Same-sex marriage is legalized–and I know we have all read 537 articles telling us so. This blog will make it 538. In all honesty, as soon as I heard the news I told myself under my breath, “I’m not writing about this one.” … Continue reading
I don’t think I’ll ever forget her eyes. Or the way her face changed when she told me, matter-of-factly, that it was done. Her husband left her and he wasn’t coming back. The last two—three?—weeks have been circled around this … Continue reading
I have always had a thing for once-in-a-lifetime romance. I think it started as a teenager when I decided that my favorite kind of books to write were the ones where the two characters fall in love in the end, despite … Continue reading
I got married young. And fast. To some, that’s a bad combination. But it wasn’t to us. I was nearly done with schooling and he was somewhere in the middle, and it would be…well, perfect. But then I learned something. The … Continue reading
I read your blog post yesterday.
This one, to be exact: “I look down on young women with husbands and kids and I’m not sorry”.
You won’t be surprised to hear that I was stunned. I read almost every comment on your blog and I know for sure that I’m not alone in the category of “jaw-dropped-women”. But before you click out of this post and think this is just one more hateful monologue about your writing–let me first say this. Just a few years ago, I agreed with you. I’m ashamed to say it now. But I won’t deny it. I believed the lie. And let me tell you, in a kind way of course, why it’s in fact a lie.
As you can read from my biography and as you can see from all my social media platforms–I’m a career woman too, just like you. It’s always been in my blood. Like you, I get a thrill from traveling. I live off of the adrenaline that pumps through my blood under deadlines. I’m a busy bee–a workaholic at times, even. And I enjoy tackling challenges, probably like you do. And just like you, I’m a writer.
And much like you express in your letter (though I wasn’t exactly as heated about the topic) I tended to wonder why not EVERY woman wanted opportunity to step out into the world and take it in her hands and mold it into the shape she wanted. Why didn’t every woman want to get a degree and climb corporate ropes and BE something valuable and highly-esteemed? I didn’t want to disappear. It wasn’t that I looked down on women in the home, I just didn’t want to be that woman.
You said in your post, “You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids”. And within a young mind, I believed that because that’s what the world whispered to me. Rise above your gender roles, it said to me.
But then, I started my career. I bought my own groceries and I paid my own bills. I had viral blog posts *like you* and I had plenty of bylines to stack up my resume.
But you want to know something? I noticed that at the end of the day, when the stories are written and the projects are done–all I want is to come home and talk to my husband. The “ball and chain” people speak of makes life exceptional. At the end of the day, before I go to any CEO or big-wig director with a concern, I’ll go to my mom. Because she created an exceptional life for me. She is exceptional.
During visits to see my nephews and nieces and holiday functions (that I actually get off from work), I watch my sisters-in-law with awe as they carry a baby on one hip and wipe sticky goop from a toddler’s hair with another, all while carrying on an intelligent conversation with the rest of us. They are exceptional to me.
My greatest teachers in my life never stood at the front of a boardroom. They waited at the bus stop for me. They gave me cough medicine at 3 in the morning. They married me at an altar and promised to put up with my not-so-nice days. They held me when no one understood and they worked odd jobs and sacrificed it all to stay home and make sure I had after-school snacks and help with my math. They raised my nephews and nieces with tenderness that taught me patience and compassion. They showed me what it means to live an exceptional life–what it means to be exceptional.
You say that “doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business”. I know how it may look like that, Amy. But I also know that when I threw up all over my sheets in the middle of the night when I was just 7-years-old and my mother woke up to wash, dry, and fold them right back over my bed, humming a song as she scratched my back and put me to sleep again, she was doing a work far greater than building any business. She was building me.
That is exceptional.
From the ones raising CEO’s to the CEO’s themselves–every moving part is vital to humanity’s progression. From the mother who wakes up nine times in the night to soothe a crying baby to the lawyer who falls asleep on a desk of work–the dedication and resilience is astounding to me. And exceptional.
As women we need to stand together, Amy. We need to remind the world of why mothers and wives and husbands and those within the walls of our homes help build nations. We need to stick together and cheer each other on for building families, building businesses, building futures, building homes and most importantly–building people.
We need to remind the world of the courageousness and importance of womanhood. That, my friend, is what’s truly and undeniably exceptional.
All my best,
A fellow blogger
To my dear prince *AKA husband of over a year now*,
It started with a castle–just like a fairytale should.
Okay, not exactly a real, medieval castle with spires that pierced the sky around the time Cinderella lost her shoe. But it was our castle. Even better than a “real” one, I’d say.
