Give Women Some Room to Breathe

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US Open, Serena Williams, everyone is talking.  I didn’t watch the game so I had to research it and see it from a different angle to see if things add up.  Surely, she is being seen by many now as an entitled brat.  In her mind however, she is a victim of sexism and unfair ruling.  Where do you stand?

I will say right away that I don’t care to be right.  I will share my view so that it’s there and so that it can validate all the women out there that may feel the same. Here is the thing:  Serena broke rules.  She said she didn’t cheat though her coach admits to giving her coaching during the game, but she did slam the racket (which is a violation to the integrity and professionalism of the game) and then insulted the umpire by calling him a thief.  The first time I watched it, I cringed, thinking: Oh my goodness she is losing it and it doesn’t look pretty.  But then I watched it again, and again, the longer version, the in betweens and here is what happened:  my stomach started to hurt, I began to curl up and cry feeling anger and defeat.

My point is not that she is right, but my point is that it’s hard for a woman to be a woman in the world we live in.  Yes, there are rules and we must follow them but here is the deal: these rules are not made with us in mind.  Serena is 37, she had a baby a year ago and she is probably completely hormonal.  She must be dealing with what it takes to bring up a child in this world, what it is to be black, what it is to be a champion and how to do the rest of her career given all the difficulty that we experience after birth (and from following her IG story, I know she almost died).

Why is it that “emotions” run so much in our lives and yet we have to “keep them in check.” I know some men can read this and say, “well, we do, because that is what being an adult is like,” but I beg to differ.  It is not easy to keep your emotions in when your hormones are running the show and when the world you live in, fundamentally, doesn’t give you space to express what you feel.  I have experienced this time and time again and unfortunately, more from other women than from men.  Somehow, when we “lose it” we seem like we are not in control and that is bad…and yet, the whole world wants us to be vulnerable, to give up control, to be flexible, to be good moms, to be good at what we do etc.  I get it, Serena broke the rule, but in my world, she broke the silence of those of us who suck it up and try so hard to live in the world where being who we are is not accepted.  And I admit, when a woman has charge on something, she does seem crazy and disconnected from herself but I also know that the only way out is not trying to tame her crazy but validating how she is.  Those that are smart enough to honor the space we are in will help us see more clearly and we will calm down.

Here is one way to see it:

“The feminine’s moods and opinions are like weather patterns. They are constantly changing, severe and gentle, and they have no single source. No analysis will work. There is no linear chain of cause and effect that can lead to the kernel of the “problem.” There is no problem, only a storm, a breeze, a sudden change in weather. And the bases of these storms are the high and low pressure systems of love. When a woman feels love flowing deeply, her mood can instantly evaporate into joy, regardless of the supposed reason for the mood.” ~ David Deida

 

Again, I am not going for the right and wrong, I am just simply sharing as another woman who can see Serena’s storm just as a storm.  It is sad that people comment that she lost her grace.  This is a woman that won in Australia while already pregnant and wants to continue to create legacy.  It is unfair to blame her that she overshadowed another woman’s win.  She didn’t do that, we did that by looking at what she did with judgement and not empathy.

Her coach is right when he said in an interview: why is it a big deal that people show emotion on the court when that emotion is real.  Emotion is energy in motion, if we let it be, it will pass, but when we judge it, punish people for it, then we add mass to it and then that energy doesn’t flow freely, it gets stuck.  That is what happened in the game.  Serena was accused for cheating and she wanted to set the record straight.  Finding the wall instead of attentive listening, her emotions escalated (this can happen to anyone, let alone a woman who just became a mom), and after that we knew this wouldn’t end well.

Part of me wishes she could “collect” herself, but a big part of me is grateful for the dialogue that will follow as the judgements resurface for us to clear so we can begin to honor people for who they are, giving them space to have an emotional response especially when they were done wrong.

