Tag Archives: women

Embracing your STEMininity.

I went to grad school with a brilliant woman named Christina.  (Seriously, brilliant!)  She got her PhD a couple years before I did and then moved on to bigger and better things in the form of a post-doc.  I was especially curious about her experience as a post-doc because she is, to my knowledge, the only grad student to have survived a PhD experience in Dr. Money Machine‘s lab, making her an incredibly trustworthy source regarding all things painful.  Well, not only did she survive her post-doc, she freaking flourished and is now making her way through the ranks as Harvard faculty.


Holy.  Crap.

Like I said, Christina is amazing and absolutely, 100% inspirational.  She will undoubtedly do very big things in this world– big and important things.  And yet for some reason, she likes to read my blog…

Brilliant.  Harvard.  Reads my blog.  Cheese and rice!

Christina is the one who suggested I share this (the below, not above…) with you today on my blog, and how could I possibly deny such a simple request from someone I admire so very, very much?!  The answer: I could not!

In the last couple of days, I’ve seen several posts on Facebook related to Goldieblox— engineering toys specifically designed for girls where the tagline is “more than just a princess.”  They recently put together an absolutely genius advertisement where they show three little girls using Goldieblox to design a seriously intense Rube Goldberg machine.  (Kelly– do you remember our Rube Goldberg machine for math class in like sixth grade?!)  It’s too cool– watch it here.

(Oh, and it’s a music video.  Beastie Boys.  Got to watch it!  Click here.)

Honestly, the whole idea of Goldieblox is genius.  I’m not sure if people really realize how important early STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) experiences can be for little girls, but I am here to tell you that the impact is HUGE!!

When I was in middle school (I think middle school– definitely before high school, anyway), I got to go to a little conference called Girls + Math + Science = Choices.  I’m pretty sure it was one of the best days of my life even though all I remember from it was isolating DNA from salmon sperm.  I could lit-er-al-ly (like Chris from P&R) SEE the DNA in the tube… and I was AMAZED.  AMAZED I tell you!!!  I kept that stupid little tube in my bedroom retreat (the half of the bedroom I could call my own, anyway) for years and years and years.  Honestly, I don’t think I got rid of it until I packed up and left for college.  It was that awesome to me.

Also in middle school, 8th grade I believe, I went to MST at MSU– Math, Science, and Technology at Michigan State University.  A summer camp for nerds.  And again… LOVED IT.  (Incidentally, this is when I discovered that I am a nerd even amongst nerds.  Little bit upsetting, but I’m over it now.)  I decided on chemistry as my major someday right then and there.  We shattered things frozen with liquid nitrogen, made huge fountains of foam explode from bottles, grew huge logs of charred blackness by adding sulfuric acid to sugar, made stringy gooey polymers, and shriveled marshmallow snowmen in vacuums.  I loved every second of it!

I loved other things too, of course, and I legitimately came thisclose to majoring in political science (thank goodness I didn’t make that life choice!), but those early organized STEM experiences made a huge impression on me.  Especially given constant encouragement to think, think, think and experiment from my parents.  (I spent more family dinners contemplating whether a flame is matter or energy than most people probably do in their entire lifetime…)

Sure, little girls should be allowed to play with dollies and pink things– that’s totally fun (I loved me some Cabbage Patch and Popples when I was little), but when toys become branded and targeted specifically for one gender or another, we perpetuate unfortunate gender stereotypes.  Girls given pink dolls and boys denied them are told that women should be caretakers and men should not.  Boys given erector sets and girls denied them are told that men should be builders and engineers and women should not.  It seems to me that even if we don’t really believe those things to be true, our society is set up in such a way that its pretty difficult to show your children otherwise.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a woman that doesn’t want to go into a STEM field, just like there isn’t anything wrong with a man who does.  But I am of the opinion that all children are essentially made of perfectly dried kindling, ready to ignite when touched by the right spark… and it’s important that we don’t deny that spark, whether it comes in the form of DNA isolated from salmon sperm or the (only slightly) less creepy Goldieblox engineering toy.

(Am I trying to say I’m like Katniss– girl on fire?  No, of course not.  (Actually, yes, definitely yes.))

