I have just started listening to the RISE Podcast hosted by the inimitable Rachel Hollis. On one of the episodes, Rachel was interviewing the creator and co-CEO of Noonday, Jessica Honneger, and something she said really resonated with me (the episode aired a few years ago so you may have to search for it if you can’t find it).
Jessica said that she really had to embrace the tension of the “and” in life. While she struggled to find funding for her international adoption, she created a company, making her a founder AND mother. She had to struggle through the hardships that entailed but also faced the judgement of others who said things like “you have to choose which one you want to be,” a sentiment I hear often, and mostly about women as it comes to their family and professional pursuits (no matter how far we’ve come we still never hear men asked how they’re going to choose between work and their family…).
As women, we are barraged with images and unsolicited advice that tells us how we should look, be, feel, act….etc. But it’s very binary. We are taught that success is necessary after sacrifice, that we can’t have it all (I’m not sure if this is true…you just have to pick the bits you want most), or that we can’t be more than one thing at a time.
And really, that’s why I started this blog, and that’s the whole premise behind the admittedly awkward title. A doyenne is defined as a woman who is the most respected or prominent person in a particular field. But I would argue that as women, we are forced to step up and become immediate experts in a number of subjects and skills. Life does not often allow us to find the best positioned expert to tell us what to do. We must figure it out and learn and teach–all at the same time.
In short, we become impromptu doyennes.
My bio intimates at a few of my “ands,” but I thought I’d take the time to write them out here, also. They don’t always contradict, but they do overlap and sometimes, I need to prioritize some over others.
- a woman and a feminist
- a wife and a stepmother
- fiercely independent and needing of intimacy
- a fighter and a lover, with equal passion
- an introvert and someone who can talk to anyone, for hours, about ideas
- a book lover and an outdoor fanatic
- a driven career-person and resistant to fixed schedules
- achievement-oriented and goal-driven
- a voracious learner and voracious eater. Also in equal measure
- a lover of wine and committed to my health
- a second-wife and wannabe mother
- going through IVF and trying to grow in my career
- learning everyday how much I can do and how much I need to celebrate
- a lover of small things and big gestures
- determined and self-conscious
- perfectionistic and self-critical
- enthusiastic and exhausted
That’s a few to start with.