Serena, and all the women out there that struggle to keep it together, I feel you ❤

 

10 Reasons to Pay Your Own Bill when Dating

Where I come from, men pick up the tab.  They get “seemingly” offended if you even try to get the bill yourself.  Offering to split it is out of question as you are immediately labelled as cheap:  either pay it all up or shut up and let it be paid.  My culture, however, is not my reference but the years of working with individuals and couples on relationships is.

I remember talking to a friend from Montreal years ago and her complaining that men from Quebec don’t offer to pay the bill.  This was a turn off for her and she felt that, if they were not going to pay, she wouldn’t give them the time of the day.   I could relate to what she was saying as all throughout college and even graduate school, I really wanted and liked it when men picked up the tab when I went out with them.  The only difference was, I never waited for them to do it, I always offered to pay my part.youblur-close-up-cutlery-370984

Here is what I think some women don’t get:  men are human beings too and in the game of dating, it’s often not so much that they can’t pick up the tab, it’s that when they don’t just go for it, it tells them if the woman who is with them is just along for a free ride or she cares about him more deeply.  Whether or not you pay your part shows that.  And while so many women out there are coaching you on how to get the most out of men, here are 10 solid reasons to pay for your own shit:

  1. When you pick up your part, it shows you wanted to be there, you are willing to invest your time and money to spend the time with person.  While you may split or cover the bill once, doing it the second time is a proof of commitment: putting your money where your mouth is, so to speak
  2. You prove that you can’t be bought, you can order what you wish knowing you are treating yourself fully to this enjoyment.  If you are prepared to pay for it, you will never be disappointed
  3. You release the attachment and the desperation that comes from waiting for someone to pick up your bill or wondering throughout your time together about who will get it at the end
  4. You prove yourself to be feminist, that woman have a voice and can make all decisions the same way men can.  After all, aren’t most of us always trying to prove this to the world
  5. You are energetically invested, when you pay up, there is no guilt or even a remote wonder if you need to do something in return.  Your bills are paid and all is squared, everything that comes after that is a choice
  6. Men are impressed by women who take care of themselves and real men will respect it, even if they insist on paying
  7. You will release all those men who think their money can buy you and your attention, you will not be their player, you will be your own
  8. You will know if you want to do this again, because when it hurts your wallet, you get to be more mindful of how and with whom you spend your time
  9. You will leave the guy with an impression that you are stable, responsible, dependable and he will think much more highly of you
  10. You will never have an experience that you sold out for a glass of wine, or a 10 course dinner; no matter how big or small it is, selling out is selling out.

Hope these reasons make you reconsider waiting for a guy to pick up a tab.  Nobody is born in service of you.  This is such an archaic way of thinking and people who expect it are bound to be disappointed.  The more you expect the less you have ownership over your life and what happens in it.   When you take care of yourself, do your part, everything else is a bonus, it becomes much easier to live in gratitude and that is the energy that attracts men, money and good things your way.  Which one will you choose?

 

The Cure for FOMO

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I am not exaggerating when I say that I suffered from FOMO (fear of missing out) my whole entire life.  I was a single child and although my father had more children after me, neither him nor them were in my life, so I was pretty much on my own.  Everyone around me had siblings, it seemed.  Most people also lived surrounded by other kids, in buildings with neighbors, in communities where everyone played together.

I was a busy child, between music school, elementary school, language courses and numerous school activities, from choir, drama, basketball, math team, I really didn’t have so many consistent friends.  This is why to this day, people that I went to school with are some of the most intimate relationships I have.  I wasn’t lonely, by all means, but I tried so hard to be everywhere and be everything for everyone.  I tried so hard to please.

Looking back, reflecting, I have compassion for that little girl that wanted so badly to “belong” to be a part of something bigger.  I understand the yearning even now as I am approaching 40.  Yet, I think that yearning had me look for the outside sources for my own personal happiness and that’s, ultimately, what needed to be rewired.