Anyway, Intuit is hosting a competition called Small Business Big Game where you can vote for one of four small businesses to run a commercial during the super bowl.  Obviously, I watched all four videos (two had clever names and one had a dog in a lab coat, couldn’t resist) and they were all pretty good, but when better than to remind people that women can do it too and that girls should be encouraged than during the Superbowl?  The ultimate “man” time.  So maybe you could click to vote for Goldieblox— vote for change for your girls!  And their brothers!

Still don’t think we need a change?  My husband just sent me this from Walmart:

Girl Aisle
Sigh. (But dang, what a good husband to humor me like this!)

Yeah.  Vote for Goldieblox.  Engineers are kind of cool… and some of the best ones I know are women.  Good enough to earn free cupcakes even.  That’s really good.

Mind, Body, Prison

First order of business– THANKS a million for all of your help on deciphering the 100% illegible inscription from Adam Bucko!  I’m pretty sure it’s “may you be the change,” but “may you be in charge” could also be right… and that little word after be seems to look a little more like in than the.  So, after pondering, I’m going to read the book, see if “in charge” makes sense, and then decide if that’s it or if he was quoting Mother Teresa.  Either way– thanks so much, friends!!  You’re awesome and someone’s about to get a book!!

Anyway, on to our regularly scheduled program.  Prison time!


I read a really interesting article from CommonHealth the other day entitled “I’m Finally Thin – But Is Living In a Crazymaking Food Prison Really Worth It?” by Rachel Zimmerman.  It was a really good read and I loved her prison analogy.  Loved it!  So much so that I wanted to extend it to the other side, too.  Because it’s not just thin women that end up in that crazymaking prison… I think all women can.  And it’s not difficult to get locked up.  At least not in my experience.

So, let me tell you about life… on the inside.  (Do I sound hard?  Like prison hard?  That’s what I’m going for.)

Mind, Body, Prison.

When I’m trying to lose weight or maintain a lower-than-usual weight, those are times when I’m working toward parole and I’m so busy kissing the warden’s behind that I can’t do anything else.  My stomach growls and I spend hours in the gym, but it’s never good enough.  So much time is spent obsessing about food, and not eating it.

When I’ve gained weight and feel too fat, those are the times when I feel hopeless and certain that I’m in for life.  I’ll make a shank out of just about anything (cookies! candy! cake!) and I’m quick to use it at even the slightest provocation.  (Nom nom nom…)  Again, I’m obsessing about food, but the feelings are of finding more and then feeling guilty for consuming it.

My body is covered in prison scars and homespun tattoos– stretch marks from rapid weight gain and loss and persistent injuries as a result of over-exercise.

They say that people can become permanently institutionalized… unable to function appropriately in the real world.  And I fear that I share that fate.  I hope for rehabilitation, a chance to live happily on healthily on the outside.  But what does that take and how do I get there?

My institutionalized mind has two alternative answers for me.

The goody two-shoes hopeful parolee says that loss of a few pounds (or many…) will impress the parole board– a smaller pants size, careful control of caloric intake and demonstration that I am willing to eat nothing but leafy greens and crunchy carrots.

The prison yard gangsta says to forget about it because I’ll just end up back here anyway, searching the yard for another sugary, salty treat to turn into a weapon… and let’s get another tattoo while we’re at it.

So then what’s the real answer?  How do we reform the mind-body prison system?

I don’t know.  And at the moment, I’m the tough guy looking for a fight, about to start a dang riot.  And that’s a problem because people who just want to fight (read: eat) are rarely capable of looking for diplomatic solutions in the heat of the moment.  And, to be perfectly honest, the piece of me that hopes for an answer is really just looking for a way back in front of the parole board– in smaller pants.

I have pretty intense physiological and emotional cravings for, as the book says, Salt! Sugar! Fat!  (Really, good read, I highly recommend it.)  But I’m simultaneously dealing with a neurological and sociological obsession with thinness and unrealistic, mainstream beauty ideals.  But above all, the thing that my heart desires is comfort and to be out of prison, once and for all.

Orange really isn’t my color.  Even metaphorically.



Oh man, nerd alert.  I was re-reading this post and was concerned that I had used the word shank wrong because suddenly shiv was popping into my head instead.  So I googled it.  Don’t worry.  They’re both names for sharp, handmade prison weapons.  Whew.  I wouldn’t want to incorrectly label a handmade prison weapon.  Oh TV, thank you for giving me so much prison knowledge!

