I am engaged in a combination of blog drama, mona lisa’s smile, and sex and the city. I didn’t realize that people actually read my blog or kept up with it. I didn’t realize that I have unfairly and informally imposed my own so-called (I say so-called because to claim that I have a feminist politic is rather arrogant) feminist standards on a friend and her partner. I do realize that I am not a perfect woman, and no one else is either. The very situations that we fear for our friends are because we are afraid that social expectations will prevail. In our own ways, we, women try to re-create those expectations so that they meet our own needs.

I have spent the last few weeks thinking about feminist theories of the 1970s, re-emerging new womanist theories of 2005, and how those theories apply to myself and the women in my life. It’s not an easy task given social/parents’/ friends’/family pressures. I have read articles on definitions of success and how those definitions are changing for all women. As I continue to define success for myself, I have committed a grave error. In sharing my personal aha! moment, I insensitively shared others’ personal lives and in turn, dishonored a friendship.

Every Woman walks on a path of self-discovery whether it’s through particular relationships (partner, other women, children, parents, siblings), her own space, her career, her education, her art or the hardest work of all, the work She does within Herself. Just because I am a woman, I have no right to dictate a particular path. I never thought I had such a right. I have no right to define Her success just as I dislike it when others try to define my success. Her success, Her happiness, is Her own, and no one else’s, especially not mine. In re-defining my own success, I have learned a hard lesson in re-defining friendship.

In friendships with other women, we are sometimes asked not to share particular thoughts, to keep conversations private. Without asking, we might even expect that those intimate chats are kept private. The reality is the act of sharing somehow validates our own anxieties. Yet the caveat -- we should not be talking about other people because it’s not right. We pray to our higher selves that we might stop sharing our fears as they tinker with our psyches in our own lives, in our friends’ lives because sharing such fears only breeds negative energy.

The real success is transforming that negative energy into an act of celebrating Women for Who they are, Who they BE, not for the situations we fear might cause ourselves disappointment.


Re-defining success

It used to be about having it all -- a career and a family. It's 2005, and we, women, are empowering ourselves to re-define success. It doesn't have to be about creating a perfect balance between a career and a family and doing it all. Faced with the difficult of having to make a choice, we have had to choose either a career OR a family. But it's not even about that anymore. It's about being happy, being content, being spiritually okay with who we are. And by okay, I mean that we don't have to put up a front that everything's fine. We have a job, we have a nice apartment, we eat out every so often. What could be wrong?

But all feels awful when I'm not happy at my job and not doing what I really want to be doing. That's when I need to check myself and re-define, re-claim my success. I am a very self-aware woman who appreciates her alone-time, her time with her friends, and her time with her husband. I enjoy writing and know that I need to devote more time to it. I also enjoy working with youth and buildling communities with them. That in itself is my success. I don't need a lofty title or a huge salary. I know that I make a pretty tasty salad, & I know that I watch out for my loved ones. That is success. I have worked hard to work through my issues around my family and my brother's autism, and that's why I can be happy with my new marriage right now. That is success. I know that I take the time to listen and be with my friends, to support them in honest, strong, and bold ways. That is success. I know that I'm working to make a career transition and focus solely on empowering girls and women. This is my success . . . right now.

Can it be all that? Because I am all that.