I must say that motherhood kicked my ass.  Even when I had my first son, Adrian, I was beginning to see that I don’t have the freedom I once had.  We moved from Montreal to Florida and then back to New York City and I was constantly in search of people and communities to belong to.  When I had my second son, Marko, this is where having to stay at home, missing events my friends were going to, and having to say NO became more of a norm rather than the exception.  I was hurting inside.  It felt like I was going to be forgotten and the more I thought I’d be forgotten, the more I wanted to be visible, to share my life.

In a sense, that is what I am doing now.  I am sharing my life on Instagram, which connects to my Facebook.  I also recently revived this blog and started posting my videos on my Youtube channel.  So yes, all my actions are showing that I want to be out there, that I want to be SEEN, HEARD, KNOWN yet something deep inside shifted: this longing to not miss out on life.  I realized, my life is where I am. I created my business, my clients, my husband, my children, my home.  What I have is completely a product of what I worked for and instead of having to go out and mingle with people all the time, I am using this time to ground myself in who I am and what my life is about.

This weekend, there was an event where over 2000 women joined to celebrate what it is to be a woman and I was supposed to be a part of it.  I got sick and couldn’t let my husband, who also got sick, stay at home alone to take care of the kids.  So I cancelled and stayed “behind.”  This morning, when my husband took the kids to the park, I turned on some music and processed my sadness and feelings of missing out through my body.  I did what those women were doing in a room together (most likely anyway), but I did it at home.  It allowed me to accept myself and my life.  I truly believe that when we honor who we are and where we are in life, things can actually change.  I am not chasing that change anymore, I simply allow it. In a meantime, I am happy exactly as I am.

 

 

Pregnancy – reality check (from August 27th, 2013 – about a week before I birthed my first son)

I think all of my life, with some rare occasions of being rebellious, I have wanted to be a wife and a mother.  Definitely, the moment I was clear I wanted to be in a relationship, I was looking forward to everything the relationship would bring: partnership, prosperity, wealth, marriage, and children.

I have envied people who were in powerful marriages, who got along well and at the sight of pregnant women, at least after my 20s, I was envious and jealous.

It’s not until I got pregnant myself that illusions of the miraculous child birthing were beginning to crash.  Namely, I had visions of working and being completely mobile until the day of delivery and have found myself exhausting and sick for almost my entire first trimester.  My breast were getting bigger and it was painful.  I could no longer sleep on my stomach which is how I liked to sleep since I was born.  The worse thing was, no one could tell I was pregnant, because nothing showed on the outside, so I wouldn’t necessarily get a better treatment while in a metro or waiting in a line.

Then second trimester came and I had felt much better. I could finally eat food again (something other than lemons, grapefruits and sour cabbage), but my body was changing.  Now, I wasn’t looking pregnant but slightly chubby and for someone who suffered from extra weight and many impacts of that in my teenage years, that was a big mental struggle to overcome.  Don’t get me wrong, I wanted my baby more than anything else, but the way I felt was hardly matching or feeling like it’s  a fair price to pay.  Mind you,  I am talking about healthy pregnancy.  I cannot even imagine what women who have slight complications have to go through.

And finally, I am approaching the end of last trimester, very close to delivery.  I have interviewed more than 50 mothers, checked about different ways of delivery etc.  And, it seems that, while there is a small percentage of women who were mind strong and were able to have a relatively easy and natural delivery, most women had some kind of complication, lot’s of pain and perhaps some further impacts in their life from birthing their child (or children).  Yes not one of them is ongoingly complaining and most of them did all they could to put that experience behind the moment they brought life into the world, but I know, from having talked to all of them, that they all experienced pain in the process.

Then a friend of mine recommended a book by Ina May and on her website, even prior to ordering, I found this quote:

“It’s not just the making of babies, but the making of mothers that midwives see as the miracle of birth.”

— Barbara Katz Rothman

I realized that there was more to it than what we initially get to see.  This fear that I had my whole life about birthing a child, as much it can be justified, is also a bit unnatural.  And, I am out to find out.  AS my friend said, affirming: “easy, natural, child birth!!!”