15 Things Mindy Kaling Should Probably Know About Me

Subtitle: Why We Would Probably Be Besties if We Lived Closer and/or I Were More Famous

When I read the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg I was struck repeatedly with how important the words were in a professional sense.  I had more moments than I count of YES—how does she know what’s in my head?!  And yet, I don’t think Sandberg would love me in any kind of personal way.  I’m not really her type.

But Mindy Kaling?  I am definitely her type.

As I read Mindy’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) I felt over and over again a similar YES feeling, but this time, it was about the things that I feel in my gut.   And that was cool.  (No, not the physiological things I feel in my gut.  Sicko.) 

Even though Mindy Kaling is a petite Indian woman (who considers herself “chubby”—what?!) and I am a tall, un-petite, white girl with an extraordinarily square jaw, I think we would get along incredibly well.  And here are 15 reasons why.

1.  Because I get what it’s like to be bullied.  Especially because of your weight.  And especially when you think you’re doing it right. 

Take for example the LHS Homecoming dance my freshman year.  I was dressed to the threes (in retrospect, it only felt like the nines) in a forest green, high collared, shapeless dress and I had painstakingly “straightened” my hair.  (Yeah, my hair doesn’t really do straight…)  I had been nursing a crush on a track star for quite a while and was thrilled when he asked me to dance!

Sadly, the highest highs are often followed by the lowest lows and the phone calls started coming in the next day.  Several fat jokes to mutual friends later, word reached me.  But then he apologized (by note, because notes were all the rage in the late 90s…) and somehow became the hero.  A-hole.

I could go on, but it’s all kind of the same and you get the idea.  You know who else gets the idea?  Mindy.

Mindy related similar stories in her book.  She said, “How I continually found myself in situations where I felt I had to say thank you to mean guys, I’m not sure… bullies have no code of conduct.”

Truer words have never been spoken, future friend.

But more importantly, she also said, “Being called fat is not like being called stupid or unfunny, which is the worst thing you could ever say to me.”

Do you hear that US Customs Agent in Houston?!  By failing to laugh at a single one of my jokes (e.g., “What are you bringing back with you?” “Just a little bit of sun burn!”) you did call me unfunny, and that was not cool.

2.  Because I sweat.  A lot.  So other people that sweat a lot are not gross to me—they are kindred sweat spirits.

Pretty people always terrify me.  Mostly because I’m sure they are going to hate me.  But pretty people who sweat?!  We will get along just fine.  I have bonded with plenty of girls over pit stains or comparing notes on antiperspirants.

Sweat.  The great equalizer.

I know Mindy gets this, and I know she would want to be my friend, because she said, “How can you not make a best friend out of a girl who has seen the sweat-soaked pelvis area of your gym pants, daily, and who still chooses to spend time with you?”  Right, Stephanie?!

3.  Because high school was absolutely not the highlight of my life.  And it just keeps getting better.

Throughout her book, Mindy dispenses very little advice, but she does say this: “Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete.  Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually make you look kind of pitiful.”  Word.

In high school, I was an academic nerd, a band geek, an art weirdo, and the worst girl on the team (yes, every team).  But I was all in… and that’s the important thing to remember.  (Did you catch the New Girl reference?  Kayla?)

I do allow myself one bragging point from high school, though.  I was good at dissecting things.  Jealous?

4. Because when it comes to friendship, I value quality over quantity.

And so does Mindy.

“One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.  We never needed best friend gear because I guess with real friends you don’t have to make it official.  It just is.”

Every friend I’ve ever had to try really hard for hasn’t been real.  The friends that just were… they just were.

Mindy is clearly going to be the exception.  This post is taking a considerable amount of work…

Also, Melissa and I totally just got best friend gear, so… perhaps I’m a big old hypocrite, but that’s ok.

5.  Because I can relate Harry Potter to pretty much anything.

Look at this paragraph:

“We clung to each other with blind loyalty, like Lord Voldemort and his snake Nagini.  I, of course, was Nagini. If you messed with one of us, you knew you messed with both of us, and Voldemort was going to cast a murder spell on you, or Nagini was going to chomp on your jugular.  It was such a good, dramatic time.”

