Monday, September 20, 2010

Me and My Moxie

A while back, my blogging friend, Kathy, of Everyday Mommy, asked me to write a post about moxie. (Since she had to put her series on hold, she invited me to post it here.)

While considering Kathy's request, I thought to myself, “Hmm. Me, moxie?” Do I even know what it means?  Just in case, I checked and found three different definitions:

nerve, courage
know-how, skill

It was then that I realized, heck, yes! I do have moxie!  LOTS of it. I don’t remember when I acquired it, but I do remember that it hasn’t always been appreciated. 

In fifth grade, I don’t remember what I said, but I’m pretty sure it showed a little too much moxie, because frustrated Mrs. Carpieux told me, “Don’t be impertinent!” and I replied (with moxie), “What does impertinent’ mean?” She snapped, “Look it up in the dictionary!”

Mrs. Carpieux was not he the only adult who did not appreciate my moxie.  While my dad did refer to me as a go-getter (a true compliment, coming from a workaholic), behind my back, he also referred to me as “Mouthy.”  Mouthy, because as an adult, I think I was one of a short list of people who weren’t afraid to be assertive with him.

I showed moxie the time I (age 18) refused to get in the car with Dad to ride home from a family wedding (he was drunk). This was unheard of in my family (Mom sat quietly in the front seat).

I showed moxie the time I asked Dad to meet me at a restaurant, where I sat down with him and said (out loud!) that I had been going to counseling to deal with the affects of growing up with an alcoholic parent.  (Yup. I pointed out the elephant in the living room, and he didn’t get ticked!)  I told him about some of the things I had learned. I told him about enabling and that I was no longer going to take his disrespectful treatment of me and would be calling him out on it if he did it again. We came to an agreement, and I think he respected me for talking to him about it.

I showed moxie when Dad forgot our agreement a few times and I got wind of it. I’d confront him, and then we wouldn’t talk for a few months, but I didn’t back down.

I think that on some level, Dad admired my moxie. The trouble was that (like most men his age) he also feared it.  What can I say?  I’m a modern woman.  I spent my whole childhood being the "good girl," keeping my thoughts to myself, living with secrets, and not being true to myself. When I became an adult and started unpacking my emotional baggage, I decided that instead of just letting my moxie sneak out in tiny spurts (Sorry, Mrs. Carpieaux), I was going to embrace it; be strong, assertive, and not play mind games, expecting people to know what I was thinking.  I’ve almost never regretted it.

When Dad was dying and I stayed at his bedside, even though in my mind, I was running in the other direction, I showed moxie.

And I know Dad was proud.


  1. You do have moxie! What a blessing that you found a voice. Alcoholism does so much damage, but thankfully you spoke up.

    Kristin - The Goat

  2. Good for you and what a great example you are for your own children, especially your daughter. I think having moxie is a gift with should all have. Have a wonderful Monday!

  3. This is a great post... it also takes Moxie to let others in on why and when you have moxie... Have a wonderful Monday!

  4. You Go Girl! So many kids live with the effects of alcoholic parents, without ever facing up to them, bearing the scars always.

    I was Mouthy too, but being raised by a woman who was raised by a woman----they learned to speak up early.

    Great post about moxie. You always sound like you are very energetic!

  5. VEry nice post!

    Nothing wrong with being assertive. I was a shy kid, but in the middle of high school I opened up. Now I'm just a pain in the a$$ because i pretty much will approach anything.

    Good for you sticking to your guns and using that "Moxie".

  6. I guess I have moxie, too. People don't like it when you unpack your emotional baggage--at least the people in my life don't. But one must.

  7. Yep, ya got Moxie. It took me years to find mine but once I did, I'm hangin' on to it baby!!! :o)

    Have a great week!!!

  8. You are totally MOXIE!
    Have a pretty day!

  9. When I heard moxie I thought of Roxie in "Chicago".

    But given the serious side of your post, you should be proud to have stood up to a wrong. Standing up for right didn't take away your compassion for your dad and that shows moxie and balance.

  10. I do admire people with moxie! Good for you!

  11. The end of this made me teary! And it makes me want more moxie! Good for you for speaking up for what is right; in your case I would define moxie as "integrity." You've got lots of it!

  12. Yes, I am always emotionally moved when I visit here... whether it is with laughter or tears, I always, always enjoy reading! Thanks :)

  13. I actually had a coworker tell me last night that she knew I was "too much of a big mouth to sit quietly for THAT!"

    I wasn't sure if I should be proud or ashamed.....

    then I remembered how MAD I was in college when a friend's boyfriend described me as "meek, like a mouse".

    and then I knew.

    I'm a DAMN PROUD big mouth.


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