The “Social Justice Smackdown” (And Why It’s So Not Helpful)

I don’t talk a lot about my actual, real job. Kinda like a superhero, my actual, real job is what I do by day so I can save the world by night.

Or to be more accurate, “so I can save the world by morning,” because I prefer to be in my pj’s with a cup of coffee whenever I do anything especially heroic.

It’s not that I purposefully avoid talking about my actual, real job. It’s just that there are very few occasions when it requires me to run into the nearest telephone booth and change into my pj’s.

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Or my Wonder Woman costume.

But last week, I was at a training for my actual, real job, and we got into discussing the “Social Justice Smackdown.”

Now before I go further, for those of us who are less familiar with phrases like, “social justice,” please know that is totally okay.

This is the technical language of my trade, kinda like “sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia” is the technical language of medicine.

While “sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia” sounds like a bunch of fancy-pants SAT words, it actually refers to brain freeze.

Which most of us have experienced when drinking Slurpees too quickly.

The phrase “social justice,” may sound similarly intimidating, but it’s pretty simple.

It’s essentially the stuff we learned in elementary school. To play fair, share our stuff, and always look out for each other. Especially our friends who are being treated poorly.

So then, what is a “Social Justice Smackdown”?

While there is no formal definition because I kinda just made it up, I think you will know it when I describe it to you.

A Social Justice Smackdown is when we use tactics like talking down to people, shaming them into silence, and practicing other unproductive behaviors to, ironically, advocate for social justice.

What might this look like?

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This isn’t how it looks. But it is how it feels.

It might look like ostracizing a woman who doesn’t self-identify as a feminist because she has “internalized sexism.”

Or telling a man who volunteers to mentor a woman that he is “reinforcing patriarchal hegemony.”

Or critiquing a woman’s use of the word “tribe” to describe her BFF’s because she is “appropriating Native American culture.”

While all of this may very well be true and “socially just” to say, it’s super not helpful.

Because not only are we using our educational privilege to marginalize others, we are undermining the ultimate goal of social justice, which is to heal the world through love and compassion.

Social justice is not about public accusations, trials among our peers or punishment. That’s a different kind of justice, the kind that takes place in a courtroom, but I think we sometimes forget.

Especially with each other. Because unfortunately, I see Social Justice Smackdowns take place within our own communities, among good people who are doing the best they can.

And that’s exactly what I did last week. To the man who posted the “tribe” comment on my girlfriend’s Facebook page.

Because he is a man, and she is a woman (and I am a self-appointed-women’s-empowerment-superhero), my social justice trigger got sprung.

So I threw on my Wonder Woman suit and smacked back. While I won’t get into specifics, my response sounded a lot like his. Intellectually arrogant, self-righteous in its definitiveness, and not very nice at all.

Eye for an eye, as they say.

This problematic exchange made me reflect on how I could have handled the situation better.

Because there are many times when people have shown grace around my social justice mistakes. When they restrained from giving me a Social Justice Smackdown and instead demonstrated love and compassion.

Two examples in particular come to mind, and they span the twenty years I’ve been doing this work.

In graduate school, one of my jobs was sending out mass emails to my classmates. Right before spring break, I encouraged everyone to wear sunscreen.

Soon thereafter, I received an email from a person of color who explained that she didn’t need to wear sunscreen because of her dark skin, and that in the future, I should probably not assume everyone who reads my emails is white.

Rather than emailing it out to the entire class – which would have been an epic Social Justice Smackdownshe sent her feedback directly (and privately) to me.

And she did it with such kindness that I actually called to thank her. 

Did I feel ashamed? Absolutely.

Did I feel shamed? No.

And from that place, I was able to apologize, learn for my mistake, and commit to never reinforcing whiteness as the norm.

More recently, I was meeting with a woman who works with the LGBTQ community. I made reference to a transgender person but couldn’t remember which pronouns to use. So in my fluster, I referred to the person as “it.”