Yeah, I get that relationship.  Excellent reference.

How better to make a point than with a Harry Potter reference?!  Did you read my post yesterday?  Harry Potter is where it’s at!

6.  Because I do not believe that being from the east coast legitimizes a-hole-ish-ness.

In my opinion, and please feel free to hate me for saying so, it’s true that people on the east coast are less friendly than those living elsewhere in the country.  (Granted, I’ve never been to Georgia, Alabama, or Arkansas… maybe people there are jerks?  I doubt it.  How can you be a jerk when you drink nothing but sweet tea all day?)  But how seriously obnoxious is it when people use that as an excuse for being a jerk to you?  Right, seriously obnoxious.

Mindy’s description?  “You know those people who legitimize their sarcastic, negative personalities by saying proudly they are ‘lifelong New Yorkers’?  She was one of those.”  This is my new favorite phrase.

7.  Because if I could eat anything I wanted, it would be 100% kid-friendly garbage.

I try really hard (no, really!) to eat as healthy as possible as much of the time as possible.  I enjoy eating things fresh out of the garden (and by “the garden” I mean other people’s gardens) and I like cooking from scratch.  But let’s be honest: if I could eat anything without consequence, it would be crap.  100% reeee-fiiiiined crap.  And it would be delicious.  I hate pretending all the time like, “Ewww Oreos…” and “Fruit Roll-Ups are soooo unnatural….”  Whatevs, give me a bag of Oreos and a box of Fruit Roll-Ups and I’ll have them polished off in 15 minutes.  Seriously.  Mindy agrees: “Kid-friendly food is the best, because kid-friendly simply means ‘total garbage.'”

Delicious, kid-friendly garbage.

8.  Because if I like you, I love you and I will get intimate real quick.  If you do not reciprocate, I will assume you hate me.

When I was younger, I hated it when people called me “Rach.”  Now, I love it!  LOVE IT!  But it can’t be forced, and I would never ask someone to call me that.  But when it organically makes it’s way out of a good friend’s mouth (Abby, Melissa, Ellen, Jess, I’m talking to you here!) it just feels so right!  (Was that the creepiest thing I’ve ever written?   Maybe.)

But seriously, when you’ve got that kind of natural intimacy with a friend right away, it’s going to be awesome.

I was totally comfortable asking Melissa to teach me how to cut up an avocado the first time I ever met her.

I made pancakes in Jess’s kitchen when she wasn’t even there the day after I met her.  And then emailed her to ask her about school supplies… for grad school.  (See?  NERD.)

Like me, Minday says, “I respond very well to people being overly familiar with me a little too soon.  It shows effort and kindness.  I try to do this all the time.  It makes me feel part of a big, familial, Olive Garden-y community.”

This post is overly familiar, Mindy is going to love it.  (Or get a restraining order.  Can you get one of those for the internet?  I hope not… it would be a bummer if I couldn’t follow her on Twitter anymore.)

9.  Because I’m ok with weird, non-mainstream kinds of things so long as they don’t hurt anybody.

Reiki?  Tried it.  Loved it.  Would totally do it again.

Acupuncture?  Tried it.  Hated it.  But I totally get why some people swear by it and that’s cool with me.

Mindy once worked for a tv psychic and I loved what she had to say about him: “If I had to testify under oath, I would admit, no, I don’t believe Mac Teegarden in psychic…  I am certain, though, that Mac Teegarden provided an enormous amount of comfort to people who had unexpectedly lost loved ones.  I don’t know if it was psychic, but it was cathartic, and therapeutic, and it helped people.”

An important point I feel I need to make here is this: I believe in ghosts.  100%.  And Ghost Hunters (NOT the International version– very important distinction here) is one of my favorite shows ever.

10.  Because I LOVE romantic comedies.  LOVE THEM…

Rom-com is definitely my favorite genre of movie.  Oh yes, I have taken a lot of crap for it and I spent some time being seriously ashamed (like after the night I made a big group of girls watch The Holiday and was made fun of mercilessly for it– I get it, Cameron Diaz is a terrible actress, but the Kate Winslet/Jack Black/older guy storyline just slays me and I can’t help it!).  In fact, the only thing that gets me through workouts on the elliptical (because running out of doors causes bathroom incidents, as we’ve discussed) are movies recorded off of Lifetime or the Hallmark channel.

