Becoming a woman is an interesting process. And when I say becoming I woman, I mean joining the community of women that walk into a room with seemingly the perfect level of confidence, grace and a sense belonging. So much so that you think to yourself, how does she have it all together? Learning what real confidence and self-love looks like, truly does take time and there is no quick way to learn this lesson. It took an actress and a pop star to remind me of that.
As a child of the 80’s, I still idolize Madonna and all that she has meant to women. The ultimate alpha female, owning her power in everything from money, fame, beauty, sexuality, religion, motherhood, business, education, men, friendships, the list goes on, she’s done and had it all. The ultimate smack-you-in-the-face-confidence that women everywhere want to feel. But there’s always been one point of contention with Madonna, and she spoke publicly and privately about that. Respect.
So it wasn’t really a surprise when a news story emerged regarding the private letters of Madonna being auctioned, focusing on one in particular that was written decades ago. In this letter she compared herself to and ultimately, criticized two female artists because…she was jealous. The woman that owned the world in important ways and so many of us idolized, yearned for the respect that she perceived the other women were receiving.
Insert the hero of the story here, the aforementioned slighted recipient of Madonna’s contempt, Sharon Stone.
A day after the story appears, Sharon responds, “Know that I am your friend. I have wished to be a rock star in some private moments… have felt as mediocre as you described. We know, as only those who have survived so long that owning our own mediocrity is the only way to own our own strengths; to become all that we both have become. I love and adore you; won’t be pitted against you by any invasion of our personal journeys. Sharon”
I read that and thought, damn that’s grown! That’s how grown women should act.
What those words meant to me.
– Hey all you people trying to get a reaction out of me, and women in general, because M once was feeling crappy about herself and was jealous of me, like 30 years ago. <Insert eye roll> Guess what? Sometimes we get jealous! And yeah, we get all superior, too. Surprise! And OMG, we unload our problems to our friends and try to work out those demons. What she probably didn’t know is how I wished I could have been the reigning queen of pop or worse, how much I beat myself up over things I couldn’t control, meaning other people. Duh! Fast forward, we are grown women. We know that being jealous of another woman is unnecessary and self-defeating, but does sometimes happen. It’s called being a human! Exposing this moment in time is laughable and yet another way people try to negatively portray women as adversaries. I applaud the revelation that I was not alone in sometimes feeling crappy about myself and my success. But more than that, I appreciate the flashback to show how much we’ve grown.
Here’s what I want women to know. Sometimes we think another woman has it all. She looks so put together and she has XYZ, so life must be perfect for her. Guess what, no one’s life is perfect. The very thing that people think you have, is just a mirage. And I guarantee someone is looking at you and envying how much you’ve got your sh*t together. Yeah, you. So stop doubting or worrying about what other might thinking and let your own growth take root in your inner most self.
People often comment on my confidence and truth is, I am still working on it. Do I sometimes feel…less? Sure. Do I want more, do I want better? Yes and yes. Self doubt can be crippling, and not everyone gets over it. But there’s good news, maturity helps us, time teaches us. Talk to a women over 40 and she’ll likely tell you that she no longer cares what people think-and means it (for the most part, lol). So, these days, I don’t measure myself against other women. I am confident. I walk in a room and know that I am good enough. I deserve to be there, just like you, just like her, just like anyone. Some days I feel that I still have a ways to go in that enlightenment department but I love, respect and accept who I am in this moment. I am the Madonna of my world.
And while I am forever a Material Girl, I’m now a card-carrying member of the Sharon Stone Fan Club aka Girl Got-Your-Back Club.
I’m taking sign ups at the door.