I work hard. Sometimes too hard. But hard as I work, I almost never give myself credit. No stars on my sticker chart. No atta girls or pats on the back. I’m never entirely satisfied … self-satisfied.
I thought a lot about women yesterday. Me, sure, but me in terms of all the rest of us.
Are you like me? Is well done never quite good enough?
I’ve reached an age where I don’t feel the need to self-psychoanalyze why I am who I am. It doesn’t much matter anymore how I got to be the me I am. I’m more forward thinking these days and want to know where I’m going next.
But back to the credit. Can’t we all give ourselves a little more credit for all the good we do in the world? Credit for all that gets done because of us? Let’s give ourselves a moment of self-satisfaction for the crying babies we soothe, the corporations we run, and the patients we care for. Let’s tally points in our plus column for the words we write, the dishes we wash, the bills we’ve paid, essays we’ve read, and the fires we literally and metaphorically extinguish.
Let’s thank the women who do what we cannot: the chefs, lawyers, sales clerks, teachers, and child care workers. The all of us. No matter what I do or you do, not one of us can do it all. (Despite our very best efforts.)
I’m so grateful to the kind, young woman at Ulta who steered me in a better cosmetic direction without ever once making me feel old or less than. So grateful. It’s hard to be an aging woman, and she didn’t make me feel like one. Thank you for seeing me and not my age, Ulta woman.
Let’s remember and reach out to the women who feel forgotten, looked over, or invisible. Let’s say hello to the elderly, smile at the mom hauling a dozen birthday balloons from the dollar store, and start a conversation with the woman who looks so sad or lonely on the subway.
We’re all in this together – some alone, others with partners by our sides. Some of us are raising children and wonder about their future just as others of us get ready to retire and wonder about ours. We worry. We dream. We love. We grieve. We think. We vote.
We’re thin and not. Young and not so young. We’re blond, brunette, and chemo-bald. We’re store-bought and homemade. We’re mothers and mayors. We’re sometimes forgetful, always busy, loving, intelligent, brave, and beautiful. We’re a country of women, a world of women, and a culture of women. To try to define us somehow limits us for we are not and will never be a type, a party, a race, or one-size-fits-all.
We will resist judgement, criticism, and definition. Believe me, we’re probably already busy judging, criticizing, and defining ourselves over and over, day after day. At least I am. And I’m probably feeling not quite good enough.
I cannot speak for all of us, and I’m not sure I need to tell you my story. But I’ll listen to yours. I see you. I recognize you. And I know you.
Because I’m a woman too.