Tag Archive | women

WO: Weekly Obsessions

 

Buckle up, people. This week I’m on a rambling stream of consciousness while being raw, real and un-apologetically obsessed with these four finds:

Image credits listed below

  1. FinalStraw: The brainchild of a former colleague’s son is the world’s first collapsible and reusable straw. The campaign was trending on Earth Day and featured on BuzzFeed’s Facebook, so it’s no surprise they’ve exceeded their fundraising goal by more than 680%. But, they could still use any support — and couldn’t you use a nifty, Earth-friendly gadget?
  2. “I Want to Be Rich and I’m Not Sorry”: this NYT opinion piece and I felt the need to pay it forward to you. Jessica Knoll shares her definition of success. As a fellow writer, of course it resonated with me. But I think any woman can understand the confusion of “…conflicting messages of millennial womanhood: to be ambitious but never bossy, strong but skinny, honest but polite, supportive of my fellow sisters’ success while the culture gets off on girl fights.” Enjoy.
  3. A Sweet Treat: A mid-week and mid-afternoon slump is just about as good a reason as ever for a treat yo’self timeout. Luckily, my work husband is a certified genius and McDonald’s master: He bought a bunch of us the iconic Mickey D’s vanilla soft-serve and poured a bit of office coffee over them for makeshift affogatos. Delizioso! (Note: This photo is a stock image, not of the actual creation.)

     

     

  4. “Whatever Makes You Happy” – Jennifer Hudson f. Juicy J: Although I abandoned “Empire” after season 2, I still regularly listen to the soundtracks of seasons’ past. This earworm has probably the most simple chorus of all time, but it hooks me nonetheless. It could be J. Hud’s powerhouse vocals or Juicy J’s swag, but I think you’ll find it equally as entrancing.

     

     




    Images courtesy of:
    KickStarter, Kate BlegvadDreamsTimeYouTube

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WO: Weekly Obsessions

Even though I read all day long as part of my job, I find myself grasping for more content to consume during my downtime. Whether it’s a rainy bus ride or relaxing before bed, I’ve been voraciously reading more long-form articles and novels than usual. For example…

Image Credits Listed Below

    1. “Who Does She Think She Is?”: Acclaimed author Laurie Penny wrote this essay and I hope you’ll take the time to read it. Spoiler alert for my favorite passage: “…any woman … must find a way to dress which is neither too conservative nor too revealing, not too frumpy nor too frivolous, a way of speaking which is neither ‘aggressive’ nor simpering … It’s almost as if the problem weren’t the behavior or the voice or the clothes but the woman wearing them.” DAMN.
    2. “The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma”: You’ve likely seen this essay from renowned author Junot Diaz shared among your social networks already, so I’m not breaking any ground here by reminding you to again, take the time to read it. The detail and decades of masked pain are heartbreaking and infuriating and excruciating all at once.
    3. “Keep Your Head Up”: Some co-workers were discussing addiction to technology via smartphones and other devices, when one mentioned this article from NYT contributor Adam Popescu. Granted, you have to read it on a device, but the irony was not lost on us. As much as I love the ability to FaceTime family and stay connected to loved ones, it’s also eye-opening to see what physical damage we’re causing on a daily basis.
    4. Mark Zuckerberg on SNL: When you need a break from all that weight of the world, this Weekend Update bit from SNL is sure to win. My work husband used it against me in a meeting today and I full on had a giggle fit in front of 20 people. So yeah, you could say it’s a good one. POKE!

 

 

Images courtesy of: Longreads, New Yorker, NYT, TechCrunch

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
29. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.

In true Wittyburg fashion, I was going to start this post by apologizing for how late it is in the day (particularly for you East Coasters). The past week was a true roller coaster of highs and lows, and The List eluded me as I clung on for control.

Instead, I won’t apologize. As the editors of Glamour write, there are many situations in which we say “sorry,” when we’ve done absolutely nothing wrong at all.

They make a mild statement about how this may be because it’s “drilled into [women’s] heads to be sweet, accommodating and nurturing.” Ahem. Yes, that’s exactly the root of the issue. I know The List was written in 1997, but this edition was published in 2012. We can be more firm about how traditional gender roles and constructs shaped us all.

Courtesy of The Odyssey Online

Whether it’s someone bumping into us, manspreading on public transportation or cutting us in line, why do we feel the need to apologize? I’m guilty of it myself, don’t get me wrong — but I’ve made a conscious effort over the past few years to minimize my apologies.

Some would argue I’m failing at said effort, for which I have no apology. Feeling bad when others make us uncomfortable is a quality of most women I know. In the past, we haven’t wanted to inconvenience others by speaking up or arguing. Being a “feminist” is still a bad word, for fuck’s sake.

But what I’ve learned — particularly in the past year, and while working in tech — is you can’t apologize for everything. You can be vulnerable and empathetic, of course. But you can’t let others run you over and then say sorry to them.

