Tuesday, October 2, 2012

For Jessica

My freshman year of college, I took a journalism class to explore some options for what I wanted to do in my academic career.  Now, I couldn't tell you a single iota of information that I learned in that class, but I can tell you about a remarkable young woman I met - Jessica Arp.

If you are a local reader, you may recognize this gorgeous girl from seeing her face plastered all over your TV screen on the WISC news, especially during the times of political fervor here in Wisconsin (see: Recall, Paul Ryan) since she is the political reporter. 

Jessica posted the video below on her Facebook page and I couldn't resist sharing it here and taking the opportunity to throw my two cents in about the topic of criticism.  A while back, I wrote a blog post on a particularly frustrating day where Micah was really pushing my buttons.  I received a comment from someone who told me that perhaps my children would be better off if they were adopted by someone else because I clearly was not a fit parent for them.  I cried my eyes out and was this close to shutting down my blog because I was so upset.  Among others, Jessica swooped in and came to my rescue.  She wrote me an uplifting message of encouragement that helped me realize that I didn't need to bow to the bullying of one mean spirit and I was able to respond to the woman who had hurt me. 

Her letter also opened my eyes to the harsh reality that her job entails.  She has had such cruel things said to her, friends.  Jessica works tirelessly to deliver viewers a well-researched report with the facts presented as clearly as possible.  When I'm working my day job, I really don't have to get dressed in real clothes if I don't want to!  My kids don't really give a hoot if I'm making their pancakes wearing pajama pants and an over sized sweatshirt, but my girl Jess has to do her job on camera.  She wears cute jackets, sassy necklaces, and has to *gasp* do her hair and makeup every day!  In my book, she deserves a medal just for that!  (Can I get an amen, mamas?)  There was that one time that President Obama came to visit Madison and she made the mistake of rocking brand new heels (despite the fact that no one was going to see them on camera).  Oh, her Tweets after a very long day were lamenting the status of her poor feet, but I'm sure she learned from that experience....right Jess?

Anyway, Jess is good at her job.  Very good.  And she looks cute doing it.  But since she has a job in the public eye, she has to deal with the kind of garbage that would send me running for the hills with a pint of Ben & Jerry's.  I commend her for being a strong woman with a thick skin who was sweet enough to reassure me that I was a good mom, despite what my rogue commenter had to say.  I have tried to Tweet her little nuggets of love from time to time as well, especially on election days and the like, when I know she's likely to have been putting in a CRAZY day. 

But, it's not okay that she should have to take that kind of abuse.  It doesn't matter if we are twelve, twenty, or ninety.  Bullying is still bullying and it's wrong no matter how it's packaged.  Check out how this journalist from a LaCrosse station responded to her bully:

As women, we are constantly fighting that nagging voice that tells us we aren't ENOUGH.  We aren't thin enough, smart enough, old enough, young enough, strong enough, good enough, pretty enough to do what we are trying to do.  The enemy loves to cultivate this self-doubt within us and there always seems to be someone out there who just loves to point out our faults to us. 

It's all lies, sisters.

Take a moment today to lift a woman up somehow, won't you?  Tell her she looks fabulous.  Make a phone call to a mother with young children and let her know she's doing a great job.  Email a colleague who has been stressed about a big project and encourage her to stick to it.  Text a girlfriend you haven't spoken to in a while to let her know you're thinking of her.  Or maybe Tweet my girl Jessica or email her at jarp@wisctv.com and give her a word of encouragement.  We appreciate you, ladies.  You are awesome.  You are beautiful.  You are ENOUGH. 

Photo source: http://www.channel3000.com/-/1656/11253078/-/64fgd9/-/index.html

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