues your skills.  I do believe that she got the sponsorship she has based in parts on her marketability, which is easier to accept when it's an American Idol contestant, not necessarily an athlete.
To prove I'm not gender biased, I think Jeff Gordon has also cashed in on his pretty boy looks, and yep it took him a long time to convince people he had the skills to back it up.  Admittedly, I chuckled at my brother's comment that it's the first time in history that two girls were starting the Daytona in the first row. 
If Patrick wins the race, I do believe it will be based on her skill.  But her arrival to the pole, I'm not so convinced.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Calling All Angels

I am too often exactly what I write about. Someone devoid of any sympathy. I have never excluded myself from this group, but today I'm actually somewhat ashamed of myself.

I saw the headline "Country Music Star Dead At 37," and immediately knew who the "star" was. She was a blip on the music scene when she had a catchy song more than a decade ago. In the mess of her life that followed, Mindy McCready became nothing more than tabloid fodder with her addictions, arrests, and consistently abusive relationships. She never again found the success of her one hit song.

Not being a fan of the song or of her, I never felt the emotional attachment that many did. All I saw was a pathetic, too-young-to-be-washed-up woman who couldn't get her life in control. A harsh judgment of someone I'd never know, yes, but I've seen it too often in both my own life and the celebrity world.

Seeing the headline today, I texted my husband with "Well, she finally offed herself. Her life was more f'd up than even I knew about."

Then when I mentioned the story to a friend, he replied with the obligatory "so sad."

This gave me pause. How detached am I that I haven't an ounce of sympathy for this young life that ended in such tragedy? But then I find myself questioning what the bigger tragedy was - her life having ended or that her two sons will grow up without parents (the father of her youngest died last month under questionable circumstances that McCready was being questioned about). My thought isn't a pleasant one; considering the life she led, perhaps those boys will now have a chance at a childhood.

It irks the hell out of me that too many people bring lives into the world and whether they disregard the importance of this or their desperate need for love simply isn't enough to conquer all, it's the children who pay the price. Celebrity case in point: Bobbi Kristina (parents: Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown). With the sad death of Whitney at too young of an age, shrouded in did-she-bring-it-on-herself, the public eye focused on her daughter - but where was that concern when she was growing up? We all saw the beyond-trashy lifestyle of this couple, and in the midst of it was a little girl who knew a normalcy we could never fathom. Their parenting abilities, like Mindy's, were questioned time and again and yet the children were always returned to these people to continue to corrupt.

This isn't only rampant in Hollywood, it's everywhere. Our systems are so dysfunctional, overloaded, and understaffed that children live and die in our society every day who are neglected, abused, starved, and acting as the parents rather than a kid, it's no wonder when we look around at the generations coming after us and see a vast wasteland. We have nobody to blame but ourselves. Just because a person can reproduce does not mean that they should.

Some want to think the angels are calling these lives home, but I see it as the angels are protecting the little ones. 

So, when I see the lives lost too young - famous or not - I can't always manage sympathy. I am not a bleeding heart. What I can do and hope for someone out there to do the same is look for the meaning behind the tragedy. The glint of silver that could be a lesson to us all. It's the wisdom that humans are capable of that keep us grounded. We are not beyond empathy, nor beyond learning from the lives of others.

Sadly, we are simply oblivious to it.

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