Sep 19 When the Ladies Show Up…
I stood in my kitchen plating up the Mexican food I had cobbled together and listened to the sounds of seven women laughing hysterically in my sunroom. I smiled.
It was exactly the soundtrack I’d imagined a month earlier when I sent the invitation out to each of them. They didn’t all know each other. Would they think I’d lost my sappy sabbatical mind inviting them to some random Supper Club, with random women, on a random Wednesday night? Would anyone come?
They showed up. All of them. And we drank sangria and mocktails and ate my mediocre tacos and laughed until 11pm on a school night (I had told my husband it would probably go until nine-ish – whoops).
Showing up matters. When women show up for each other with friendship and genuine interest in the story of the other person’s life, it matters. It matters in good times and it always matters in seasons of transition.
I am overwhelmed by how many women are showing up for me.
Women walking with me on the weekends and listening to my weekly sabbatical reflections. Women reading these collections of my thoughts when they are in draft mode to serve as the ‘you may sound crazy’ police before I hit ‘post’. Women sending me text messages after they have read something I’ve shared asking to go to lunch to discuss their perspective. Women in my neighborhood who normally only have time for a quick wave as we pass on the road who now loudly cheer for me with the kindest words of encouragement.
‘Show-Up Ladies’ who love me enough to poke a bit of fun at me…
SUL: “Remind me why you’re making paper swans?”
Me: “Um, they are CRANES and I’m trying to meditate AND be more creative so it is actually mastermind multi-tasking if you ask me.”
Me: “I’m thinking about completing a pilgrimage across Spain while I’m on sabbatical…”
SUL: “You are getting a bit too ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ for me, knock it off.”
Me: “Lunch sounds great! I’ll meet you right after class…”
SUL: “Um, you know yoga pants are not proper restaurant attire, right?”
Mindfully cultivating friendships with these women that show up matters.
And when we get to show up for them, it matters too.
A friend recently needed an emergency dental procedure and her husband and parents happened to be out of town – great timing Tooth Fairy. When I offered help, she said another one of our ‘Show-Up Ladies’ had already come through. Silly, but I felt disappointed. I really wanted to show up for her and when she texted me a few hours later saying that actually she would love something mushy, bland, and devoid of all flavor to go with her pain pills, I was elated.
The act of showing up for the ones who show up for us matters tremendously. But we also have to watch out for the ones who take more than they ever give – the ones who would rather be on the demolition crew than the architecture committee. We have to give ourselves permission to not show-up for these people. We have to be mindful and stick to the ‘Show-up Ladies’ not the ‘Suck-you-down-and-then-step-on-you Ladies’.
Because we all know that woman who would eat her own.
I bet you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a story of how one woman turned on another with a crazy vengeance. These women are dangerous and we all have permission to NOT show up for them.
Having many meals at corporate America’s table, it never ceases to amaze me how some women will devour another. People keep asking, ‘Where are all the women in the leadership?’ Maybe they were eaten by one of the ones at the top…
With the scarcity of roles for females, some women think they have to protect the potential turf and instead of empowering other women, they become saboteurs. Let’s celebrate the women at the top who can bring other women with them. Let’s promote the women that embrace other women. The mentors, the good examples, and the honest ones that will tell you that sometimes they are out of balance and that leadership can be demanding but here are the ways you can make it work for you and what your perspective will offer.
“Tina helped me get on Saturday Night Live and asked me to join her on ‘Update’ as one of the first two women co-anchors. It was as fun as it looked. We have performed in front of our parents and the whole world, and each time we’ve looked at each other and laughed at what we get to do. Tina reminds me of how far I have come. She knew me when. When we are together I feel strong and powerful. Maybe too powerful. (I tend to show off and run my mouth a little bit.)
We don’t compete against each other, we compete against ourselves.” – Amy Poehler from Yes Please (p. 229)
Women should share their power. We should always remember the collective is stronger than the individual. I believe ladies who show up for each other will be the answer to the gender equalities. We own this one, ladies.
And don’t forget to show up for one more lady…
Me – for myself. You – for yourself. We have to show up for our lives, our rights, our happiness and our fair share. When we show up for ourselves, we attract the other SULs… we build a massive Supper Club.
While I’m intentionally not thinking about what I am going to do at the end of this sabbatical, I am thinking about what I want for my life – how I want to feel. The rhythms I want to hear, the words and adventures I want to add to my journal, the assorted flavors of my life (hint: it’s not vanilla). I am thinking about how I can teach my daughters to show up for their own lives and their generation of future female leaders…
And I hope they always see me showing up for the Ladies.