Nicole Johnson spoke to a full auditorium in the Women’s Building during the Women’s Expo on the S.D. State Fairgrounds. During her presentation she performed monologues about motherhood, friendships, marriage and facing difficult life situations. In the next photo, Johnson performs a monologue titled “Stepping into the Ring,” that dealt with the topic of battling breast cancer. PHOTOS BY KARA GUTORMSON/PLAINSMAN
HURON — Women’s Expo keynote speaker Nicole Johnson gave a humorous and poignant view on some of the issues facing women during the Women’s Expo, held on the S.D. State Fairgrounds Saturday.
Johnson is the author of Fresh Brewed Life: Hope for the Daily Grind, and during her presentation she performed monologues about motherhood, friendships, marriage and facing difficult life situations.
“Most of the time if I were to ask you, ‘How are you doing?’ you would say, ‘Well, the kids are going through this at school, my sister’s going through some difficulties…” said Johnson. “What I really wanted to know is you – how are you doing?”
It’s not a bad thing to take some time for yourself, Johnson said.
She pointed out several humorous differences between men and women. “Around my house, the difference between men and women is I might say, ’something smells, I think it’s the trash,’ as I’m closing the trash bag and taking it outside,” said Johnson. “But if I don’t do anything and I say something smells, I think it’s the trash my husband will say, ‘Yeah, I think so,’ and never moves!”
It’s very hard when we are not seen or noticed for what we do, she added. “At my house, I do a lot of things that no one ever sees. We all do.”
She performed a monologue about feeling invisible. Feeling like no one in the household notices every sacrifice that a mother and wife makes and all the organizing and planning that goes into keeping a household running smoothly. “We all sat down the other day to a very full meal, a nice hot dinner,” said Johnson. “My husband sits down and looks at the table and all he can think of to say in that moment is: ‘There’s no butter,’ Which to me, means he’s not even talking to me, or anybody in particular but when he says ‘there’s no butter,’ the butter lady will get up and get the butter, and somehow the butter magically appears and we can all go on.”
She told the audience that God is always with them even in hard times and when we think He’s not. “He’s there when we think we are invisible, and He sees us,” she said.
Her final monologue was delivered as she had dressed in active wear and had put on boxing gloves, to talk about the battle of fighting breast cancer.
“Finding out you have cancer is like going to sleep in your own bed and waking up in the center of a boxing ring,” she said. “All of a sudden you are toe-to-toe with the heavyweight champion of the world in your pajamas … and you don’t even know how to throw a punch.”
There are plenty of well meaning people who want to help you move forward by hurrying you along, Johnson said. “They say things like It’s only a breast or its just your hair, or that life will go on.”
We know that, she said. That’s what makes it so difficult, the fact that life will go on. “The day the call came, life was going on. Why doesn’t it stop more for our personal tragedies and difficulties?”
People don’t like you to be angry but it’s totally appropriate, continued Johnson. “Cancer is a terrorist. Cancer is a foreign invader that unexpectedly attacks. It totally changes the landscape of a woman’s body,” she said. “You pledge allegiance to the flag and you put your hands over your heart, but it’s really your breast.”
After her moving monologue about boxing in the ring with breast cancer, audience members reacted to what they had heard.
“She was awesome and I took away from it that there is more hope in the higher power than we can ever imagine when you are fighting with cancer,” said Elaine Wipf, of Huron. “The first part was very light and made you laugh and I thought she had a real great message. I would definitely see her speak again.”
“It was amazing, very heartfelt. She did a wonderful job,” said Norean French, of Hitchcock. Samantha Lund of Cavour also enjoyed the presentation. “It was great, she was a very moving speaker.”
“It was very inspirational. I’ve seen her before – she was great then and she was wonderful now. It was very uplifting … I needed it,” said Woonsocket’s Lynette Kleppin.For the complete article see the 09-30-2012 issue.
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