Are you seen? Or are you hiding?
Have you ever been overlooked? Have you ever been disappointed because you were not seen as who you truly are in the world? How many times is a promotion given to someone else who is younger, and of the opposite sex?
It can also be devastating to hear, “Oh, and you’re a mother too, I see”, when you’re “pitching” to a venture capitalist. These circumstances happen every day, and I’m familiar with both of them. I also can’t stand them (yes I have an opinion on being a woman in the world).
I like to believe that being a woman is empowering. Over the years, we walk a rather thin line of overwhelm, disappointment, excitement, and success; it’s laborious. Being a woman is everything. Having the ability to carry a child, give birth, seduce someone from across the room, organize finances, prepare food from a myriad of random ingredients, stand up for your own beliefs, and make your own decisions definitely qualifies you as a superhero in my book! For me, I love all of it, I love standing on my own two feet, sometimes I even imagine wearing a cape!
I have been watching women all of my life, I love women.
I fell in love with women in 2nd grade. I owe this to my second-grade teacher who shared her world with me through the foods she ate, and the photographs she captured of far off places. She wore muted brown and green plaid, very fashionable 70s attire, traveled to mysterious foreign destinations, told fun stories, and was single, no ring around her finger! She taught me how to read, and live in the adventure of a story. More importantly, she showed me how to smile on the inside, she constantly smiled.
As I reflect on her, I realize that she was subtly teaching me how to be a woman, how to stand on my own, make wise decisions, and take care of my body with healthy food. I secretly wanted her life, I wanted to be her. She was a woman of the world. She lived on her terms, her way, very straightforward.
Being a woman is an incredible journey, I have nothing to compare it to as I have never been anything else.
Although, I can compare the decades of my life as a woman. My 20s were rough--drugs, drinking, countless days of modeling, late nights, an endless progression of sleeping with nameless men and women. It was a time of all-nighters, random sex, and little care. Inexhaustible days of waking with hangovers so bad I couldn’t move in fear of my heart exploding or stopping depending on what I was coming down from.
Being a woman in my 20s was trying. I was trying to be it, trying to fit in, trying to be right, trying to look the part. I was trying to be alright with being me. Life was after me.
Every day I wore deep, red lipstick and high-high-heels. Every day I passed (as in didn’t eat) on at least two meals, and everyday I drank at least four diet cokes. The 20s were filled with shoulder pads, bad outfits, lots of shoes, and bleached platinum blonde hair that sometimes fell out of my head.
Being a woman is learning how to slow down and breath, not rush it. I know this now, but not years ago.
I look back at my 30s and can barely see those years, they were incredibly fast and furious. I was a hustler. I played the game to succeed and be seen, to make more money and have more things. I traveled to innumerable cities, saw the world, tried to do good, and make up for the previous years of self-indulgence.
I reflected on my second-grade teacher and how she had showed me how I could do anything. My 30s gave me a place in the world to feel secure and confident with my decisions, everything I did always worked out for the best. Being a woman in my 30s led me to search for answers and find solace. In my mid 30s when 9/11 happened I walked away from everything that was called my life.
It was now time to be me. I happily dropped out from my comfort zone of hustling for money and prestige. I divorced myself from every personal, and comfortable item I owned. I was finally able to fall in love, with one man. My thirties were a time of suits, jeans, cashmere and mascara; my hair began to reveal its age with strands of grey and I secretly covered them every three weeks, still not completely able to be me.
Being a woman is incredibly comfortable.
Here I am in my 40s now, a wife and a mother, two circumstances I never thought possible, nor that I would be living. Two very different points of view I have had to learn about only through experience, only over time. I’ve also realized that I may be in the last half of my life.
Mortality has revealed itself to me. It’s mystifying to believe that I have lived so much of my life already. I am no longer hopeless or lost or questioning everything I do, neither am I trying to be something I am not. No more reason to be a “bitch” without reason.
Being a woman now is everything: it’s knowing who I am and what I am doing. It is about seeing the world and seeing how I can be useful; how I help and serve others.
I love knowing that as I become older I also become wiser, I am no longer guessing. I am able to observe and share stories with other women who ask how to live differently. I have 20- and 30- year-old women tapping me on my shoulder asking me how to live, how to be in the world, how to handle life circumstances, how to survive the daily grind.
I never knew that I could ask for help; I never thought that another woman would share her experience with me like I do with others hoping to help them along the way. Perhaps it’s just a different era now, and younger women recognize that they need help, and they simply ask. They don’t want to live in the “rough”, or “hustling” times as I did. They want to be free and happy they want to be released from the natural state of self doubt and lack of self esteem, they want to be more; I hear it every day.
We live in such an interesting time with the power of the internet and technology where we can be connected and helpful at any given moment. I do that.
My quest is to be touch the lives of women every day. I seek to speak and share with the singletons, the hustlers, the “ex” fill in the blank, the tired moms, the “it’s too late” for me gal, the dreamers, the overachievers, the women who have no idea where to turn next… yes, all of them. I want to give to you what I have found and what was unknowingly given to me in the second grade.
After all, we are women--the most beautiful beings on this earth! We have the power to do anything, you want to be a queen bee, bitch or a humble butterfly? Do it. Jump, fall down and get back up, that is what I have discovered over the years. I can be all of it as long as I don’t stop trying and living.
I am grateful that I am a woman who knows herself and who has traveled an unhinged, adventurous, full life, who craves being helpful.
Today, I practice daily reflection, patience, and acceptance of my grey hairs with an inner smile that my second-grade teacher would be proud of after all these years.
Being a woman in today’s world can be challenging, but remember today we have each other and together we can do anything! (Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.)
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