Imagine my joy when I read this from dear Mindy: “I love romantic comedies.  I feel almost sheepish writing that, because the genre has been so degraded in the past twenty years or so that admitting you like these movies is essentially an admission of mild stupidity.  But that has not stopped me from watching them.”

Stupid or not, I love love!  And those movies make me feel happy!

11. … especially British romantic comedies…

Bridget Jones and Love Actually.  End of story.

Ok, not really end of story because Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Jane Eyre are also favorites of mine.  Granted, they are more British romances rather than romantic comedies.  But I have to believe that Mindy probably likes movie adaptations of Jane Austen too.

12. … and in British romantic comedies, Colin Firth is the best.  BEST!

Seriously, Mindy Kaling spent basically an entire paragraph on Colin Firth.  And that was when I knew knew that we would be best friends.

“All women love Colin Firth: Mr. Darcy, Mark Darcy, George VI – at this point he could play the Craigslist Killer and people would be like ‘Oh my God, the Craigslist Killer has the most boyish smile!’  I love Colin Firth in everything… But the role that makes me cry is Mark Darcy, from Bridget Jones’s Diary.”

OMG– I know!  “I like you very much.  Just as you are.”  I DIE at that line!  I just adore it so much!

But, Mindy, ponder this for a moment: the Colin Firth story line in Love Actually.  He learns Portugeuse for bonita Aurelia!  I think Jamie may just edge past Mark Darcy in terms of all time most romantic things ever.  EVER.  We should really get together to discuss.  Perhaps watch both movies back-to-back… just to be sure.

13. Because I hate “because you’re a woman questions” that wouldn’t even be questions if you were a man.

This is actually an important point that I think Sheryl Sandberg, Mindy Kaling, and I can all agree on.  We don’t ask male CEOs how they balance their home and work life, we assume that their wife is at home taking care of the kids along with whatever hired help they’ve got to work alongside them.  When a woman has a husband and hired help at home do the same thing, she is somehow neglectful and has mixed up priorities or whatever other insults get thrown around.

Similarly, Mindy laments being asked about women being funny:

Why didn’t you talk about whether women are funny or not?”  I just felt that by commenting on that in any real way, it would be tacit approval of it as a legitimate debate, which it isn’t.  It would be the same as addressing the issue of “Should dogs and cats be able to care for our children?  They’re in the house anyway.”  I try not to make it a habit to seriously discuss nonsensical hot-button issues.”

I feel like she should maybe write that in a letter to Sheryl Sandberg so that Sheryl can pull it out of her pocket and read it word-for-word the next time a reporter asks her a dumb question like that.

Women are people, too, after all.  Some people are funny, some people are not.  Some people are good at business, some people are not.  I’m pretty sure in both situations “people” can be either women or men.

14. Because I get what it’s like to be a writer, and my productive-writing-to-screwing-around ratio is very, very low.

I had never really thought about this ratio before, but Mindy describes it well:

“I’ve found my productive-writing-to-screwing-around ratio to be one to seven.  So, for every eight hours day of writing, there is only one good productive hour of work being done.”


I write all day and then come home and write some more at night.  And I’d say that my ratio is probably about that at work.  (I try!  Seriously!  But things never seem to really come together except for in brief manic spurts!)  And blogging, well, some come easy and some, like this one, take DAYS.  Seriously, it’s disturbing how much time I’ve spent on this post.  This creepy, creepy post.  And yet my rapidly rising word count down below suggests that I’ve at least made some progress.

15. Because I hate arbitrary beauty standarsd, but sometimes I adhere to them and I reserve the right to choose which ones and to ferociously defend my right not to observe others.

Once upon a time, I refused to pluck my eyebrows and I was quite vocal about it– if a guy doesn’t like me because of my eyebrows then forget him!

These days, I have literally gone out to purchase new tweezers on a week long vacation because my eyebrows just couldn’t be trusted anymore.

Mindy talks about men waxing their chests and says, “… it just shows so much icky effort to conform to some arbitrary beauty standard.  And the standard in this instance is particularly inane.”

HA!  It’s true… even about my eyebrows.  But I do it anyway.  And men continue to wax their chests anyway.  (And thank goodness they do because seriously, that made for true comedic gold in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.)

