A week in the life of Reese Witherspoon - A lesson in empowerment for women

I am fully aware that two blog posts about Reese Witherspoon (read the last one here) in one week could be perceived as creepy, but it’s already an established fact that I’m odd and sort of “off” by regular person standards, so I said to myself, - Self – fuck it! Write about Reese again you creepy creeper! Let your freak flag fly high!

I JUST CANNOT HELP IT BECAUSE IT’S LIKE THE GODDAMN UNIVERSE IS THROWING REESE AT ME FOR A REASON!

OH MY GOD YES YOU ARE REESE! YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH AND SO AM I! We are all good enough, so why don't we celebrate?

Of course it could just be that I am addicted to celebrity smut via E!online and D-Listed (I love you Michael K and cannot live without your bitchy snark so don’t ever stop) and not the work of the force of the big U. Hard to say. Either way, I’m writing about Reese. Again. Because she's in the news. Again. Damn this cool broad makes me spelunk into the depths of my me cave!

Click on this LINK and read. I’ll wait for you right here. Read it carefully. Read it twice if you feel like you didn’t really absorb enough to carry you through this brief, albeit deep as the goddamn ocean blog post about women and success. I’ll be here when you get back. Not technically here, as I might grab something to eat because I’m so HONGRY from skipping breakfast to write this blog post, but you know what I mean. Ok, so go read it, read it, read it. PLEASE?

SERIOUSLY DID YOU READ IT? BECAUSE I SAID PLEASE!

It's good stuff, right? I mean after the week she's had, she needs to celebrate her friendships and feel a-okay about being awesome, despite having a setback in her personal life. It ain't all or nothing, but she's a lady and the world is still holds the XX crowd to a different standard than the XY people. This fact was the catalyst for closer examination. I went deeper into my brain cave to explore my recent experience with this very subject.

This past weekend, a good girlfriend of mine came into town to celebrate my once in a lifetime event, the launch of my first book. After years and years at home, being mom and part time freelance writer, I was celebrated and recognize for both these things. It felt good to feel great, as I spent a fair amount of time over the past few years feeling bad. It wasn’t easy for me to adjust to being a stay at home mom, leaving my career and a big part of my identity behind. I felt weak and sometimes angry, but most importantly (and pathetically) GUILTY. Not contributing to the financial well being of my family bothered me. That’s just how I am. It’s not right or wrong if this doesn’t bother you at all, I’m just telling you how I feel about my own self and life.

Interestingly enough, the friend who came in to town is a very successful career woman who is the primary breadwinner in her family. She’s bright, funny and oh-so aware that it isn’t always easy for her husband to deal with what is still considered a non-traditional situation. I also had several friends show up to support me that are perfectly content with their role as stay at home mommas and celebrate their success in that role each and every day, as they damn well should. Some of them are loving it, others not so much. I'd like to say they all have overwhelming support from their partners, but I cannot in good faith do so, which is sad and I'm sure quite a lonely and terrible feeling. How we all define success or failure is specific to our individual situation, value system and the goals we set for ourselves! When I look at the lives of my stay at home mom friends, I see nothing but success and hard work and I celebrate them! Not because I have to, but because they deserve nothing less than to be supported and celebrated.

Personally, I’ve experienced nothing but support and kindness from my circles of friends during this amazing time, yet in almost every single interview I have done with regard to the book, I have been asked specifically about why I think women engage in vicious battles over issues from breastfeeding to business decisions and whether I have experienced any backlash or nastiness with regard to my blog, book or bullshit.

The answer is simply no. At least not within my circle and that’s all that matters to me. I am surrounded by tremendously generous women who are rooting for each other so hard, we should actually just get some t-shirts or some shit like that so that we can be identified in public. Oh wait….we did.

When my friends surprise me at the event of your life wearing shirts like this, how could I not feel empowered and celebrated?

When my friends surprise me at the event of your life wearing shirts like this, how could I not feel empowered and celebrated?

Oh, just one more?

They obviously read the goddamn book. Word.

They obviously read the goddamn book. Word.

We still have a long way to go in our society before we overcome the ridiculously rigid expectations and roles set long ago for both men and women.

A long fucking way.

