I joined the feminine.collective just before Thanksgiving 2015 and although at the time co-CEOs Julie Anderson and Marla Carlton were juggling responsibilities as businesswomen, writers, mothers, and caregivers while getting ready for the (successful) December 15th, 2015 launch of Raw and Unfiltered, vol 1, they somehow managed to carve out some time to review and publish my first article: How to love your body on Thanksgiving.
I was already honored to join their team (see below), now I was ready to crawl on my knees with gratitude when they published a post on such short notice at such busy time.
Crawling did not happen because of my bummed knees. Instead, I showed my needy version of gratitude by giving them two more articles to consider, and review, and work on in the midst of the Holidays. French and cruelly dedicated! They accepted, reviewed, and published the first one, La Joie de Vivre!, and the second one, How the Guidance Girl Changed my Middle Aged Male Perspective, is in the pipeline–with dozen more articles from excellent writers. Bottom line, I have two incredibly dedicated bosses who will keep me motivated, even though as you can see below, I was already incredibly motivated to write for them!
AS PER NEEDY – MOST MEN ARE, HA! Late November, social media consultant, director of the Gravity imprint for Booktrope Publishing, and award winning author, Rachel Thompson*, kindly introduced me to Julie Anderson, co-CEO of the feminine.collective with Marla Carlton. I’d wanted to write for Julie & Marla for a while, but I am as shy as I am big, I am as insecure in person as I am brash when I put on my writer’s hat. I usually need someone to help me with introductions. Rachel is often that someone:
Beautiful Julie, meet deeply smart and funny Michel, friend and therapist. He’s interested in writing for FC and his perspective is so refreshing on patriarchy and maleness, I think it could be a great fit. I’ll duck out since no doubt you’ll start up in French and ‘stupid American’ here. Enjoy your conversation! I hope it all works out. XX
Julie jumped in almost immediately–we were on Messenger. I responded with a polite “Julie, enchanté!”
It was not lost on me that I was chatting with a supermodel of 90s who happened to have a super-matching brain, heart, and mind. As expected I diffused my anxiety with this narcissistic response:
Rachel, I was hoping you were not entirely done with your kind eulogic introduction. Right back at you sister, minus the therapist bit. Julie, very glad meeting you. I am indeed interested in contributing to FC.
To stay on task, I sent a writing sample to Julie: In the beginning there was a mother then came Area Frenchman. Despite it’s title, this article is not about me, it’s about how if we payed attention to birth evidence instead of scriptural speculations, we would realize that creation is not a god who plays with bones and clay, but a mother who gives birth. Please, read it, you’ll see what I mean.
While I waited for Julie to render her verdict, I stayed on course with my plan to beg for (unnecessary) praise:
–Rachel, just noticed you did not call me beautiful. How fair?
–Oh, my bad. gorgeous, beautiful, handsome. happy now? god, so needy.
Julie came back quickly and it did take long until she took side:
Michel – love your article! I am very excited to have you … On FC please can we move our discussions to email? Thanks again Rachel … As per needy – most men are ha !
I could not wait to see one of my articles on FC. As a Therapist who came from the Clinical Social Work track, I loved Julie and Marla’s raw, unfiltered, lyrical, and humanistic platform. I wanted to work alongside storytellers who openly share raw accounts on abuse, emotional and mental health issues, parenting, love, and self-image that empower, elevate, enlighten, and entertain. I wanted to be one of them and was excited that Julie welcomed me to the FC despite the fact that I had just managed to act like a foolish man on our first interaction.
I blushed, shook off the embarrassment, and started focusing on what I do best: hush up Frenchman and write. I also make tasty soups and cakes, but that would not help me in this situation. Instead, I wrote the following letter which highlights my writing philosophy and explains my goals with FC. Please, enjoy.