So, I guess this post is actually kind of a book review.


I didn’t actually intend to write a book review, but as I approach the end, it seems that that’s exactly what I’ve done.  Mindy Kaling is F-U-N-N-Y funny.  And interesting.  And I feel like we have kind of similar writing styles, so obviously I found that charming.  And if you’ve been reading along with me here for a while, you might just find her charming too.

There are lots of comparisons out there to Tina Fey’s book Bossypants, which is also an excellent read, but they are both autobiographical and this may come as a surprise to you, but Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling are not, in fact, the same person, so naturally, the stories they tell are 100% different and 100% excellent.  I would highly recommend them both.

AND, since your DVR has an open slot now that 30 Rock is over, you may want to consider filling it up with The Mindy Project.

So, in conclusion, I think Mindy Kaling and I could be good friends.  Fingers crossed she reads this and we can plan a romantic-comedy-watching-junk-food-eating sleepover sometime soon.  (Or that she just doesn’t file for that restraining order… I’m good either way.)


23 Things– Reworked

A friend of mine recently shared a really interesting link on Facebook.  The link leads to an article on Huffington Post entitled 23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing and as a recovering woman’s magazine addict and lover of lists, I couldn’t resist clicking.

I clicked, I read, and then I realized that even though the list is about ways to make your life better, it’s a list of NO NO NO and it’s a list geared toward woman who are, as usual, doing it all wrong.  So I reworked it in two ways:

1) This is a list based on 23 things to which you can say YES YES YES.  If you want.


2) This is a list that applies to everyone– woman, man, or somewhere in between.  Because good things are good things, no matter who or what you are.

So, shall I commence with the list?

Yes.  Yes I shall.

23 Things That Everyone Should START (or keep or try or hate me for) Doing

1)  Accept responsibility when at fault.  Accepting responsibility is the first step, IMHO, to achieving forgiveness and understanding.  When you are truly at fault, no matter how hard it is to admit it and apologize, it is totally worth the effort.  And although I know many, including the author of the original 23 things article, would disagree, I think it’s ok to say “sorry” out of sympathy too.  I hate it when someone tells me something sad/bad/unpleasant/whatever, I say sorry, and then they snap back: “what are you sorry for?!  it’s not like it’s your fault!”  Maybe not, but I can still be sorry that things are tough for you.  No harm in saying so.

2) Say “yes” when you mean it and be willing to say “no” sometimes too.  For many of us, time is the most limited and precious resource we have.  There are only so many hours in the day and only so many days in our life… so let’s say  a resounding “YES!” when something sounds good, necessary, and/or important, and a polite, “No, thank you” when it doesn’t.

3)  Take time for your own priorities and give yourself permission to act in your own best interest.  One of the things that is good, necessary, and/or important, and therefore deserves that resounding “YES!” from you is… well… you.  It’s really hard to take care of others if you’re not taking care of yourself.  And if taking care of yourself means you miss a coffee date or your lawn doesn’t get mowed, so be it.

4) Eat the food.  End of sentence.  Food serves many purposes, nutritional, of course, but in our society, food also serves important social and emotional purposes and unless your emotional needs are met by lettuce and you’re BFFs with a colony of rabbits (which I have reason to believe I may be– so many babies!), then probably you’re going to eat more than just veggies on occasion.  I’d really rather not get into a big debate about the value of any one way of eating, but I do know that everything tastes better without the side of guilt and tall glass of shame that tends to accompany so many delicious things.

5)  Acknowledge positive body attributes, internally and externally.  Perhaps you’re not in love with your body, but you have to admit: it got you out of bed this morning, didn’t it?  (Dang it– are you reading this in bed?!  Well then, be grateful for your eyeballs, wise guy.) It’s capable of hugging (I said capable! that doesn’t mean it has to regularly hug), smiling, laughing, thinking, being, and those are all things worthy of acknowledgement, regardless of how you look, or in many cases, think you look.  So: shout out to you, thighs!  Way to walk me into work this morning!

6)  Recognize and celebrate personal and professional accomplishments.  You know that thing you did?  That was cool.  Way to go.  Now repeat that to yourself, it’s ok.

