Friends told me I shouldn’t do it; I shouldn’t call the blog Bratty Kathy.
Chatty Kathy they understood, but Bratty Kathy? They worried that people might think it was all about sex.
They worried that what I would say might be misinterpreted. Marketers thought that well-mannered women wouldn’t consider themselves brats and might not embrace the blog.
Giving brats a bad name
Those things never occurred to me but it turns out that the word brat does have a negative connotation. Even my beloved Oxford English Dictionary describes it this way:
Brat= (n) derogatory a child, esp. an ill-behaved one (origin unknown)
When I google images of “bratty women,” I find idiotic pictures of women sticking out their tongues. I had no idea there were so many art directors and photographers with such a singular lack of imagination.
My definition of a brat
“brat” = (n) someone who goes against the grain, stirs things up to make people think, to make a difference, witty, clever, surprising, a maverick, sexy, fearless, optimistic, aware, ageless, alive.
I know quite a few women who fit that description and who would probably like to get their pictures taken.
Bratty Kathy is about them and about everyone who has ever fallen in love, thought they looked fat, worried about money, felt old or lonely or had an awesome love life. SPOILER ALERT: there will be sex.
Bratty Kathy is about getting out of your own way so you can live the life you want in the wild and unpredictable 21st century.
It’s about being comfortable in your own skin and owning who you are, all of it, including your flaws. Especially your flaws. It’s about grabbing your life by the throat and living it. It’s about not being suffocated by the “accepted wisdom” that tells you what you’re supposed to do, or what you’re supposed to think, or what you’re supposed to feel, just because of your age. And if some of those limiting beliefs are in your own head, ditch them.
Here’s a little chart to show you what I mean:
|THE ACCEPTED WISDOM
||WHO YOU REALLY ARE
||Aware and engaged
|Sexy? Are you kidding me?
||Sexy and…H O T
||Funny and witty
||Flexible and adaptable
In other words, a brat.
Bring it on
When I read those words in the right-hand column, I think about my grandmother when she was 83. My wedding photos were being taken in the park and she was sitting on the grass, feet straight out in front of her, snapping pictures. All of those words fit her, including sexy—just ask her boyfriends. My grandmother was a well-mannered, well-brought up woman and most definitely a brat. It is to her (and to my mother who is not a brat) that I dedicate Bratty Kathy.
If the OED says a brat is “ill-behaved,” bring it on.
P.S. A friend of mine told me about hanging out with his 20-something kids and sharing their experience of being young and full of promise. His bittersweet story has stayed with me, along with the idea that it can be hard to feel hope and promise when you’ve been beaten down a few times. But that’s exactly why Bratty Kathy exists—to recognize that none of us is full of bratty bravado every day and that to put your whole heart into something, to push your spirit, talent and voice out into the world, is risky.
Bratty Kathy will always be powered by a tender heart because to shine like a brilliant, flawed sun takes guts and sometimes you are regrouping after a failed attempt. Sometimes you live in the shadow of the sun.
Bratty Kathy is about all those bumps in the road that you never saw coming and the idea that to make it work, you may just have to bend the rules on occasion. That’s often where the fun is. Just saying so makes me feel bratty again…
c 2013 Kathy Barthel