And it was perfect.
Even before the castle doors, I felt like you were coming into my life on a white horse, scooping me up in my dusty dress and replacing old slippers with glass ones. And in many ways, I was right.
But then, the wedding bells were silenced, the dress was put away, and the routine of every day life commenced–as it should, and does. And I quickly learned about fairytales. I put my dance shoes away and, like many people in the world, I reminded myself that midnight comes and the glass carriages turn into pumpkins at some point. The fairytale, in Disney’s standards, ends almost immediately.
People often say that when the two ride into the sunset, when the grand finale kiss comes, when the sparkles of fairy godmother wands float to the earth and every day life pursues–the book gently closes and “real life” is the cruel teacher that whispers that fairytales don’t exist for long. I’ve read blogs and have heard from people who say marriage isn’t a fairytale, it’s hard work. And struggle. And disappointments from unmet expectations.
And I almost–ALMOST–bought into that. Lots of us do. For example, I almost bought into it the first time I noticed you have a habit of leaving your clothes in piles–in a trail–all the way from the bed to the shower in the morning. Or the way you slam cupboards in the early morning when I can still be sleeping and kiss me a million times on the face despite the fact that mornings equal a grouchy Kayla. Or the way I threw up in front of you when I was dreadfully sick and spent days in bed looking like death. Or the way I have a habit of slipping into an ugly state of REM and like to drool all over my pillow. Or the way I have stared up at you a million times with horrible raccoon eyes as I cry, unconscious of the fact that my makeup is now a blurred mask on my face.
I almost bought into it–that we’re a silly, unfairytale-like couple with stubborn ways and outbursts of crazy. But then today happened.
You called me as I sat by myself, hands bunched together, staring at the clock. I had just heard an hour before that my dad was admitted to the hospital again. He’s getting sicker, Mom said, and it looks bad. I called you a couple times and left voicemails, realizing you’re in class and wouldn’t get it ’til later. And I cried, knees up to my chest. And then, the phone rang. You weren’t asking what’s up or why I called during class. You were calling me from the hospital parking lot–before even calling me back you were at the hospital to see my dad. And just like that, I suddenly had my glass slippers on again.
As I made my way to the hospital, eager to join you, I reflected on how different every fairytale is–even in the movies. No fairytale is exactly alike. It comes with opposition, heartache–discoveries that turn the tides for a time. And with that same train of thought, I realized it’s not that I should lower my expectations of marriage–I need to instead readjust what a fairytale really is.
I don’t agree with the reasoning that fairytales are thoughtless, irresponsible love and marriage is only hard work and mutual agreement to keep on keeping on. Yes, marriage is hard work. A lot of work, actually. But it’s also dancing barefoot in the kitchen. Laughing til we’re breathless as we try to put together a coffee table from Wal-Mart that comes with impossible directions.
Yes, it comes with heated arguments and tears. But it also comes with whispered words of “I love you” right before we fall asleep and embraces that heal the soul.
Yes, marriage comes with you scrubbing pans coated with remnants of burnt egg *that I forgot to soak* and me finding your dirty socks lodged between the headboard and mattress. But it also comes with little love notes on the white board and clean dishes put away after a long day at work.
Yes, it comes with compromise. Plenty of it. But it also comes with those happy silences–the contentment of being in the same room and doing completely separate tasks. It also comes with goofy inside jokes that only we know and the finishing of one another’s sentences *And one another’s entrees during date night*.
Marriage comes with all of those anti-fairytale parts we’ve all heard of–but who’s to say that wasn’t part of the real fairytales all along? Who’s to say the “happily ever after” didn’t entail times of silent treatments, misunderstandings, or holding hair while the princess hovers over a toilet? It DOES include those things.
After thinking over all these things I walked into the hospital room and I saw you sitting by my dad, making him laugh, of course. Because you tend to do that.
And glass slippers, big dress and all *or at least it felt like that* I was reminded of my modern-day fairytale, complete with hospital rooms, dirty laundry, overflowing sinks, and spats over which way to turn during a road trip. It’s also complete with daily laughter, a safe place to run to when the world just hurts, long conversations that I’ve never shared with anyone, and those morning kisses–the annoying, pesky little things that I just couldn’t live without.
There ARE such things as fairytales, regardless of general opinion. Imperfect, challenging, quirky, amazing fairytales that far surpass ballrooms and crowns and knights on fancy horses.
You see, when THAT is the way a fairytale is defined, it’s easy to see that’s us to a tee.
Happily, dysfunctionally, crazily ever after.