7) Accept a tagged photo, even an “unflattering” one, as a compliment.  So, you did something with someone, they took a picture of you doing it, and now they’ve put it online and tagged you… Dang!  You must be someone pretty cool and pretty loved because someone cared enough to do something with you, take the photo, upload the photo, and tag you in it!  That’s a lot of steps.  I call that a compliment to you!

8) Recognize that someone’s virtual story is not their whole story.  Most people don’t share everything online (clearly, I am not most people) and it’s totally reasonable that our natural tendency would be to put our best face forward.  Most people don’t feel the need to tell the world that they crapped their pants.  I get that.  But remember, just because someone didn’t post on Facebook that they crapped there pants, they may have actually crapped their pants.  You can’t possibly know.  So remember that the next time you are jealous of someone’s online presence– they may have crapped their pants.

9) Let go of regrets and guilt.  I talked about my friend Nate recently and he lived his life by this motto, for sure.  He got a tattoo when he turned 18 that said “No Regrets” and figured that even if he messed something up, he’d just do it better the next time.  Simple, right?  Obviously not.  But perhaps you can try when reflecting on “mistakes” to put on your Emily-colored glasses and be a little kinder to yourself.

10) Wear whatever shoes you feel like wearing.  Heels will kill you!  Fit flops will tone your rear end!  You can’t be a real doctor without Danskos!  What.  Evs.  Just wear the shoes you want to wear, for whatever reason you want to wear them (comfort, color, cuteness…), and get on with your life.  They’re just shoes.

11)  Live and 12) let live– sexually.  Sex… is… private.  That is all.  You sex-life is none of my business and mine is none of yours.  I like 50 Shades of Gray (slut!) and I like Beverly Lewis books (prude!), neither of those things tell you a dang thing about me, except that I like to read fiction.  A lot.  So that’s it, just live and let live, and don’t worry so much about other people– what they do or what they think about you.

13) Be genuine.  It’s ok to be mellow about something when you’re “supposed” to be upset.  It’s also ok to be upset.  But failure to be genuine about your feelings is dishonest to yourself and to others.

14) Embrace the label “crazy.”  The most out-there, paradigm-shifting ideas are the ones that tend to change the world.  People will always try to undermine or dismiss you, but if you are passionate about an idea, keep putting it out there, and be crazy if crazy is what it takes.  Maybe even blog about crapping your pants.  Crazy can be cool.  (Crapping your pants cannot.  I’m sorry.)

15) Use WebMD as a starting point.  The internet is FULL of medical information, some good, some bad, some in between.  It’s certainly not a bad place to start if you’ve got some mysterious symptoms or ongoing ailment.  Of course, it’s generally a good idea to call a medical professional if you think you might have a serious problem, but sometimes the internet can be a great place to start when you want to generate questions for your provider.  And a good provider will take the time to answer your questions and to make sure you are fully informed.

16) Be inspired by Pinterest… if you feel like it.  I love Pinterest!  Sometimes my attempts to recreate what I find turn into absolute Pinstrosities, but sometimes my Pinspiration bears fruit and I end up with something awesome.  Sometimes I just like looking at the pictures.  Regardless of the source, Pinterest or otherwise, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out inspiration… I’m not really sure why people get so angry about it.  I don’t think the point of the site is to tell you that you should be able to recreate these things.  No one used to get mad at me for my binders full of recipes and pages torn from magazines.  Same thing, right?

17)  Relish alone time as a chance to “Treat Yo’ Self!”  I’m an introvert (I think, but it’s been a while since I’ve done the Myers-Briggs), so I recognize that this one is a little easier for me than it is for other people, but alone time can be really, really nice.  (Just ask a mom, right?  (No, I am not a mom.))  Being alone is the perfect time to, as the folks on Parks and Rec say, treat yo’ self!  Perhaps you want to dress up as batman, paint your toe nails with pretty designs, sit and stare at a wall for half an hour, read a good book, try something you saw on Pinterest… whatever, now’s your chance!  Treat yo’ self!

18) Engage in and maintain meaningful and positive romantic relationships.  In the original article, the author talks about not jumping into a relationship just because you are scared of being alone.  Ok, maybe.  But I don’t think most of us are aware enough at the beginning of a relationship to realize that that’s why we’re doing it.  (You can trust me on this, I last started a relationship when I was 18… 11 years ago, so clearly, I’m an expert on dating.  That’s sarcasm.)  But when you are in a relationship, maintaining something meaningful and positive is totally worth your while.  (That, I can actually attest to!)

