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Archive for the ‘growing up’ Category

What Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein Have to do with Success

Marilyn Monroe reading, by Elliott Erwitt, 1956

When I was twelve, I wrote down this quote from Marilyn Monroe:

I was never told that I was beautiful when I was younger. I think that all young girls should be told that they are beautiful even if they really aren’t.

And ever since then, I’ve heard her words in my head. I, too, believe that every little girl should be told that she’s beautiful. But I disagree with Ms. Monroe that little girls are not beautiful. When you’re little, the world is yours to take and create. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to, and you can do whatever you want to do.

Last week I read this correspondence between Albert Einstein and a little girl who wanted to be a scientist. In it, he gave her the best advice that every woman can apply to her career and anything that she sets her mind to.

As a woman, I encounter so many articles about women in work and the role gender plays in success. I have been part of conversations about how to we need more women in the tech field, how brogrammers have created a world that is challenging to play in, and that women still can’t have it all.

As a member of Gen Y, we know that the world that we’re working in now is way different than every other generation that came before us. The majority of us are working jobs that did not exist 10 years ago or even before we had them. We see work as an activity, not a place we spend our days. And most of us have a side-hustle, hobby, or passion project that we created ourselves and devote time beyond the 9-to-5 building.

And even though we’ve been accused for being the cheapest generation, we’re working hard, despite the horrible economy, to build a life that we want. And we’re filling it with the people, experiences, and the things that we desire.

We were raised to believe that if we want something bad enough, all we have to do is work hard and we can do it. And we’re very aware that we can’t do it alone, because if we could, we wouldn’t want to.

Marilyn Monroe wants every girl to know that she’s beautiful, whether she is or is not. Gen Y has was raised to believe that we could do anything that we set our minds to.

But as we get further and further into our version of adulthood, we realize that we can’t have everything that we want, when we want it. We get confused after reading articles that tell us that women keep other women from getting ahead at the same time that others tell us that women can be our closest allies. We aren’t sure what to think. We forget the hopes and dreams that we secretly scribbled into notebooks when we were teenagers. We get consumed in the struggle.

A friend says the right words, at the right time. They pass us a book that brings us back to where we need to be. Someone throws us a life vest and we read something that was written for what we’re experiencing in that very moment.

We realize what Einstein was right—who we are and what we want to be is possible, and not to let something that we can’t control, like being young, a woman, inexperienced, or something else, get in our way.

In our world, non-beautiful girls can be beautiful and little girls can grow up to be scientists. Rules and expectations were set by the generations who came before us. And they created their definition of success.

This is our world, and success is what we make of if.

Photograph by Elliott Erwitt via Mycroft Books

Writer’s Block and the Muppets

I have a half hour to get this post written and live on my blog before heading out to celebrate Saturday night. And while on one hand I’m excited to write a two or three-part blog series about a certain topic (and I really, really want to start mapping it out), there’s no way that I can write even the first part in the next 29 minutes.

So I opened up my content calendar for this month, looking for ideas, and it’s becoming very clear that I have five more posts to write until I reach the finish line of National Blog Posting Month.

But I have so many more amazing, awesome blog posts to write before November 30th that even writing a ‘cheap shot’ of a blog today seems like a waste.

28 minutes.

Shit.

[10 minutes later]

Yeah, I don’t have anything, so here’s the official trainer for The Muppets movie. John and I saw it on Wednesday and we’re about to go see it, again. Seriously, I’ve never laughed so hard at a movie in my life.

If you’re a 20-something who grew up with watching Sesame Street, idolizing Jim Henson, and thought at some point that the Muppets (and every Disney character) was real, you should go see this movie. If you like underdog stories, making dreams happen, and the Muppets, you should see this movie.

I haven’t found a really good way to describe it, but imagine if you could go up to the fictional characters you idolized as a kid and actually talk to them and ask them questions about the things they did and how awesome that would be – that’s this movie. It’s a modern interpretation of our history of growing up in the 80s and 90s (read this blog post by Jessica Malnik: 21 Signs You Grew Up in the 90s, and you’ll know what I’m trying to say).

Picturing My True Identity

Laura in Madrid, Spain, Summer 2000

Tonight I had dinner with my friend Harmony who is taking a 100-day break from working and blogging about it. Yesterday she shared an old photo of herself that gave her insight to one of the happiest moments of her life and insight into her true self.

