Several months ago, I was on a business trip in California. We had met with interesting and influential people, accomplished what he'd hoped to, and I couldn't ask for better business partners. It was a perfect business trip until a chance conversation with someone I'd known as a child. And in the space of moment -- my capable, in control-of-my-world adult self dissolved; I was again a young girl who felt incompetent, fearful, and out-of-control.
After the market rallied nearly 11% on Monday, it dropped 1.5% yesterday, and another 9.3% today. Given that I manage money for a living, and am experiencing this manic market firsthand, I find myself somewhat sympathetic to stories of folks stuffing their money under a mattress. Do I think that taking a moment to be kind to ourselves -- to nurture ourselves -- is probably in order. In fact, curling up for a quick nap on that mattress under which we are thinking of stuffing our money might not be a bad idea. But then what? Do we really liquidate all our positions, and sit entirely in cash?
When one of my friends eagerly shared with her husband an entrepreneurial idea, his response was: What about our our home, our children? Though unspoken, I suspect he wondered what about me? The myth of Psyche, a story that helps us understand feminine psychological development, may have been helpful here. Remember Psyche would not have undertaken this hero's journey during which she had to complete four tasks, had it not been to rescue a loved one. Consensus suggests women can't attend to their relationships and their identity -- the Psyche myth suggests otherwise. Let's look at the first question: 1) What about our home? As we pursue a dream, will there be specific tasks that we currently do that won't get done? In other words, will chaos ensue?
When Maria Carr asked me to be a guest on her TV show, I almost said no. I wanted to do it, but I was scared. Would anyone beyond my close-knit circle care about 'dare to dream'? Could I distill my ideas into 2-3 minute snippets? Would I get nervous? (I still remember cheerleading tryouts my junior year -- the year I didn't make it -- my voice audibly quavered.) Then there was the all-important, what would I wear?
I just finished Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn which, like the first three novels, I read in less than 24 hours. But even as I continue to read and buy her books, I find myself increasingly discombobulated. There are so many things to like. The deeply romantic "girl-gets-swept off her feet by two knights in shining armor' plot. The fact that 'Bella is loved because she exists - not because she does everything right - and deep down this is what we all want -- to be loved for our very existence', as Janna pointed out; being loved for our very existence should be (I believe is) an inalienable right. And yet, believing as I do -- in the importance of moving ourselves to the center of our life story, I've found myself in a surprising love/hate relationship with Meyer's books.
During a particularly challenging week at work, I happened upon an article by Robert S. Kaplan titled 'Reaching your Potential' which offered up the teaser, "maybe you feel frustrated with your career--convinced you should be achieving more. You may even wish you had chosen a different career altogether." I was definitely frustrated, and even discouraged, but did I wish I had chosen a different path? Not really. As I reflected on Kaplan's article, I realized that I'm right where I want to be. In sharing this insight with one of my friends, she pointedly asked, "Did you really think that living your dream isn't challenging/discouraging/difficult?" To which I sheepishly replied, "No." The truth is there's a pretty large shred of me which believes that if I'm living my dream, life will breezy.
I woke up this morning happy, rolled over, slept some more, and an hour later, woke up again. Giddy. My husband took our children down to visit with family for the day. So I'm home alone without a list of a million things that I expect myself to get done because my perfectionist self is away as well -- I kindly asked her to go on holiday -- and proceeded to give myself permission. Permission to watch two episodes of 'What not to Wear'. To get up when I want to. To think what I want to. To do what I want to -- when I want to.
My first pregnancy had been SO easy. First try. Pregnant. Not a day of morning sickness. And notwithstanding the fact that I'd had my son the old-fashioned way because no anesthesiologists were on hand when I arrived at the hospital, his birth was also easy. Two years later, I was ready to have another baby. I'd get pregnant in late August; an early summer baby wouldn't interfere with my busy time at work, and allow me to enjoy a summer off. Baby number two -- coming right up.
I sort of deserved it, but it stung nonetheless. One of our vendors (I'm purposely being vague) recently invited me and several other clients to sit in their box at a Celtics game -- nope, not a championship game. In making small talk, one of the fellows asked me if I were a hoops fan. I could have given several different answers. Like, Yes, I really enjoyed going to games when I was younger. Or, No, not so much, but I've enjoyed seeing the Celtics' have a winning season. Both answers would have been true. Instead, I said, "Well, I WAS a cheerleader in high school". To which he responded, "And, now you're a cheerleader over at Rose Park." Weeks later, I'm still stung.
Have you seen the article 'Study: Women Can't Afford to Get Angry'? Did the article surprise you? Me neither. We (meaning we girls) learn from a very young age that we shouldn't get angry, or at least not show our anger. But is it anger that we shouldn't do? Or rage?