Here is the quote from the end of the E!online piece on Reese (that was so fun to write. Say it. Piece on Reese) that blew my mind and came at the absolute perfect time, as I’m sort of in an unfamiliar and new situation, dealing with some odd and unexpected emotions related to my current situation (which by the way is so freaking out of the realm of what I ever dreamed, it’s creepy enough to make me think I might be like Jim Carry’s character in the movie, “The Truman Show,” and this is not even real).

I was feeling a bit weird and squirmy about the celebration. Should I be more humble and Awwww schucksy about it? I'm surely humbled by the support, but I also feel quite deserving of the support. I'm soooooo freaking nice and I've got a wicked work ethic. I. KICKED.SOME. ASS. So why the hell does being celebrated by others make me feel like the weirdo who posts a dozen selfies a day on Twitter with the caption, "Oh my GOD look at how fat my ass is in these pants," when she knows damn well her buns look delicious and perky?

"As women, we shrug and smile and say, ‘Oh...me?' because it makes it socially acceptable for us to be successful," she says. "But there is a balance between being an arrogant jerk and being someone who is proud of their accomplishments. We need to let successful women show off and support them.
"Because men don't spend any time putting themselves down. They don't waste their breath. You have to be the best version of yourself and, if that means you have to be a bit self-promoting, then it's OK. It really is. Because who's going to believe in you more than yourself? Other than, maybe, your mother."

When I wrote about Reese last week, it wasn’t because I don’t like her and wanted to take the opportunity to take her down a peg, it was actually the opposite! I wrote about her because she is someone I look up to as a wife, mother, woman, daughter, friend and professional. She is a role model for many and these days, the role of women in society is becoming less clear. What is expected of us?

EVERYTHING.

And that is why I was super sad and a bit freaked out when I heard that she'd run into some trouble. Who hasn't? But not everyone is held to the same standards as American's Sweetheart, are they? In some ways, it's good that so much is expected of women, because it just shows how obvious it is that we just as deserving of the menfolk, both personally and professionally. I love that we are raising the bar even higher for ourselves and breaking down barriers, as a group and as individuals, so that’s why I burns my britches to experience the unbelievably unpleasant backlash with regard to achieving a certain level of hard earned success and being DEPHUCKINGLIGHTED about it.

I want to shout from the rooftops, “I did it! I did it! I pulled myself out of the dark hole of post-partum depression and weathered the brutal storm of an identity crisis and came out alive. Not just alive, but I now thrive! I’ve worked my ass off to achieve these things, so I have earned the right feel guilt-free good!” I did it too. Well, I didn't get on the roof or anything, and it was really more like talking loud and dancing around like Spicoli and playing air-drums to the song Sister Christian by Night Ranger, but I sure as hell celebrated and I'll be honest with you - I wish it didn't feel so weird.I guess I have a long way to go myself in order to wrap my head around the concept of embracing confidence confidently (that was also fun to write and say. Say it).

There is no shame in having pride in your accomplishments and not feeling the need to acknowledge those who begrudge you happiness and contentment. God knows it’s usually short lived, so why not soak up every last bit of the creamy goodness with your own fluffy biscuit of joy?

So I encourage you to make a list of things you want to celebrate. Use a big piece of paper and find some colorful markers. Once you complete the list, call a friend or two and set up a celebration! YOU deserve it. We all do, dammit!

 I am linking a few recent articles here for you to read about women, success, empowerment and lots of other, in my opinion, interesting and must read items. It’s stuff to think on, no matter who you are. Even the XY chromosome peeps can certainly benefit from knowing how the other half thinks, feels and dreams. Even if you don’t agree with all of it or struggle to understand it, I’m telling you right now that even considering it and being willing to participate in a fair minded dialogue about it with we womenfolk increases the chances that you will get enthusiastically laid.

P.S. Buy my book. Subscribe to my blog. Roar like you mean it and celebrate your success!

P.P.S. Just a little shout out to my girl Reese – hope you are your family are doing well and recovering from the trials and tribulations of late and that what didn’t kill you makes you stronger and able to make more movies STAT, because me and my girls really need a Girls Night Out starring YOU to celebrate our success.

Links for your reading pleasure because you ARE good enough:

Zia Morales

Estelle Erasmus

Divine Caroline

Stay at Home Mum - Australia's Biggest Mother's Network

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