Leah Leaves the Building

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To realize their dreams, women need to understand why they are willing to walk away from them. Anna Fels

It took a nanosecond — less than a nanosecond.

I had just read: “O, the Oprah Magazine, announces a contest for 50 lucky women to win a spa vacation with Oprah Winfrey, filled with life lessons and little indulgences at Miraval Resort, Tucson.”

And almost before I could form the thought, “What an amazing experience; I’m going to enter,” one of those ne'er-do-well thoughts pounced, which was:

“I can’t.”

Why? Does it cost money to enter?

Yep. About a dollar when I include postage.

Ok, so not really. Or at least it doesn’t have to cost much.

So why not enter? Are you embarrassed to say that you like Oprah?

How can I not like a fairy godmother?

Why then? Can you not figure out what to say on the postcard?

I guess I could just tell the truth. Something like “who wouldn’t want to spend 5 days and 4 nights with 49 women from whom I can learn and delight in, all the while observing Oprah, Gayle et al up close and personal?”

So I guess I do know what to say.

By this time I’ve peeled back so many onion layers of excuses, I’m on the verge of tears, but ready to get to the real why. Which is: I don’t think it’s okay to ask for what I want. Asking for what I want can be almost unbearably uncomfortable; the more I want something, the greater the discomfort.

Anna Fels writes: “In both the public and the private spheres…women are facing the reality that in order to be seen as feminine, they must provide or relinquish resources –including recognition—to others.” She continues, “the expectation is so deeply rooted in the culture’s ideals of femininity that it is largely unconscious.”

Maybe it’s also because no matter how successful I become, I just can’t quite believe that I’m Rachel and that I can ask for what I want. No matter how far I’ve come, Leah’s still lurking inside me.

Once I figured this out, the gauntlet had been thrown down, and I had to enter the contest.

Will I be sad if I’m not chosen from the possible 100,000+ women that enter the contest?

Of course, I’ll be sad.

But I'll be more happy than sad – because for a brief moment, Leah has left the building.

P.S. Here's the pOstcard: Thanks to Mallika Sundaramurthy, a talented up-and-coming artist, for bringing my idea to life!
Oprah_painting

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