Oh.

My.

God.

Objectifying and dehumanizing “the other” is about as bad as it gets. But rather than looking at me in horror and judgment, my colleague said, “I know this is hard for you. Let’s try that again.”

There are many more times that I have been on the deserving end of a Social Justice Smackdown.

And as I stated earlier, there are times when I have doled out Social Justice Smackdowns. When my well-earned frustration has overridden my best self, and I have used tactics similar to the ones I abhor.

For this, I am very sorry.

So what to do?

First off, let’s remember why we are doing this work. And let’s create a healing space around it. Not for ourselves or to heal our wounds. But for others and to heal their wounds.

And when we feel triggered, let’s accept that this, too, is part of the work. We are going to feel frustration, even anger. So we must be very careful not to tell ourselves that we are fighting for social justice when in reality, we are fighting each other.

Because the tools of the oppressor cannot be used for liberation.

And finally, the time, place, and manner in which we advocate for social justice matters. Anything that elicits shame, silences others, or causes harm is counterproductive to our work.

We must demonstrate the very things we are asking for, advocating for, fighting for, and even dying for – love and compassion.

Because if we want to live in a socially just world where diversity, equity and inclusion are made real, we must practice it ourselves.

Please share this post with your social justice friends. And let’s heal the world together, bravely.

The Dark Side of Bravery

I’ve received a few comments about my work on bravery that give me pause. Nothing scary or hateful, although I did once receive a vomiting emoji in response to a Facebook post about Beyoncé, interestingly enough.

Rather, the comments indicate a frustration women have with bravery. Frustration for not being as brave as other women. Frustration with other women for not being braver.

So I want to spend a little time exploring the dark side of bravery, not just the positive who-runs-this-mutha side. (That was a shout-out to Beyoncé and vomiting emojis, BTW.)

About one year ago (October 9, 2016, to be exact), I hosted a women’s leadership retreat. All by myself. I was the coordinator, host, MC, speaker, everything.

It was terrifying to plunk down $2,000 and then go home to tell my husband after the fact. (He does not really like expensive surprises.)

It made me sick to my stomach to ask friends, family, and anyone with a vagina to attend. (I never self-promote, not even at my own birthday party.)

When I should have been feeling “brave,” I felt anything but.

Here’s my journal entry on the day of the retreat.

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Fear and bravery go together, apparently

While fear may seem like the dark side of bravery, it’s not. The dark side of bravery is judging ourselves or other women for their choices related to it.

Because when we judge each other, not only are we buying into more bullshit about how women should be, we are actually scooping it up and throwing it at each other.

And while we’re in the middle of a bullshit melee (which I picture as being somewhat akin to a cafeteria food fight, just way grosser) men are out running the world.

Not women. Not you or me.

Not even Beyoncé.

Men.

They’re the ones running this mutha. And the longer we hurl bullshit at each other, the longer they will continue to do so.

This week, I’m at a women’s leadership conference called Emerging Women. It’s like what I did last year just times a billion.

At the conference, the woman who mentored and inspired Malala to become an activist gave a presentation. She and Malala now run an international girls’ education program in some of the scariest places on the planet.

She’s beautiful with a Stanford education and a lovely English accent who meets with the Obamas and Nobel Peace Prize winners (not counting the one she mentored) in between saving the world.

And oh-by-the-way, she’s twenty-seven years old.

I could sit here and roll around in bullshit, comparing myself to her. Finding fault in my meager attempts at social change while she continues to build her Empire of Awesome.

Or I could do what I actually did, which was go to the bathroom, stumble upon her in the hall, and envelope her in a hug.

Bravery is always, always, always relative to you and your life. Whatever action makes your heart flutter with your truth is brave.

For some women, that’s asking for a raise at work. For others, it’s asking your spouse to do the dishes.

For Shiza Shahid, it was asking Malala how she could help and then launching a global women’s movement.