But it’s more than just a photo; it’s about finding who you are based on who you were from your past. As Harmony puts it in her blog post:

Right now I have two books on my nightstand (from the library). Redirect by Timothy D. Wilson and Public Parts by Jeff Jarvis. I am finished with the former and just a chapter into the latter. Tim may not be as good at writing as Jeff is, but he is a pretty damn good scientist. He proposes that so many of our societies ills and traumas could be cured with story editing. He describes a method for re-writing how you see yourself. By changing our own self image, we can be happier, more successful and healthier – and this is all proved with scientifica studies.

If we could merge this “surprising new science of psychological change” with the message in Jeff’s book, “how sharing in the digital age improves the way we work and live,” you would end up with more or less what I am doing here with this blog.

Tonight when I got home, I went through my boxes of photos to find one that represented the image of how I see myself. The one that stuck out the most is the one at the top of this post. This one was taken in Madrid, Spain during the summer of 2000. I was 14 and on a student ambassador trip to Italy, France, and Spain. It was a summer of self-discovery and figuring out who I was, which is something that is bound to happen as a teenager studying abroad or traveling internationally with other teenagers.

This photo was taken before our final dinner of the three-week long trip. And the girl pictured here turned into the one below – a freshman in high school, with confidence of steel, true friends, and blue hair.

When I think of my own self image, this is who I think of.

Laura and Jaclyn, freshman year

How to Save Yourself from the Zombie Apocalypse and Learn How to Shuffle

Around this time last year, I was obsessed with a little viral video that was recorded on iPhones on a subway in NYC. This year, I’m obsessed with a song that my cousin introduced me to over the summer by breaking out in a dance while I played the song via YouTube on my Grandma’s farm in nowhere Iowa.

Want to know the best part? I had no idea that this song and that dance was created to save the singers from the Zombie Apocalypse until this weekend. This song and that dance is definitely one that we should all learn, for our own safety and that of our loved ones.

So, because I love each and every one of you in a non-creepy, deeply platonic way, I’d like to bestow on you the gift of shufflin’ so you may survive the apocalypse as well.

‪How To – Shuffle Routine in Party Rock Anthem Music Video (Part 1)‬

‪How To – Shuffle Routine in Party Rock Anthem Music Video (Part 2)‬

Phew, now we’re all safe.

Embracing the F-word: This is What a Feminist Looks Like

Theo Kogan for Kenneth Cole

Everyone knows the saying, “Behind every successful man is a woman.” And then I see an article that one of my friends shared on Facebook about the 10 women who secretly control the Internet (aka “the world”), and I have to ask – what’s with all the secrecy here, people?

The answer is obvious and it has to do with which pair of pants we put on in the morning and how we conduct ourselves in a room full of strangers. It’s the way we shake hands in public and how we introduce ourselves using only our first names. It’s the question of whether our actions are dictated by society or if it’s from the very nature of the “g” word – gender.

Learning “F”

I was 17 when I learned the “F” word. I had heard the “F” word before, but I never really understood what it meant and especially what it meant to me.

Feminist Coming Out DayIt came to me from the most obvious of places; a class called Introduction to Women’s History at the community college. I was still in high school and especially impressionable. So I did what every teenager did and I shared it with my best friend.

My best friend and I were revolutionaries without a revolution. We were like every single teenager on the planet who was looking to be a part of something but we weren’t too sure what that ‘something’ was. (This was also before Facebook.)

To us, feminism was an identity that we could wear proudly on our arm and let it stand that it stood for being who we as it is true to ourselves. It stands for knowing that we are strong, represents the gutsy, and tells us it’s not only okay to strive for what we want out of life, it’s required.

How this Feminist celebrates International Women’s Day

As a girl and a woman growing up in the U.S., a glass ceiling has never prevented me from achieving what I want to accomplish in life. But I know that’s not the case for everyone.

Give2Girls on JolkonaThe role of women and girls in the world is constantly on my mind. I am fortunate to work for an organization that holds these values close to the core of their business. But there is so much left to be done and so much to do. Which is why today, on the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, I’m proud to help power the launch of Give 2 Girls, a campaign that turns activism into action by empowering the women of tomorrow by giving to the girls of today.

Seriously, you should check it out the campaign and see how the Jolkona community is supporting this movement.

So as I clean up my desk, load this blog, and head to one of the few celebrations of International Women’s Day in Seattle, I need to send a few text messages to the women in my life who helped inspire and support me throughout my budding “F” word years. These are women who share their strength, knowledge, and beauty when I needed and when I didn’t know we needed it.

Happy International Women’s Day, Feminist Coming Out Day, and good ol’ Tuesday!

I’m going to celebrate with 100+ ladies and gents in Seattle. What are you doing to celebrate this momentous day?

Photo Credit: ego technique

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