The criteria where apologies are perfectly fitting? When you hurt someone’s feelings. When you inconvenience them. When you wrong them in any way. NOTE: This does not mean you had a difference of opinion or want them to correct their mistake.

In fact, the longer you accommodate someone and refuse to call them on their BS, the more a disservice you do to them both. If the office gossip is never told to cut it out, they’ll never see the hurt they’re causing. If the friend or family member is never corrected for their poor behavior, they’ll never think they’re doing anything wrong. The entitlement simply won’t end if people aren’t called on it — and most of the time, they don’t even realize they’re being disrespectful!

So while I haven’t banished “sorry” from my vocabulary altogether, I’m doing my best to be more conscious of using it thoughtfully, and when it truly applies. Otherwise, I’m the girl who cried sorry, which makes my actual mistakes and subsequent apologies feel less genuine and meaningful.

It’s a slippery slope from being the sorry girl to the doormat, and it’s one I hope we can all help each other overcome in my lifetime.

Courtesy of DailyHaha.com

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
24. That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.

Actress and model Portia de Rossi provides this week’s perspective on something all women should know — hopefully well before 30. It’s primarily about body acceptance, given de Rossi’s personal experience with body image, an eating disorder and being scrutinized endlessly about what she “should fix.”

While I’m positive every single human being has poked and prodded themselves, finding flaws and wishing they looked different, I agree that women in particular are taught at a young age how they “should look.”

The best example I can recall is from Tina Fey’s Bossypants: “Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.”

The beauty standard is, obviously, impossible. Even if you possess one or more of these “ideal” features, you can’t possibly have them all without some extreme alterations. And isn’t perfection boring? If we all looked the same, what on earth would we read about in women’s magazines? 😉

In all seriousness, I’m grateful to have had parents who didn’t define my self-worth on my appearance. Maybe it’s because they knew it’d be hopeless for a fair-skinned, freckled, chubby, redheaded, clumsy, big-chested, four-eyed, brace-faced adolescent to find much to adore in the mirror. (At least I had the blue eyes going for me, hidden behind those glasses.)

Instead, they focused on work ethic, affirmations and kindness… although that last one took awhile, as I figured if I could bully others, they wouldn’t bully me.

Courtesy of FB

The flip side of all of that positive parenting is that I haven’t always embraced what’s in the mirror. I have friends who can’t pass a mirror without stopping and “fixing” something, but I’ve also envied at times how comfortable they are staring themselves in the face.

So the past few years, I’ve been working on a balance of both: I smile at my reflection and might have some negative thoughts, but I’ll push those away to focus on what I love.

The nose I hated for years and years has a “sparkle” (my niece’s wording) and calls attention to how similar it is to my mom’s and brother’s.

The freckles i loathed provide texture and stories of sun-filled days I’m fortunate to enjoy.

The stomach I still don’t love shows I’m not shy about embracing different cuisines — and carbs— and no workout regimen can hide it.

I spend my energy focusing on a balance of nutrition and physical activity, indulging when I want and not beating myself up too much when I go overboard. I’d rather just live and accept my features, rather than worry about what magazines and pop culture tell me are flaws. The skin I’m in is mine alone — and I wouldn’t change it, even if I could.

Courtesy of FB

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
20. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.

OK, editors of Glamour. I wanted to hear you out, because my initial reaction to this must-know was not a positive one.

My mind raced with a stream of feminist fury: Why would a kiss dictate what we want and don’t want to happen next? Shouldn’t our words do the talking? Shouldn’t the person receiving said kisses and communication be understanding of whatever we want to happen (or not)?

Maybe I was so upset because I just finished the deeply moving Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” (more on that in tomorrow’s WO). Maybe it’s because I spent my college career flying under the dating radar, for fear of being labeled a “slut,” “whore,” or anything other than a young woman exploring her sexuality. Maybe it’s because I have nieces, whose safety I worry about constantly from 3,000 miles away. Maybe it’s because for the first time in a long time, I was pissed at Glamour editors for writing the exact kind of fluff expected from a women’s magazine.

Courtesy of ContentedTraveller.com

To say I struggled with this List item is an understatement. I understood the message the editors tried to convey: A woman’s ability to communicate via kiss can be powerful. It can be empowering. It can be a lot of positive things, indeed.

The rabbit hole I fell down, instead, was thinking about how much time I spent in my teens and 20s convincing myself I was OK with casual dating. Exploring my preferences carefully, because I didn’t want people to get the wrong idea about me. Being scared to have my reputation tarnished by one awful frog I’d mistaken for a prince. Finally letting go of it all when I moved to New York, where I learned very quickly it’s the smallest world of 9 million people you can imagine.

Thankfully, very few of my experiences shook me to my core. I wasn’t taken advantage of or abused or any of the negative things that can happen after something as simple as a kiss. I know not everyone is as lucky.