Every act of bravery counts. 

There is no specific thing you should do or way you should be that is braver than others’. Because what makes my heart flutter with my truth will not be the same for you. And vice versa.

So let’s stop shoulding all over ourselves and each other.  

What does bravery look like for a stay-at-home mom? I have no idea, but it’s brave.

What does bravery look like for a transgender woman? I can’t say, but I bet she can.

What does bravery look like for you? Only you know.

Bravery is relative. It is deeply personal. And it is true for you.

So please. Be brave enough to support other women. To hear their truths and honor their choices. To set down the handful of bullshit or, even better, throw it full force at the patriarchy.

Because that’s how we are going to change this world. Together. 

Special thanks to the stay-at-home mama who suggested this topic. AND below is a list of reader-generated topics that YOU can vote on for next week’s post!

 

Costco Fashionista (And Other Acts of Rebellion for Women)

I shop at Costco. And when I say I shop at Costco, I mean I do more than buy a ridiculous amount of food in equally ridiculous quantities.

(What does one even do with 60 lbs. of pork besides bury it? Because clearly, it’s an entire animal.)

I also buy gifts for every holiday, decor for my home, electronics, and random stuff I didn’t know I needed but totally did.

Like these magical hangers that keep my clothes from falling down onto the floor of my closet. (Perhaps they’re made of NASA anti-gravity material? Is that actually a thing?)

Or a squatty potty that enhances the ergonomic experience of pooping. (Yes, that actually is a thing. And I think NASA made it.)

The best finds, however, are in the clothing aisles. Because contrary to what most people think, Costco knows fashion.

And I delight in sharing this whenever someone says, “You look so cute! Where did you get that (insert Costco fashion item)?”

Because for me, buying my clothes at Costco is one of the most brilliant life hacks I’ve discovered to date.

It takes a little elbow grease to dig through the piles of clothes, and it doesn’t look quite as sassy-cute as something I’d find at Ann Taylor Loft, but it’s good enough.

And that’s what life hacks are all about. Good enough.

This is super-tricky for women because we aren’t taught to see “good enough” as, well, good enough.

We’re taught to strive for perfection. In everything we do, from the roles we fulfill (perfect mother) to how we look (perfect body) to what we wear (perfect outfit).

So for me, buying clothes from Costco – being a Costco Fashionista if you will – is my way of practicing good enough.

Of saying, “Screw you, perfection. I just got a bombass denim dress for $29.99 and that is good enough for me and anyone who sees me wear it.”

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Bomb. Ass.

Life hacks like buying clothes at Costco are tiny acts of rebellion. Brave choices you can take as a woman to liberate yourself from perfection. Which is really just a bunch of unrealistic expectations and outdated gender roles that come with being female.

I mean, have you ever met a man who struggles with perfection?

Me, neither.

Here are a few more life hacks/acts of rebellion for you to consider:

The Housing Cleaning Hack

If you can afford it, hire a house cleaner. And if you can’t, lower your standards. (Like to the floor where the dust bunnies live.)

And if you feel guilty about it, do the math. For women who work outside the home, you can calculate how much it actually costs you to clean your house.

Now add in the opportunity cost of not doing other things (like enjoying your life) and it turns out hiring a house cleaner is actually saving you money.

And for women who stay home with their kids, you more than anyone need and deserve a house cleaner. It’s all you can do to keep up with your children’s craft-art disasters and self-reproducing toy piles, let alone the dirt and grime that naturally accumulate in a house.

So stop cleaning your own house. Or stop doing it so well.

The Homemade Meal Hack

Did I mention that Costco also makes delicious meals that, when coupled with a fresh veggie or salad, make you feel like the most responsible wife and best mother ever?

Costco. It’s what’s for dinner.

Homemade meals are overrated. Just ask my kids who much prefer stuffed peppers with a side of broccoli to anything I could make for dinner.