Humbled that I may contribute to the Feminine.Collective, and French as I am, I do not come empty handed. I bring with me the gifts I am expected to bring, a degree of male wisdom at the polar opposite of mansplaining, my unique take on motherhood, parenting equality, self-image/self-worth, and my professional expertise as a psychotherapist on topics that might help readers feel stronger about themselves, their purpose in life, and their desire to foster goodness without sacrificing their ever important needs.
As you will see here, and in my future articles, I am all about personal assertiveness, that is the respect for the Self and for Individuals of all genders and conditions who value us ‘just the way we are’ and therefore have earned our reciprocal attention through kindness and shared wisdom.
I am also all about calling ugly flats ugly, and rats rats. I will deconstruct with French panache the adult tantrums of the sexists, the bigots, the gender bullies, the mainsplaner, and, the most toxic trou du culs out there, the abjectificators and the abusers. But before I have the opportunity to show kindness for the deserving and the tip of my size-13 designer boots to the others, here is another gift. I bring along my Muse, the Ancient Egyptian Goddess, Seshata, the Mother of all Scribes, Writers, Poets, and now Bloggers.
I present to you a mighty goddess who made aesthetic beauty scientifically measurable and more respectable. Here is gorgeous Seshata, the Patroness of Scribes, the inventor of writing, the smartest deity in known (proto)history.
Seshata goes by Seshat and many other names, and before Thoth displaced her, before men started to treat ladies with barbaric sexism, she was the goddess of Wisdom, Writing, Architecture, Mathematics, and, most importantly, she kept a motherly eye on hard working Scribes like us.
Seshata is unique because she doesn’t need silly rituals of worship or anything that would lead us, her Scribes, to hate and kill the lesser fortunate in order to feed (off) our political hatred. She herself had been a victim of gender prejudice, in the name and hands of Thoth, the god with the face of an ibis (mighty phallic symbol, if I may say); she just wants us to remember that the world must respect Scribes regardless of gender, aesthetic beauty, sexual orientation, social, and economical situation.
She wants us to write. Meaningfully.
As Scribes, we have made the world, recorded its history, and shared it with the next generation, one word at a time. And it is our responsibility to continue that humanistic task as bloggers with compassion and, above all, reason.
Scribes were once slaves. We were not free to write as we wished. We were ordered to write without reason and compassion. We wrote prejudice because we were told to. We wrote scriptures because we had to. We wrote about slaughtering men, women, and children because we were under the patronage of sick plutocrats. We were not free to write.
But we cried in silence as we put down in words their grand delusions. We wrote their thirst for blood until our ink and tears dried out. We wrote their malicious words, silenced ours. We silenced our wisdom. We did. Yes, we did, in tears, our hearts broken for keeping our own words caged within our tormented minds.
But let’s feel the freedom. Freedom exemplified by The Feminine Collective, your brain child (‘brain nosin’). Let’s rejoice: social media, and the cash you worked so diligently to earn in that gruesome industry (flattery and genuine admiration), has given us the world of smart, caring Scribe-Bloggers, the one liberating tool to never, ever again allow oppressive patronage to steal our ink, our blood, and to force us to dry out in despair.
Let the FC ink flow and be free to diss and dismantle the petty arguments of today’s adult tantrumers. I’m in! Even if Seshata isn’t really musing over. What a gift!
Seshata may have died with her worshippers, or maybe she never existed, but whomever was responsible for inventing her–Scribes no doubt, and most likely women–made her fashionably hot, wise, and purposefully brilliant. They made her Feminine Collective worthy.
So, finally, here is the real reason why she is my humble gift to you, Julie. You are wise, brilliant and have always been fashionably hot, like Seshata. And the Feminine Collective is brilliant. Fucking brilliant. Seshata is also my gift to you, because you will never again be bothered by this degree of boundary-reaching flattery from this Frenchman–unless great shoes are on the line.
Un très grand merci du fond du coeur,
Michel ‘Area Frenchman’ Bordeau, Scribe, lover of words, and designer boots.
* Rachel Thompson is a great mind who has taught me a lot. If you need a social media consultant who also knows a thing or two about writing, you should contact her. Here are two articles I wrote about Rachel: