This morning, I will say it: I am exhausted with all of the Lean In huffing and puffing. In my newsfeed this morning, I found this article on the Wall Street Journal. The book is authored by Facebook’s COO and as the article this morning states, the book’s premise is:
We have educated a generation of women well, but too few make it to the top rungs. That’s partly because of societal barriers and subtle biases remain, partly because of women’s behavior.
Interviews with Sandberg have yielded such quote gems as ““I want every little girl who [is told] they’re bossy to be told instead, ‘You have leadership skills.'” (60 Minutes).
And this morning, I am exhausted. Spent. And I’m going to run a few things out over the wires. Like ’em or agree with them? I don’t much care. What I do care about, however, is that it’s time for the conversation to shift away from gender and to lean towards talent. I’m done with my vagina being a part of conversations it’s never pursued.
- There is a difference between being bossy and having leadership potential. Bossy people — of either gender — are not good leaders. Period. As one of my friends stated on Facebook — she would call her daughter out for being bossy and bitchy in a heartbeat. Plus 83 from me should I be blessed enough to ever have a daughter. Lord knows, my mom called me out plenty for being bossy and bitchy. (Thank you, mom.)
- I was completely unaware that someone had, at some time, established quotas on how many female CEOs there should be in the Fortune 500. Quit fucking saying there aren’t enough — your data set is broken. How about we focus on the best candidate, instead of chromosomes, to lead a company? And why is being a CEO of a Fortune-rated company the bar? I know plenty of female CEOs running their own ships. Running a publicly traded company isn’t everyone’s — male or female — version of success.
- Quit telling women that they’re making the wrong decisions when it comes to having children and having a career. Your womb ain’t mine, your children ain’t mine, and neither of us lives the other’s life. Unless their decision that you perceive as “wrong” fucks up YOUR life and those YOU love in some way, how about you shut the hell up and use your magical version of Google Maps to plot your own mystical course through life? Life isn’t a board game filled with blue and pink colored pegs that move around a car by the roll of the dice. Quit pretending it is.
If you’re wondering what inspired this rant, it’s:
- lack of sleep
- an inability to look at my vagina and view it as a reason that I’m doing something “incorrectly” in my life
- the exhaustion with some sort of subtext that we’re all subject to The Good Old Boys Club
- and the belief that I’m somehow not reaching my potential as a human being because I’m not allowing myself to be successful.
I’ll never discount the women who have come before me and blazed paths in much need of blazing. But don’t ever discount my life, my achievements, and what I consider to be “success” because I haven’t ticked off a to-do on a list I never authored.
I yearn for a family — that’s never been a secret with my readers. I have plenty of girlfriends who never want children. Neither choice — to parent or not — detracts from our respective professional potentials. It all has to do with whose definition of success we’re abiding. Sheryl’s definition of success certainly isn’t mine and I don’t delude myself into thinking mine is anywhere near hers.
But each day, I wake up to life I love, filled with people I love. That — to me — is success. It has no gender bias, it requires no bestselling book. It simply requires that I am willing to face tough decisions and make unpopular decisions day after bloody day. That is work I am willing to do.
Let me tell you what success has looked like for me at various points in my life:
- Taking a shower anytime during the 6 months after the man I love died.
- Spending 24 hours with my father.
- Seeing my parents in the same room after 17 years.
- Realizing that my sister was happy.
- Getting anything done the day after my dog had raging diarrhea at 3AM, which meant I was up cleaning a sick dog and a very, very messy apartment when I’d only gone to sleep 3 hours prior.
- Narrowly missing 6 accidents and making it home alive while driving through a blizzard and snowpacked roads in a Mini Cooper.
- Seeing money in my bank account.
- Getting through the day.
So if your version of success is different and you choose to judge mine based on the chromosomes I was handed and how I’ve used my ovaries, uterus, and a sperm donation — believe what you will and go fuck yourself. I’ll be over here, making things happen.
…in the life I love, helping people become the next better version of themselves.
…for the people I love, who are my eternal front stabbers and the one who help me grow.
…and doing what I love, which is my daily stepping stone to becoming the next better version of myself.
Becoming better and honoring myself and those I love — I can’t think of a more noble pursuit. Maybe Sandberg lives her version of that life every day. I’ll never know.
But lady — don’t you dare think you’ve got the right to say I haven’t done amazing things in my 40 years. The fact that I’m alive today, at 40, typing this?
Huge. Fucking. Success.
PS: This is full admission that I have not read the book. And frankly, nor will I. I’m over that chatter and reporting on the book and how it’s for “all women”. To hell with that.