The neo-Nazis are marching across our cities, the country is run by an under-qualified liar, and we’re polluting our natural resources with all sorts of poisons (and that’s not to mention threats of nuclear war). […]
by Katina Hubbard
In a Venice, CA juice bar, a girl peeked over the counter to ask me a question:
“Wha sh ss gwen-ed?”
To which I replied, “Excuse me?”
“What’s your name, Nosshneis?”
Confused and frustrated by the whizzing blenders, I looked at her carefully for a moment. Did I know her from somewhere? After a pause I realized I’d never before seen her lovely face, and asked again, “What?”
To which she replied, clearly and loudly, “What’s your name, Goddess?”
Shocked by what she’d said and how rudely I’d ruined her delivery I said simply, “uh, Katina, what’s yours?” She told me and made another smoothie. I didn’t amend our awkward interaction, but what she said stuck with me for days.
We’re all trying to be better people. For me, specifically, a better woman, and a better Katina. There’s our little goals to be more healthy, get a better job, have a healthier relationship, but what if there’s a current running through all of us, that can make us become the better selves we want to be? What if there’s a secret?
Depending on the situation, a woman can become either a “goddess,” or a “bitch,” says Naomi Wolf in her latest novel, Vagina: A New Biography. Though there have been mixed reviews of this book, I find this tidbit anecdotally and personally kind-of-true.
If I’m happy, confident, well nourished, and un-stressed, I act loving, kind, generous, and healing to those I’m around me.
But if I’m tired, stressed, disrespected, insecure, resentful, or overwhelmed, I can become snappy, judgmental, pushy, impatient, and borderline rude. Dare I say it, bitchy.
We’re all dynamic, unique souls, and I don’t mean to generalize. But what I do want for myself and for all the women in my life, is to be more of a “Goddess,” more of the time.
There have been many articles over the years and of late dealing with the issue of women wanting to “have it all” – a career and a family life. So I was extremely excited to find Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook’s commencement speech to Barnard College graduates on May 8, 2011, which shed incredible new light on the issue.
Sheryl is 42 years-young and happily married with two kids. In the meantime she’s been Chief of Staff of the U.S. Treasury, Vice President at Google, and now COO at Facebook, where she’s credited with turning the social network from “just another MySpace” into a $104 billion dollar company. (Regardless of your feelings about Facebook,) Sheryl has some extraordinarily insightful things to say to women about sticking with their careers and “having it all.”
Many of us would be happy raising five wonderful kids and spending a lifetime devoted to home, family, and friends. But almost every person I know has a yearning not only to have a family but to give their unique gift, whatever that is, to the world. We’re not all meant to be the CEO of a multinational company, but Sheryl points out that many women, myself included, sabotage their own careers, knowingly, and unknowingly, giving into the outdated idea that men are meant to have careers, and women aren’t. Check out her amazing speech, challenging us all to value and feed our inner voice that says “I’m special, I have something to give to the world, and I must give it.”
Commencement Speech to Barnard College Graduates*
by Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook
…Pulitzer Prize winners Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof visited this campus last year and they spoke about their critically important book, Half the Sky. In that book, they assert that the fundamental moral challenge of the 19th century was slavery; of the 20th century, it was totalitarianism; and for our century, it is oppression of girls and women around the world. Their book is a call to arms, to give women all over the world, women who are exactly like us except for the circumstances into which they were born, basic human rights.
Compared to these women, we are lucky. In America, as in the entire developed world, we are equals under the law. But the promise of equality is not equality. As we sit here looking at this magnificent blue-robed class, we have to admit something that’s sad but true: men run the world. Of 190 heads of 2 state, nine are women. Of all the parliaments around the world, 13% of those seats are held by women. Corporate America top jobs, 15% are women; numbers which have not moved at all in the past nine years. Nine years. Of full professors around the United States, only 24% are women.
I recognize that this is a vast improvement from generations in the past.
By Katina Hubbard
It’s true: I judge people’s shoes. Fortunately I don’t do it to place them in a master shoe hierarchy or a dichotomy of good and bad shoes, oh no, I am not capable of this sort of cranial computation.
Instead, I learned to look at people’s shoes due to an extreme hippy upbringing that fostered all sorts of open-minded, non-judgmental behavior in me such as taking a bus into the Congo when I was 19 and having “heart-to-hearts” with strangers on New York City subways. Somewhere along the line I started using shoes as an indicator of where people are going and who they might be.
And now I notice shoes in a borderline idiot savant sort of way. I actually remember people by their shoes and will regularly describe strangers as “the one wearing the tan loafers with dark laces” which has proved particularly unhelpful to some of my dearest male colleagues and counterparts.
But I love shoes for the stories they hint at, how specific to space and time they are, and for their subtle indications of who their wearer might be.