The Good Parent Hack

Orchestra recitals, soccer practices, kids’ birthday parties, and swim meets fill up my children’s schedules and, by default, my own.

So I attend their activities but now, rather than covertly checking email or texting one of the other mothers, “OMG why didn’t I bring a flask?” I make sure to schedule phone dates with my girlfriends. My kid knows I’m there (good parent – check), and I am actually enjoying myself.

Sometimes I’ll talk for hours with my girlfriends, usually with a very important look on my face. Is she talking to the doctor? Someone at work? Arguing with her husband?

No one knows, and that’s the hack.

I realize this doesn’t make me sound like a perfect parent. And maybe that’s a good (enough) thing.

Life hacks are beautiful and courageous. So rather than feel guilty about not making a homemade meal or spending hours cleaning your house, feel awesome.

Pat yourself on the back for being brave.

For being good enough.

Sharing is caring. Send this to a girlfriend who is good enough. Or shops at Costco. She’ll thank you for it. 

Oh, and please help pick out next week’s topic! Survey below.

Bad*ssery @Work (Lesson One: It’s all hearts, rainbows & ninja swords)

Let me start off by saying we’re all badasses.

Whether you’re a woman who works outside the home, inside the home, or some combo of both, you are a badass. Whether you have kids or not, you are a badass.

Because total badassery is what it takes for a woman to make it in this world.

But today, I’m going to focus on women who work outside of the home, the majority of whom (70%) have kids and work full-time.

This does not mean they are more badassy than stay-at-home-moms or working women who don’t have kids. It just means they have different challenges that require different techniques in badassery, and that’s what I’ll be exploring today.

In my opinion, working women who have children deserve to wear a Badassery Badge wherever they go so people can be in awe of them.

Something like a “Girl-Scouts-Meets-Special-Forces” badge with hearts and rainbows and Ninja swords.

Because the world (especially the working world) is not set up for them to succeed. It’s not that the world doesn’t like them. Rather, it’s just the world doesn’t know them very well.

Men have been leading businesses, running our governments, and generally kicking ass for thousands of years. And as a result, men are killing it at work.

There are more CEO’s named “John” than all of the female CEO’s combined. The U.S. Congress is more than 80% male. And men are offered higher salaries than women for the same work.

I’m not sharing this to make you angry at men. I love men. I’m married to one. I gave birth to one. Most of my mentors have been men.

And all of them want me to set the world on fire even though it may not be in their best interest.

Rather, I’m telling you this so you will stop blaming/shaming/hating yourself when you find it so hard to keep your shit together.

It’s not your fault that maternity leave only lasts three months, which is just about the time you finally figure out how to take a shower again, and now you have to go back to work full-time.

It’s not your fault that crying at work is considered “too emotional” but raising your voice in anger is not (for men, anyway).

Or that you’re more likely to be asked to plan the office birthday parties than take on a new strategic initiative.

It’s not your fault.

There is nothing wrong with you, you are not inferior or less than. You’re just trying to make it in a world that was not designed for you.

And that’s why it’s so, so important that you stay in the game because even though it’s hard, we need you. All of us do.

We need you to create a world that actually works. For men and women.

What would such a world look like?

Let’s play pretend for a moment and visit that world. Put on your princess dress (or borrow one from your daughter), grab your magic fairy wand, and let’s go.

There’s an issue that strikes fear in the hearts of most working mothers. An issue that requires logistical skills on par with an air traffic controller and significant financial resources to solve.

That issue is after-school pick up.

A deceptively simple concept, after-school pick up takes place sometime between 3:28 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. at my child’s elementary school.

Do you know where I am between 3:28 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.?

At work.

Which creates a bit of a challenge for me. My options are to send my child home to an empty house (which is illegal), hire a babysitter for $15/hour (which is expensive), or quit my job (which is stupid).

