When I reflect on people who played key roles in ensuring my successful entry into adulthood it is full of smart, loving, inspiring faces. One of these people I am especially thankful for, because without her I would not even grace this planet, I call Mom. While my Mom gave me life and taught me a lot early on, she wasn’t the only woman I needed.
The woman I am today is a direct reflection of a group of moms. Some people might refer to this as a “village” but most of the women I am thinking of didn’t know my Mom personally. These women were aunts, friend’s moms, a stepmom, a high school yearbook teacher, and a college professor. I’m proud to be a collection of women, my Mom included, who offered advice, picked me up when I stumbled, showed up when it was important, and instilled some important core beliefs into adult me. So this post is an ode to all of the knowledge these women imparted. Thank you for your patience (especially during those teenage years), love, and being on my team.
Happy Mother’s Day.
It Is OK To Be Selfish (Sometimes)
From early ages most women are taught to do for others before they do for themselves. I believe in living life with as much empathy and gratefulness as possible but I am so thankful I was also taught to be selfish when it really mattered. The idea of being selfish is more about looking out for yourself and putting a buffer between you and physically or emotionally harmful situations. Confused? Being selfish with my heart meant knowing when it was time to walk away from romantic relationships. Being selfish with my time meant only quality people or causes made my social schedule. Being selfish with my future meant leaving my friends and family to move to California, because I knew that is where I was supposed to be. Being selfish with my dreams meant I could tune out anyone who told me that I was crazy or that some task was impossible.
Being Alone Doesn’t Mean You Are Lonely
For those of you that haven’t been reading this blog for very long you should know I was married before the husband I currently have. I don’t talk about it a lot because it honestly feels like a lifetime ago, and there isn’t really a lot to say except not a right fit for either of us. He’s a good guy, I think his parents read this blog sometimes and they are great people I am still so happy to know, I hope he lives a very long and happy life with someone. When we split up I went from having an entire established life with someone to living in a studio apartment in a different state where I didn’t know anyone. This took some adjusting, I had a lot of alone time. I cried, was mildly depressed, contemplated moving back home, and talked to my stepmom regularly. She told me I had to give it a chance and that being alone didn’t make me unlovable, it just gave me more time to figure out who the hell I really was. I remember she also told me I could always come home if I was really, really miserable. That was 8 years ago and I am still a proud resident of the Golden State. She was right, about all of it. Having time to myself made me a more confident person, forced me out of my comfort zone to meet people, and was actually quite liberating (eat what I want, watch what I want on TV, pants optional ALL THE TIME). My advice to every person now is get comfortable being alone, like really alone without a phone or internet or TV. Spend some time with yourself and say yes to new experiences. I mean, how do you think this blog got started?
Be A Woman Who Supports Other Women
This one took me a little while to learn, but I am so glad it clicked. If you are a young (like under 25) woman reading this let me be the first to tell you that the most important relationships you can make in life are with other women. They will pull you through the dark when you can’t see, they will help you throw small pity parties and then just as quickly tell you to get your shit together, they will show up with champagne to help you celebrate the victories, they will watch all of the Magic Mike movies with you, and they will love you exactly the way you are forever and always. Be a woman who is open, supportive, loving, encouraging, honest, and always willing to help pick a girl up (or throw her in a cab if she needs it, thanks Jules). Women who compete with you over men, social status, designer bags, or body type are not your friends but the good news is that there are millions of other women who would love to be your friend. This goes back to being selfish about time, be careful who you give it away to!
In college I took a few performance studies classes that led to me participating in a live stage performance in front of a small audience. My performance studies professor was always encouraging us to push ourselves and “risk,” and now I understand why. Fear is a bully that keeps you from risking, and so many people let it control their lives. Fear keeps you from applying for that job, or speaking up in a meeting, or moving to that place, or talking to that person you find interesting, or telling someone they hurt you. Fear is safe, most of the time you know what the outcome of a situation will be. Alternatively risking is terrifying, you never know what will happen when you make the leap! This also makes risking insanely freeing, because even if the situation doesn’t turn out the way you expected you confronted fear, and that is the best feeling ever. Every time I have decided to risk I grew a little bit more and learned life was not as big of a deal as I was making it out to be in my head and most people are worried about themselves, not me.
Now it is your turn, what did your Mom teach you?