I ran into a girlhood friend, Carol.
We had not seen one another in more than 40 years.
She has a quiet life in the country, married to her childhood sweetheart, and working as a high school guidance counsellor, in Vermont.
In the last year, she and her husband separated, she battled diabetes, lost a job she deeply loved, and then, quit a job she did not like.
This is a time of great transition in her life.
Now, she wants to start her own counseling practice, and learn how to market herself. She wants to meet more people of like minds, hearts and souls. She wants to connect more deeply to the purpose of her life. She wants to be truly and deeply happy again.
She and I shared a childhood.
I know her longings.
I know her girlhood heart, filled with dreams.
So, of course, I invited her to our event February 1 and 2.
One weekend with me, and a woman’s world blows open.
She checked out my website.
And she declined.
Turned me flat down.
“I am not that kind of woman, Regena. I am not like you. I don’t wear high heels. I don’t even own high heels. I hate pink. I am not flirty or saucy or outrageous or loud. I am serious. Deeply committed to my own growth and the growth of others.
I am not frivolous in any way, shape or form. I know I would feel like a fish out of water at something like this. And I already feel that way, in my life. It would just depress me more.”
Oh, my. Oh, my.
I was so sad to hear this.
The very woman who could most benefit from the School of Womanly Arts, is the last person who wants to attend.
I know what went on in her head, when she looked at the website, and read all the testimonials. She was thinking, “Whoa. Look what Regena has done. Look what all those women, on her website, giving testimonials, have done. I am not that woman. I could not stand up like that. I could not achieve like that. I could not make that kind of impact in the world.”
It is not just Carol that feels that way. My friend Lucy has been a filmmaker for years, pouring her talents into other people’s projects, never getting screen credit or appropriate financial rewards for her own brilliant work.
I know you know women who can’t stop getting degrees, because they never quite feel worthy, or women who put in too much time at the office without getting compensation or recognition, or women who have been sitting on a book they can’t quite write, or a brilliant idea for a business they are too afraid to start.
The greatest threat to a woman’s happiness and success is her own negative judgment of herself, and other women. (Click to tweet)
The way we feel about ourselves is the way we feel about the women in the world around us.
And why wouldn’t we? We have been taught to take care of others, to support the ideology of others, to take care of those that we work for, and work with. We have been taught to dumb down, to hold back our opinions, to defer, defer, defer.
To not help ourselves to a big fat serving of life.
As if a big fat serving of life was greedy or vulgar- or meant for someone else.
As a consequence, women continually and perpetually disappoint themselves. We look for what is wrong and what is missing in ourselves, and each other.
The consequence of that?
We keep ourselves small. Tightly wound. Never blooming.
As if blooming was painful. And wrong.
And when we see blooming- in another woman- we might think ‘How garish! How outrageous! Can’t you tone it down, over there?’
It is not easy to witness a woman who has refused to be limited by our culture’s limitations.
So many women, when they see the pink boas and the high heels, and hear the outrageous stories of risk and daring, they think, “Not only am I not that woman, but, I find her offensive.”
But, Carol. Lucy. All those friends of your friends.
I have news for you.
You are that woman.
You are your own beautiful amazing irreplaceable version of that woman.
Your style of blooming may not include high heels and a pink boa. Who knows? It may be orthopedic shoes and a fedora. Or Chanel pumps and a Birkin bag. Uggs and a Subaru.
Every flower has her very own unique way of blooming.
I have mine.
You have yours.
She has hers.
The point is to damn the torpedoes and bloom.
Full speed ahead, and bloom.
Bloom in this lifetime.
Really. Right now.
Don’t let the cultural prejudices against blooming, stop you from stepping up to your own plate.
Don’t wait, just in case we don’t get another round.
Bloom even if the sun generated from another woman’s light, hurts your eyes.
The way you feel about pink and high heels is no reason not to risk the bloom.
No one teaches a woman to stand for our own dreams and desires, despite her own resistances and her own prejudices. No one encourages a woman to risk living her own destiny.
Except here, at The School of Womanly Arts Mastery Program.
If you come, please bring Carol. And Lucy. It would mean the world to me.
In so much love and pleasure,