If women were also leading businesses, running our governments, and generally kicking ass on a level equal to that of their male counterparts, this is how after-school pick up would go:

  • First, the bell would ring at 5:30 p.m. because last time I checked, a full working day is 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Dolly Parton even wrote a song about it. For the movie 9-5.)
  • Second, the children would have already completed their homework, eaten a healthy dinner, and attended their sports practices/music lessons/Yearbook meetings. (All of which would take place at the school because that’s efficient, and if women are anything, we are efficient.)
  • Third, there would be an onsite restaurant where we could pick up dinner for the rest of the family. (Or down a couple of glasses of wine before actually picking up our kids.)
  • And finally, all of this would be free. Because the PTA no longer plans bake sales but drafts federal legislation to increase funding for our schools. (And all of this legislation would pass because half of Congress would be female and our President would be a woman.)

Yes ladies, that’s what would happen.

So the very first lesson in Badassery @Work is to understand that the world is set up for men to succeed and, if we ever want to have our make believe/after-school-pick-up fantasies come true, we must bring our inner badass out into the world.

At home. At work. And everywhere in between.

What does that look like exactly?

It looks like speaking up in meetings like a badass. Supporting other women like a badass. Advocating for better parental leave policies like a badass. Believing in your self-worth like a badass. Raising your hand for a new project like a badass. Taking risks and failing like a badass. Delegating caregiving responsibilities like a badass. Negotiating for what you need like a badass. Saying “yes” before you feel 100% ready like a badass. Saying “no” to stuff that you don’t want to do like a badass. Questioning sexist assumptions like a badass. Giving up perfection like a badass. Asking for help like a badasss. Staying in the game like a badass.

And most of all, it means being brave. Like. A. Badass.

You know how you can start? Like right now? Email this post to a woman who needs it. Put it up on your Facebook page and own it. Text the link to your BFF and say, “Let’s do this.”

That’s your homework for lesson 1 in Badassery @Work.

Class dismissed.

If you’re still reading and want to hear more from me on this topic, send me your email address via the form below. I’m working on a new project – {Re}Finishing School for Brave Women – that’s designed for working women who want to set the world on fire. 

Yes, I would like to set the world on fire with you.

 

AND I would love your feedback on next week’s topic! Email me at kandaolmstead@gmail.com if you have a cool idea.

 

Masters in Bad*ssery (And Why Every Woman Needs One)

Lots of people get their MBA’s to learn how to run a business for profit.

The Masters in Badassery is similar. Only you substitute “run a business for profit” with “run your life for yourself.”

If the idea of running your life for yourself makes your heart pause because it sounds terrifyingly selfish, I totally get that.

For most women, even basic self-care (sleeping, eating, the occasional mani-pedi) feels like an indulgent self-centered luxury if not an outright act against God.

If the idea of running your life for yourself makes your heart pause because there’s no more room on your “To Do List” for you, I totally get that, too.

We have loooong “To Do Lists,” and most of them are other-centered. Adding ourselves may make it combust into flames.

But running your life for yourself is not about whether you’re at the top, middle or bottom of the “To Do List” (where we typically find ourselves). And it’s not about setting fire to the list. (Although wouldn’t that be nice.)

Everything on your “To Do List” – all of it – is your life. There is no magic fairy wand that will make those things go away. And whether you are at the top, middle or bottom isn’t the point.

Rather, it’s about how you “do” your “To Do List,” and by that, I mean instead of having the items on your list run your life, you run them. 

Like a badass.

Here’s how this might look.

Ever been invited to a neighborhood potluck? The one where everyone brings a homemade dish (if they’re a woman) or a bag of tortilla chips (if they’re a man)?

We have one every year in my neighborhood, and I bring a gorgeous fruit pie.

That someone else baked. Someone named Whole Foods.

I even put it on a plate and break the crust a little bit.

Bam. Done.

Total badassery.

Ever volunteer at your kid’s school? I used to do this every week, which was a complete nightmare.