And while I understand the power a kiss can hold — it’s the gateway to intimacy and often still heralded as the first test of a potential partner — I don’t agree with this item on The List.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments! I’m eager to hear your perspective.

Courtesy of SickChirpse.com

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should have…
15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.

Legendary anchor and journalist Katie Couric writes us into our halfway point this week. She begins by telling us she spent her 20s focused on her career, allowing work to take priority over her love life.

Sound familiar?

I don’t know if it’s because women are becoming more vocal, or because we have social platforms to have more public discussion, or because I’m nearing the end of my 20s myself, or some combination of the above… or none of those things at all.

I do know it’s a constant conversation among my circles for women to feel like they must choose one over the other: career or love?

Courtesy of MyStyleProject.com

Part of this is, unquestionably, biology. If we meet a partner at 25 and marry by 27, we still have some “good years” left in us to have children. Men, on the other hand, can possess none of Mick Jagger’s millions and have children well into their 70s.

Putting that aside, there’s also an expectation for most, if not all, women: We should want to have children. If we don’t, there must be something wrong with us. Or we just don’t know it yet. Or we haven’t found the right person (because who would ever choose to be a single mother?). As I once heard from a wise mother of two, “Any fool can have a baby.” Yet there’s still this need from society for all women to become mothers.

I’m getting deeper than Couric’s message was, but I felt it a necessary piece of the Career vs. Love debate: So much of this boils down to a woman’s choices and her desire to put herself first.

Courtesy of ClipArtKid.com

As I’ve often discussed on this very blog, and IRL ad nauseam, I’ve put my career ahead of most other things. In my seven-point-five years since undergrad, I’ve sacrificed some friendships, ended some romantic relationships, often worked tirelessly without need of recognition — and as long as I could get to a certain career milestone before 30, it’d all be worth it.

I’ll hit that career milestone on Thursday, as my role in my current company shifts. And you know what? I don’t know yet that it was worth it. Sure, I’m thrilled to hit this arbitrary goal I set so long ago. But I still question my career choices often and wonder where my next years will take me after this hurdle is overcome.

Part of that may be my inability to be completely satisfied. And while I should save that for a therapy session, I do question if accomplishing this career goal means I can finally ease my foot off the go-getter gas a little and refocus on romantic relationships. If I can allow myself to be loved, to be taken care of, to let my walls down and be vulnerable again.

Couric even briefly touches on losing her first husband to cancer, and how “the ability to accept and adapt gracefully to life’s twist and turns is one of the greatest skills you’ll learn.”

I know the ride’s not over yet, but I’m certainly going to buckle up for the journey ahead.

Courtesy of PinkSkySerendipity.com

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

Courtesy of Pinterest

By 30, you should have…
13. The belief you deserve it.

Reminder: Last week’s task was to have “something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.”

So, I jumped the gun a little on this one, as I already spoke last week about learning to accept how deserving I am of something ridiculously expensive.

Taking that concept further, though, I read this week’s mini-essay with fervor. It’s a foreign concept to me… to believe you deserve something and not feel like a selfish prick for it.

But it’s also something that comes very naturally to most of my male peers. That’s not to say they’re selfish pricks at all; but it is to say there’s something innate for most men (in my experience) to believe they’re deserving of a nice life.

Without getting too political, there is — of course — the concern when someone believes they’re deserving to a point of taking without asking.

Rather, what I’m talking about is the ability for many men to go after what they want — a promotion, vacation, once-in-a-lifetime tickets, what have you — and reach out and get it. If it doesn’t pan out, it’s not because they’re not good enough.

The flip side, again from my experience, is that many women question their worth; we stutter and stall because we’re afraid of failure or embarrassment. Our self-worth is in question enough; why give anyone the power to make us feel like even less?

I’ve experienced this myself, particularly when I questioned what the hell I was thinking in moving across the country twice. I remember, specifically, calling my mom on the first night in my barren San Francisco apartment. I cried and asked why she “let me” make the move from Manhattan.

What I had to work through, with lots of help from my mom and other dear loved ones, was that I deserved to take this chance on myself. If I fell flat on my face and decided I didn’t like SF (as I had determined with NYC), that didn’t make me a failure. The only failure would be in not taking the chance.

If I looked back at 40 (or 30!), she reminded me, I’d kick myself if I hadn’t at least tried.

Image Courtesy of Pinterest

Am I successful here? That’s all relative. I’m not a bitcoin billionaire (or a startup septillionaire 😉 ), but I’ve made a life I’m proud of here and continue to take chances on myself often. I try new things, have difficult conversations, publish this blog for goodness sake!, and I’ve come out the other side just fine.

After all, falling on my face is just another of life’s lessons, which surely won’t stop at 30. It only means I took the steps to put myself out there and try to fly. And that’s something I think we all deserve.

Image Courtesy of HerCampus.com