19)  Take advantage of vacation days.  You are given PTO for a reason.  Use it.  Even if you need to use it just to go get a mammogram and a colonoscopy– use it!  (And get your mammogram if you’re over 40, colonscopy if you’re over 50.)  Time away from the office, whether it’s a full on vacation or just a little stay-cation, can feel really, really good.  (Yes, coming back can feel pretty crappy, but it was going to feel like that anyway.)

20)  Engage and maintain meaningful and positive friendships.  In the same church service where I heard the idea of the tapestry, the priest also said that true friends aren’t made, they’re discovered.  And I couldn’t agree more.  It’s true, you can try to cut people out of your life if they are “toxic,” but that seems to naturally happen when you work on cultivating and maintaining positive friendships.  (If it doesn’t work, then what you have is probably not a friend, but a stalker.  Seek help.)  (Also, I know “frenemies” are a bad thing, but they make for a darn good movie– love Mean Girls!!)

21)  Spend intentional, rather than obligatory, time with people.  You will enjoy it more and so will the people you are spending time with.  If they are just an obligation, they will probably know, and that’s not very nice.

22)  Be proud of the things that make you you I am not embarrassed that I really like dinosaurs and get passionate about women’s health.  Those things are not necessarily “cool” (as in: they are not cool), but they are my genuine interests and I just don’t see the point in cultivating something as an interest just because it’s cool, nor being embarrassed about the things that actually do interest me.

23) Let life happen on its own timeline.  Life is messy and it is long.  We are where we are when we are and there’s not a lot you can do about that.  I’ve seen people try to force it (myself included) and it really doesn’t work out as well that way.


So there you have it.  It’s essentially the same list, it just bothers me to be told NO.  It bothers me to be told I’m doing it wrong.  It bothers me that someone makes a list to tell me all the different ways I’m doing it wrong.  Especially 23 times in a row.  

And perhaps, ultimately, all 23 of these big, fat, yeses (is that seriously a word?  no red squiggly underline… must be!) boil down to the very thing I said yesterday:

If you see something nice, say something nice.  And do something nice.  (I didn’t say that part yesterday.)  To yourself, to others.  Kindness as the human condition.  I like that.

A Slice of Humble Pie

Pie is deeeeelicious.  And under normal circumstances, I would certainly encourage seconds… seconds with whip cream.  (And that’s wHip cream– emphasis on the H.)  Especially if that pie is pumpkin.

Yes, I made this.
Yes, I made this.

Humble pie, while metaphorically pie, is a different beast.  And it is the one pie situation in which seconds are most certainly not encouraged.  Just a sliver will do.

According to the Wikipedia page, humility is generally considered a virtue and I can see why.  To be humble is to recognize that you’re not perfect, and that’s an important thing to recognize.  (Unless you are perfect, but then we ought to talk about your God-complex.)

What concerns me about humility is that, at least among many of the women I know, humility has been taken to the extreme at the expense of confidence.  And that makes me sad because I know some amazing women who really can’t seem to give themselves the credit they deserve.

The indispensable editor  and all-around do-gooder concerned about not having “the” degree… the incredibly talented writer and animal expert who doesn’t think her experience counts for a dang thing… the mother, activist, and author who thinks no one cares about the children’s book she wrote… the nurse with over 30 peer-reviewed publications, a doctorate, and good ideas coming out of her ears who thinks she may not be qualified to lead her own research program……………..

Need I go on?  Because I could.  Easily.

I want so badly for these women to see themselves through my eyes.  To get even a brief glimpse of how amazing they are.  And not just because of the external accomplishments described above.  But also because of the beautiful people they are, inside and out.

So maybe, just maybe, we could cut ourselves a smaller piece of that humble pie next time.  Try to be ok with who we are, what we’ve done, and the good we add to the world.  Because I can tell you, without a doubt, that you add good to my world and I am so grateful for that.

Living life by the golden rule is important– treat others how you would want to be treated.  But for so many of us, I think we forget to treat ourselves with that same kindness.  Perhaps you could start today.  And let me know if you need some help.  I can tell you why you’re awesome– easy as pie!!