Lessons Learned from Leading Ladies
Everyday I have to pass by a bookshelf in order to leave my room.
Day after day, this spontaneous IKEA purchase continues to get cluttered with letters, paid off bill notices, and thank you cards I don’t know what to do with. Regardless of how unorganized these shelves may get, you will find four books standing alone on the highest shelf.
These perfectly stacked treasures have made me laugh, made me cry, and given me the daily inspiration needed to help my daily attempt of being a bad ass bitch.
Dealing with relationships, friendships, and working the daily 9 to 5 can bring us equal amounts of joy and agony. For a young lass like myself, there is something rejuvenating about reading tails told by grade-A queens who were just as unsure and experimental as me during their pre-heyday. Each of these memoirs contain a plethora of life experiences and advice that readers can look to depending on their current life predicaments.
At this day and age, being a woman around these parts can lead to moments that turn into endless nights filled with doubt and uncertainty of what’s to come. During these times, I look toward my bookshelf for guidance and peace of mind.
Here are the quotes that have helped me find my inner lady power strength helping me to continue kicking ass with a smile on my face and not a doubt in my mind.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
“Make statements also applies to us women: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, “I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?” Make statements, with your actions and voice.”
If I had a copy of my daily dialogue, I imagine being disgusted with how many questions marks could be found where periods should instead be displayed. I’m almost positive Tina Fey did not get where she is today by using apologetic language when addressing her ideas and professional desires to her bosses. We should be firm and assertive about topics we’re passionate about. We should speak in a tone of voice that shows we have knowledge over the topic and can clearly explain ourselves.
Fey says it best in this quote by letting her readers know how important it is for us ladies to speak up using statements instead of passive language. No one will take what you have to say seriously if you don’t prove it’s importance, which can not be done by using apologetic questions.
But only if that is like…something you’re okay with doing? (See? Terrible.)
If You Have To Cry Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone
“My mistakes have been some of the best teachers of my life.”
This queen is insanely under-rated in my book. Maybe she isn’t underrated and I’m just missing out on the conversations surrounding her. Maybe we all secretly love her and have her books proper up on our bookshelves as a guidebook for being a bad ass. If this is all factual and I am just oblivious to the love she is getting, I’m ready to talk about her publicly so let’s begin now.
This woman has seen it all, done it all, and continues to just murder the game in NYC. You may remember Kelly Cutrone from her days on The Hills where she was Whitney and Lauren’s boss at People’s Revolution. For a woman who came off as having a “one strike, you’re out” policy on television, her memoir reflects the countless times she made mistake after mistake until getting her ducks in a row.
Personally, I am the queen of mistakes. If you knew how much time I spend checking for mistakes in my writing for something as simple as a tweet — you’d think I was in need of a psych ward visit. Some of my mistakes have been poor judgement calls and others were just the way the stars aligned that day. Regardless of the reason, the important thing to remember is that sometimes mistakes just (sorry Grandma) fucking happen. Kelly Cutrone reminds her readers that the importance of making a mistake is what you can learn from them.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
“If someone called me chubby, it would no longer be something that kept me up late at night. Being called fat is not like being called stupid or unfunny, which is the worst thing you could ever say to me.”
As we all are well aware of at this point, society has forever put insane pressure on women (and men as well) to look, dress, and be a certain way to appear sexy. Not only are these stigmas extremely unreasonable, but they are typically unobtainable for most people to accomplish. Even though we may understand that these standards are traps, we, unfortunately, can fall victim to them from time to time. Though, I have noticed that the older I get, the less I care about my looks or body type. Maybe that’s because I’ve realized after living with this body for the past twenty-five years — it’s not all bad, it’s just the way I was made. What I do find myself caring about the most is the work I am doing and making sure my goals are being met. Maybe that’s because I have a serious addiction to Americanos with a shot of vanilla and skim milk that makes me a rambunctious workaholic with a love for to-do lists. Regardless, it’s important to focus on the parts of you that matter the most. No, not your thigh gap or six pack abs, but instead your brain and personality.
Whenever I find myself falling into a self conscious mind trap (I am human after all), I remember this quote. It helps me realize how little my looks have made an impact on the more memorable parts of my life. I don’t remember the mornings I spent getting cat-called at by the bus stop. I don’t remember the men who offered to get me a free drink from the bar. I do remember the morning I graduated college, the first person to call me a writer and a producer, and any day I was able to make someone I care about laugh.
Those are the things that truly matter.
And Mindy Kaling — Mindy Kaling always matters.
Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that- that’s what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself.”
It took a long time for me to realize that just because I was scared of doing something didn’t mean it was a bad thing. It simply meant that it is something new — a new adventure, a new experience, a new moment — and new can be really scary. New can also be really fucking rewarding. Being able to courageously leave your comfort zone is a challenge within itself. Comfort zones are, well, comfy. They are safe and familiar making anything outside of it seem impossible to achieve. Leaving that warm, fluffy, happy place behind to take a risk at an opportunity you could possibly fail at can be disheartening if you look at it that way.
Leaving that warm, fluffy, happy place behind to take a risk at an opportunity where you can learn even more about yourself with the chance of creating something great is worthwhile. Jumping into something you’re interested in pursuing can go either way — it can pay off and take you somewhere even better or it can simply lead you back to where you started. Ms. Poehler has never steered me wrong and continues to deliver with this quote reminding me whether I’m ready or not — to go after whatever makes feel you happiest. After all, that’s what life is all about. We have to just do what makes us happy.
I would have never forgiven myself if I didn’t put the great Roxane Gay on this list. The only reason I don’t have the honor of looking at her book every morning along with the others is because it’s in e-book form, which I typially avoid, but sometimes technology just wins.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
“You think you are alone until you find books about girls like you. Salvation is certainly among the reasons I read. Reading and writing have always pulled me out of the darkest experiences in my life. Stories have given me a place in which to lose myself. They have allowed me to remember. They have allowed me to forget. They have allowed me to imagine different endings and better possible worlds.”
This. This is gold. Reading and writing is one of those outlets that bring certain people clarity in a chaotic world. Realizing that you are not alone. You are not the only one going through the situations you face day in and day out. Having honest and talented writers like Roxane Gay, lady Fey, Ms. Cutrone, Poehler, and Mindy gives readers that salvation.