The commute between my office and the school was double the amount of time I spent volunteering, my daughter sobbed hysterically when I said goodbye, and the kids were so snot-covered that I needed a hazmat  suit.

The ROI simply didn’t add up.

So now I volunteer to run the Halloween Party, and I do it in such an epic, badass way that I feel absolutely no pressure or guilt to do anything more for the entire year.

I bring in a smoke machine that makes all the kids super-excited (and wheezy because apparently it’s better suited for outdoor use or dance clubs).

I make a “witches brew” with floaty corpse hands and dry ice. (Cautionary note: Dry ice has been banned from most elementary schools because it burns through children’s esophaguses so you’ll have to sneak it in.)

And I roll in dressed up like Wonder Woman. Which makes me the most awesomest, coolest mom ever.

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Total badassery.

Running your life for yourself looks like figuring out ways to make your life work not just for everyone else, but for you.

Running your life for yourself is something women need to re-learn how to do. And I say re-learn because somewhere between our girlhood and now, we forget how to do this.

If you cannot imagine ever, ever living this way, let me re-introduce you to your twenty year-old self.

Because I bet that woman knew how to run her life for herself.

Granted, she didn’t have the same responsibilities and pressures and commitments that you have today. But she still had responsibilities, pressures, and commitments.

They were just different. (And less loud because they didn’t have mouths that talked, begged, or screamed.)

She didn’t succumb to the “right way” to do something because she either didn’t care or she didn’t know any better.

The first step in getting your Masters in Badassery is to remember your twenty year-old self. Like, really remember her.

What would she put on her “To Do List”? And how would she manage the stuff that’s on yours?

Here’s my list:

  1. Make dinner
  2. Attend service club meeting
  3. Buy birthday present for dog
  4. Go to 4th grade Back to School Night

Hmmmm…. What would my 20 year-old self do with that list?

  1. Make dinner  What’s cookin’ Whole Foods?
  2. Attend service club meeting after a glass of wine
  3. Buy birthday present for dog  Here’s an extra scoop of dog food
  4. Go to 4th grade Back to School Night (This stays on the list because how else am I gonna sign up to rock out the Halloween Party?)

Now it’s your turn. Lemme know how it goes.

Sharing is caring. Send this post to a badass girlfriend. She’ll thank you for it.

(Oh! And don’t forget to vote for next week’s topic! I’m posting every Friday now, and I love love love to get your input. Survey is below. xoxoako)

 

The Man Question

I imagine this title may generate a bit of curiosity, especially in a blog dedicated to women’s development.

And because, generally speaking, women have a lot of questions about men.

To illustrate this point, here’s a quick summary of the questions I’ve had about men, sorted by decade:

  • My 20’s:  Am I ever going to find my man? Does this man like me? Love me? Like really love me? Will he ever ask me to marry him? (I know, I know. I was young.)
  • My 30’s:  How can I get this man to change? (That really was the only question for an entire decade.)
  • My 40’s:  What do we DO with the men? (Especially relevant now that we’re in the midst of a women’s empowerment revolution.)

Most of these questions center around being in a relationship with a man, but The Man Question has nothing to do with dating or marriage.

It’s a question posed to me by a male reader (of which I think there are about two) who responded to my invitation to submit writing topics for this blog. And it was this:

“How can I be a good father to a little girl?”

Oh. My.

Are you trying to break my heart wide open right now? Because you totally just did.

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After a few days of mulling The Man Question over, here’s what I came up with.

1) Respect their mother. The way you treat her mother will be how she thinks she should be treated. In fact, she will most likely end up marrying a man who is just like you. Which I know is scary because you’re still figuring your own self out and that’s a lot of pressure.

So here are a few quick tips:

If you want her to be talked to nicely, talk to her mother nicely.

If you hope she will be appreciated for her awesomeness, appreciate her mother’s awesome.

