We live in a world of confusing messages about what it means to be a woman. Are we supposed to be diamonds, daisies, or snowflakes? Tinsel on a tree? Chasing rainbows?

Then there’s the question, “Who can turn the world on with her smile?” Women in the workplace, beholden to benevolent counterparts for their willingness to allow us onto an equal playing field, just without equal pay, are not a thing of the past. This remains an unfortunate truth.

Now our daughters and sons are out there on their own. The days of ramen noodles and cold pizza are behind us, and yet, we still feel it, that uncertainty that makes us ask what the hell is going on here? This week I experienced one of those moments when I watched a young professional deliver one of the worst presentations I’ve ever had the misfortune to endure. Five minutes into the talk it hit me, I could do a better job than this guy. I felt sick. Why? Because I inquired about the job a year ago and wasn’t even considered.

Throughout my life, it has been necessary for me to be highly flexible and adaptive to change for the benefit of my family. I’ve done double duty and made the best of bad situations. I’m not ungrateful. I just feel cheated. I am not that girl. I’m that other one.

Women’s Work

Every guy she had encountered eventually became someone she wished she’d never met. Long days, proving herself on the job, enduring endless mansplaining and indecent proposals bled into even longer nights. Instead of waiting by the phone, she studied. A choice she knew would pay off one day. A thousand broken promises had left her with only one to keep, one she made to herself. Then he came along and everything changed. The guy who made her life worth living and gave her a reason to work harder. The one she would love forever. The one who called her Mom.


If you’ve made it to the end of this post, congratulations! I realize my mixing fiction with reality is difficult for some readers. I make no apologies. If you want to read something better, check out the Friday Fictioneers. Thanks, Dale, for another inspiring photo. As always, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields brings it to life with her own take on this week’s prompt.

One more thing. Elinor Burkett’s article, “What Makes A Woman?” in the New York Times is brilliant, articulate, and every single thing I think about the difficulties of presenting a united front for gender equality.

Thanks for reading.

37 thoughts on “Not Your Mama’s Fiction

  1. I enjoyed your entire post and love how you tie it all together. The last line tugged at my heart a little.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Thanks, Dawn. Friday Fiction is full of heart tuggers and tear jerkers, isn’t it? Not to mention gut busters and rib splitters. I’ve got to break away from stalking the bluebirds long enough to read lasts week’s, and it’s already time for this week’s!

      1. Sounds like a lovely week 🙂

  2. I think most of us have lived these realities, Stephanie, and then that one great love affair (or, in my case 2 😉 ) Still, it follows us all and makes it hard to tell our daughters that they really can reach for the stars. Your work always moves me and nudges me; powerful combination.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      True, Dawn, and that’s what makes it important for us to keep reminding each other that there is still work to be done. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Could not be more perfect.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Val, it’s nice to see you. Of course you know exactly what this means. I appreciated your comment.

  4. amiewrites74 says:

    This is brilliant. I loved it. The first line had me but that last line… great writing.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Thank you very much. We aim to please here at HonieBriggs.com.

  5. Michael Wynn says:

    Great tale of the conflict this woman endures throughout life, fortunately there is a silver lining, her son.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      It’s a common conflict. I’m sure of it.

  6. Amy Reese says:

    Loved every word from start to finish, Honie. And that ending just sealed the deal! Oh, yes, yes! Women have to make hard choices all the time, don’t we?

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      So glad you stopped by, Amy. I suppose it’s true that everyone is confronted with hard choices, women and men. I don’t know why women have been labeled as emotional/hormonal/delicate creatures.

  7. Dale says:

    I’m with everyone. I have absolute no problem with your mixing fact with fiction. This was brilliant and so very bloody true…

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Dale, thanks for such a nice comment!

  8. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover says:

    Absolutely loved this.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Glad to hear it, thank you.

  9. Lovely. Well done. Thank you. What a pleasant surprise. Loved the ending. Loved the prequel. Maybe I should just say WOW.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      I’m happy if you’re happy, Alicia. Seems you are 😀-Thanks!

  10. rgayer55 says:

    Loved your mix of reality & fiction, although the entire post seemed very real to me. For a woman to succeed in the business world they have to be tough as nails, work twice as hard, and put their career above everything else in life. I work with some very strong women whom I deeply admire and respect. Great post, Honie.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Russell, you said it perfectly. Very real, very nice affirmation.

  11. Now this is a great opening – a real grabber “Every guy she had encountered eventually became someone she wished she’d never met.”
    No need to search for something better to read – this post is grand. – both fact and fiction (And I’ve been in that seat watching another, too wondering why? Well, just keep moving on. It is what it is and it annoys them if you keep your head up and go on to win – even better if it’s at a competitor.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Totally love your comment. Keeping my head up just to piss ’em off 😆

  12. Carrie Rubin says:

    Frustrating to still see people held back by their gender. Luckily I haven’t experienced that (at least not that I was aware of). Sorry to hear you have. Love your flash fiction piece though.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      I don’t think I’ve been necessarily held back. I simply have to try harder. It could be that I am deficient in some way that I haven’t figured out yet. Probabaly an attitude problem. 😄

      1. Carrie Rubin says:

        Good point. There’s a distinction there. Still just as frustrating.

        1. HonieBriggs says:

          Agreed. It can consume us or not. On any given day, one is just as likely to happen as the other.

  13. acflory says:

    Back when I had aspirations to become a programmer, I worked for a large organisation as PA to the Director setting up their new computing section. He wasn’t a great manager, but I was. I taught myself a relational database program so I could do the timesheets better, faster, easier. I also corrected his poor grammar and double checked the out-goings to make sure we weren’t paying for things we hadn’t received. I guess most PA’s do the unseen, unappreciated backroom stuff, but he knew that I wanted a chance to be trained as a proper programmer. After a year and a half, he hired a young man straight out of university to be trained…as a programmer. I quit a couple of weeks later.

    A few decades on, I’m glad my life turned out the way it did because I might never have found my first story otherwise. But…the anger remains. We still have such a long way to go.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      It’s subtle, isn’t it. Almost as though a person feels petty for pointing it out on the spot. Life turns out how it supposed to, how we make it or how we accept it, I suppose. It is what it is. That, too, seems trite and unworthy of a mature assessment of bullshit, and that’s certainly what it is. Male or female, when someone disrespects you, total BS.

      1. acflory says:

        What do the young ones say? Oh yeah…WORD!
        How many more generations will it take? :/

  14. csheldonblog says:

    we do everything for our children, I am exactly the same it would be nice if one day they’d understand and not take us for granted.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      I’m a firm believer that we are supposed to leave it all on the field, especially when it comes to parenting. Otherwise, what’s the point? It’s affirming to know our kids expect us to be there for them no matter what. It means we’ve proven we can be trusted. I do understand appreciation is nice. As I’ve learned, though, none of us had the choice to come onto the planet, so, it kind of is on parents to take responsibility.

  15. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Great post, Stephanie. They don’t deserve you and somewhere out there is a company who will. I have faith in you.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Faith: the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I’ll try not to let you down, Allan. Thanks for the confidence boost. You always know just what to say.

  16. Dear StepHonie,

    There’s a lot I could say, but I’m going to leave it at brilliant writing. (Both the fact and the fiction).



    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Well, that makes my day, Rochelle.

  17. Sweta Ojha says:

    This is very lovely! ☺

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