Don't bother trying to score the domain. I've owned it for years.
This morning, I had coffee with a journalist friend. We have great conversations and can cover numerous topics with the agility of a jack rabbit.
One of the things we discussed, was the weird things people say to me - a vagina carrying female - that they'd probably never say to a man. We were slinging out the adjectives in rapid fire, and I'm sad to say, I've heard every one. Over-reactive. Bitchy. Bossy. Emotional. Abrasive. Aggressive. "Don't throw anything at me, Stacey."
You get the point.
In business. In advocacy and activism. In relationships. In random situations. Women typically have to work much harder than men to be taken seriously or be heard. If you're a minority woman, the chips are stacked against you even higher. This really sucks.
We're talked over in meetings. We're talked down to in politics. We're judged more by our body type than our intellect, and are expected to be docile and demure at all times. Ladylike. But in reality, if you look around your community, what you typically find are a whole lot of women actually getting shit done. Maybe it's because we have maternal instinct. Maybe it's an empathy thing. Maybe we're better at multi-tasking. I'm sure there are studies out there somewhere to give it scientific validity, but at least in my community, I know it's a fact. And many of these bad ass women are never recognized for their bad ass work. Which is a shame.
I had someone today say to me "Sell yourself to me. Sell me on you." This someone already knows my work ethic and skill set, and proceeded to play this weird psychological game of simultaneously building me up, then breaking me down. Having lived with a mom who had abusive boyfriends while I was growing up, coupled with lots of therapy when I was younger to overcome all of the crap, this was a serious trigger for me. It also made me wonder if this someone would be speaking to penis slinging man consultant me in the same way. I don't think it was necessarily on purpose or that he's a closet sexist, I just think it's so deeply ingrained in our society and upbringing that men are not stopping themselves to think about it a bit deeper, and ask themselves: "Would I say this to a man?"
No fucking way. And really, this someone should have been thinking about selling himself to me. Because I know my value. I know my worth. And I know I'm very good at what I do. Do I want to be working with you?
Moving on, there apparently are some folks out there getting uncomfortable with me saying the word vagina. Out loud and in public no less. The gall! Just WTF?! Do these same people get uncomfortable when they hear the word arm? Or finger? How about tongue? That sounds a little dirty...Can we please become a society that uses proper terms for our anatomy without weirdness or shame already? It's part of my secret (or not so secret) joy in producing The Vagina Monologues, as we finally get to see the word in print and said aloud numerous times in hopes to normalize it for everyone.
I'll never forget when my son Zane was in preschool. He was three years old at the time, and there was a little boy at school who called his penis his fire hose. Zane said "It's not a fire hose. It's your penis." The little boy started crying and went to tell the teacher. Zane was adamant about repeating over and over "It's his penis. It's not a fire hose." When I picked him up that day, there were notes about it on his daily update, and he was very upset that the teacher hadn't had his back on it. I didn't blame him.
Why are we such a sexually repressed society who are so uncomfortable with those words that we have to make up ridiculous shit for the reproductive parts of our anatomy?
It makes me want to say vagina followed by BOO! If you're male, you have a PENIS. If you're female, you have a VAGINA. There. I said it. Can we move on now?
My day today, and week in general really, has made me extremely philosophical. It's especially made me think about authenticity and leading a quality and values-driven life.
When I was younger, I had so many white, older men telling me I needed to "tone it down." "Tone it down, Stacey. You're making people uncomfortable." Really, the truth, is that I was making them uncomfortable. When I was younger, I cared more about what these older, white men thought. I doubted myself. I tried to behave and speak out less. I started acting how I thought they wanted me to act. I stopped being my true, authentic self. This didn't make me happy. I realized in doing this, I had sacrificed my own happiness, just so they wouldn't feel uncomfortable. Pure bullshit.
Then I got older.
Though I continued (and still do, as it's a constant evolution to become our better selves) to hone my diplomacy skills, be aware of my body language, pick my battles, behave when necessary, and trust my gut; you better bet your ass I'm going to speak out if I feel it's the right thing to do. If it makes you uncomfortable, too bad. That's not my shit. It's yours.
Please tell me of a time in history where positive change was made by being docile and demure. The quote "Well-behaved women rarely make history" is a quote, because it's true. We are the mama bears and when it's time to protect our cubs, you better watch out!
When I accepted and embraced being my authentic self I was happy. I speak my truth because it's my truth. My story. My life. I am blessed to have incredible people in my life - within both my personal and professional relationships. They are people who love me for me and sometimes even in spite of me- rough edges, imperfections and all. I respect authentic, passionate people. Even those I don't always agree with. There is a way to find common ground in the majority of situations (current election cycle excluded though because those people are just bat shit crazy...)
So this was my Thursday, late night brain barf.
I vented. I opined. I philosophized.
Moral of the story: Just be you. Speak your truth. Be kind. Stick up for those more vulnerable than you. Stand up for the sister women around you. Mentor. Encourage. Inspire. Don't be an asshole, but don't ever be a doormat either. And most importantly, please remember the only person you ever need to sell yourself to -- is you. You are the one who will have to look at yourself in the mirror every day for the rest of your life, so make sure that life is spectacular. Clitopia, here I come!
Love, Laughter and Vaginas,