And even if you’re divorced, you can still honor whatever it was that brought you two together in the first place by being respectful.

2) Do your chores. Seeing you participate in traditionally female roles (cooking, cleaning, caregiving, etc.) will free her of the expectation that women must somehow “do it all.” This expectation comes at a cost to their careers, future income, and leadership aspirations.

So if you’re not already doing so, please pick up a broom, cook dinner, drive the kids to daycare – whatever – because equality must start inside of the home if we’re ever going to achieve it outside of the home.

3) Make her tough. I know having a girl child is a melty-melt experience for most fathers. When our own daughter was born, my husband treated her like a delicate little flower.

As much as I love this, it’s super not helpful because that delicate little flower is going to have to go out into the world and deal with some pretty tough stuff.

So make her tough.

Get her into competitive sports, remark on how strong she is (because she is), tell her she’s as good as (if not better than) any boy.

When she falls, encourage her to walk it off. Because she’s going to fall, be pushed over, and tripped, just like the boys if not more so.

I know it’s scary to raise a daughter. I have one myself. Compared to my son, she will be more vulnerable, she will experience more challenges, she will wrestle with more doubt (her own and others)…

AND

At the end of the day, she will have a father who respects her mother, who models equality home, and who shows her that she is tough enough to handle her own life.

A father who believes in raising brave girls who then become brave women.

A father like you.

Sharing is caring. Send this to a brave man who wants to be a good father to a little girl. (That little girl will thank you for it.)

Oh! And as you may know from last week’s post, Write Like a Mutha, I’m blogging every Friday now, in a way that’s more interactive with you. Use the survey below to vote for next week’s topic! xoxoako

 

Photo Credit Kyle Head

Write Like a Mutha

I woke up this morning and realized I’m a writer.

For those of you who have been reading my blog for the past year, it may be surprising that this just occurred to me. But for those of you who really know me – like in real life know me – it’s probably not.

I’m a slow learner. Super-smart but slooowwww on the uptake.

Now that I’ve established in my own mind that I write, I’m gonna write like a mutha. (That’s a play on words. I am a mother and I’m gonna write a lot. In addition to being slow, I’m clever. They kinda cancel each other out, right?)

Prior to this morning – and quite literally, I just woke up 9 minutes ago – my writing took a long time to get out of my body and onto the page. Then I’d agonize over the words and structure and….everything, until it was 100% ready to go.

Not gonna do that anymore.

I’m not aiming for a Pulitzer Prize (if I remember correctly, that’s a writing award of some sort) and I’ve received enough validation to know I’m good enough.

Sidebar: Good enough. Yes, let’s repeat that. I am good enough.

So I am going to write to you every week. Specifically, every Friday morning, you will get some kind of awesome from me.

And my topics will double down on women’s and girl’s development.

This is a nice way of me saying that if you’re not down with women’s and girl’s development, it might be time to unsubscribe.

BUT I HOPE YOU DON’T.

Because you are my people.

Whether you got here because you’re a mom who has been walking around in shock since the election,

A budding feminist who doesn’t quite get what the word “feminist” really means but gets my words,

A woman who has survived what most women go through – body image issues, unwanted sexual anything, work-life struggles, marital explosions, children,

Or a dude who loves any of the aforementioned women…

You are my people.

And I’m going to write for you. Because I’m a writer and that’s what writer’s do.

But here’s the catch. I want you to help me write.

I want your questions, your wonderings, your fears, your whatever that’s related to women’s and girl’s development to be the topics of my writing.

In exchange, I promise to be funny, smart, and true.

I’ll share how this will work in my next post because…well, I still need to figure that out.

I’m sure there’s some technological gizmo that will allow me to interact with you outside of the blogosphere (maybe it’s good old fashioned email?) but I need to do a little research first.

I’ll get back to you.

In the meantime, think on it. Because we’re going to do something awesome together.

We’re gonna write like a mutha.

xoxoako