The world has gone crazy. She has lost her way. There are so many different energies pulling everyone in so many different directions that we’re all simultaneously colliding and treating each other like ghosts. But on a planet where commonality has become the ultimate unicorn, I have identified one undeniable truth. One fact we can all say, “Amen” and “Hallelujah!” to with an enthusiasm otherwise reserved for Bad Moms trailers and quotes from Scary Mommy’s facebook page. This truth I’ve stumbled upon is undeniable and invigorating and, let’s face it, a giant middle finger to a lot of folks who’ve had a big middle finger coming for some time now. So, here it is … Ready …
Women are kind of having a moment.
For a person who has the word “Superwoman” in the title of her passion project, it seems negligent to breeze past the forceful feminine momentum in the air. And more exciting? For once it really has nothing to do with Beyonce. I mean, other than I almost took my sweat-soaked shirt off and swung it around my head when Run the World (Girls) came through my headphones on my morning run. (“Strong enough to bear the children – Then get ta business.” I mean … somebody had to say it.)
And I’m not just talking about ole Hil’s recent nomination, either, although no one can diminish the historical significance of her accomplishment. For me, it has everything to do with this speech and this woman:
If she was acting, I volunteer to polish her Oscar for the rest of my days. That speech had stank on it. It was a master class in delivery and poignancy and perspective. She threw her rhetorical spaghetti at the wall and it stuck. To everyone. Everywhere. The part about her girls playing on the White House lawn … I felt like I took an emotional bullet.
The chicks and I were driving home from their grandparents’ the other night and got into one of those driveby formative chats.
“And who is the president, girls?” – Me
“Barack Obama!” – Both
“Right, and who is his wife? Who’s the First Lady?” – Me
“Ahhh, Michelle Obama?” – JoJo
“Right!” – Me
“I love her.” – JoJo
“Yeah, I love her, too” – Spike
“Why do you love her, JoJo?” – Me
“I don’t know. Because she’s pretty and she helps people.” – JoJo
“She does. That’s right.” – Me
“Why do you love her, Mom?” – JoJo
“I love her because she is a wonderful woman. She cares about children and education and people’s health. She has a garden and she says things that change people for the better. She is very strong and all of us girls should try to be strong, right?”
“Right” – Both
“Because, girls are …” – Me
“Awesome!” – JoJo
These unexpected conversations put just a hint of hot vomit right at the base of my throat. I feel such a responsibility to say the right thing. To offer those profound nuggets that will turn up in their nonfiction works 30 years from now. But more often I falter here. I think my FLOTUS contact high got me through this particular incident just fine.
Perhaps the female feels are also heightened for me because of the book I officially finished this morning, Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes. The writing on these pages makes everything from the brain in my head that forms sentences to the tip of my fingernails that tap furiously on dirty keyboards so jealous I’ve been reduced to a humbled heap of fragmented story ideas. Dear reader, I don’t know what your craft is, or your interest, but have you ever been witness to someone who does that craft or hobby so masterfully that you feel both defeated and on fire all at once? That’s me now. I’m all jumbled up in awe and inspiration. Her intimacy with characters and uncomfortable transparency in this book were so admirable and so well done it sparked a desire in me to quit writing altogether and just succumb to the towering shadow cast by her rare creativity and run away to furiously write for weeks in a small cottage in the Ireland countryside all within the final letters of the final chapter. //More to come on this masterpiece later.//
The entire book was captivating, but one speech featured in Year of Yes in particular stirred something in me. Something I didn’t realize had settled. If you are a woman, a professional, a master of your craft, a novice, if you have a pulse, give this 8 minutes of your time. Let it pour in and take up some space where a negative thought used to live.
I love the idea of the glass ceiling being this tangible place, this possible meetup. Like it’s a designated location where we can all go to celebrate our victories and plot to right all the gender-specific injustices. I’ve been lucky. In my working years I’ve never truly felt oppressed or discriminated against. I’ve been given platforms and the benefit of the doubt and opportunities. I don’t feel like I need to burn my bra (they’re too expensive for that anyway) or march with other womanfolk. But that doesn’t bestow upon me some fast pass to get to the front of the line. It doesn’t mean the struggle of other women doesn’t leave bruises on my heart. It doesn’t mean I don’t get a righteous tickle where my internal plumbing resides every time a lady sticks it to some condescending sucker.
I have three little girls. Three girls. I want more than this moment, for them. I want them to, not only chase their dreams in a world that is free and just, but also respect and appreciate the fact that other women went toe-to-toe with adversity and beat the shit out of stereotypes in order for them to do so. I want them to watch Michelle Obama’s speech and feel the weight of her words. I want them to let other women’s stories shake them up a little bit and flip their perspective. I pray, of course, they never feel less than or unequal to, but if they do, that they know that’s when it’s time to go high.
It isn’t the end of the struggle, but yes, we women are having a moment. Whatever side of the party lines you fall on, whether you’ve been held down or lifted up, whether you have children or you don’t, there is something to celebrate here. So keep those over-the-shoulder boulder holders clasped and your eyes on the prize. The world just might find her way after all.