The most important lessons I’ve learned have come from women.
From conversations, by example, in the middle of trouble, in times of calm. From my mother and women her age, from older women, from women my age and younger.
We’re storytellers. Fixers. Healers. Seers. Keepers.
In short, things get better with women around.
No, really, there are studies that show things are better– offices, businesses, industries, music & film— when women are involved. Firms perform better financially when there are female board members and leaders, and movies about women gross more.
So why is that it seems we’re always left talking to ourselves? Who better to talk to women, about women– and about anything, in general– than women? Surprise, surprise. Someone should tell the government.
With Women’s History Month now behind us, I thought it’d be dope to put together a few of my favorite conversations between women, about anything and everything. From Nikki Giovanni to Brene Brown, here are three dope moments, conversations and soundbites from some pretty awesome women that not only inspire me to do better, but show me what is possible when I stay true to me.
Nikki Giovanni — Soul Food, Sex, and Space
Krista Tippett, from On Being, talks for over an hour about everything from spirituality to sex in space. It’s definitely a treat.
“I recently have been fascinated at why it is that we don’t actually look into the manger more– we always look at the cross. and I think that, one of the problems with the manger is that we have to give Mary credit for bringing God to Earth.
‘It must have been a women who developed the spiritual.’ When we look at slavery… we had the people coming across that ocean, not knowing where they were going but knowing whatever it was, they were not going to go back to where they used to be. So somehow or another they had to make a decision: how do we go forward? But it had to be a woman because we’re back to the manger, we’re back to Mary, we’re back to ‘that’s what women do.’ It had to be a woman who said ‘I need to settle my people down’ and when you consider that there were a lot of languages going on– she didn’t speak English at that point, they didn’t speak Swahili at that point. The only common language is gonna be ‘hmmm’ (Nikki hums). So when we get to what is ultimately going to become the U.S., these people had created a way to speak to themselves, to each other through the language, through spirituals.”
Shonda Rhimes Delivers Dartmouth’s Commencement Speech
As an honorable mention, she also did an awesome TedTalk that is somewhat of a vignette version of her book Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person.
“If I am accepting a prestigious award, I am missing my baby’s first swim lesson. If I am at my daughter’s debut in her school musical, I am missing Sandra Oh’s last scene ever being filmed at Grey’s Anatomy. If I am succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other. That is the tradeoff. That is the Faustian bargain one makes with the devil that comes with being a powerful working woman who is also a powerful mother. You never feel a hundred percent OK; you never get your sea legs; you are always a little nauseous. Something is always lost.”
I want my daughters to know me and see me as a woman who works. In their world, mothers run companies. In their world, mothers own Thursday nights.“
Brene Brown on Boundaries, Empathy, and Compassion
Brene Brown also had some pretty good, eye-opening conversation here with my personal Auntie-that-I-know-in-my-head Oprah as well.
“We don’t set boundaries. We let people do things that are not okay, or get away with behaviors that are not okay; then we’re just resentful and hateful… I’d rather be loving and generous, and very straightforward with what’s okay and what’s not okay.
I assumed, for the first 35 years of my life, that people were sucking on purpose just to piss me off… and then when this thing came up with my therapist, ‘What if people are doing the best they can?’ My husband had the most beautiful answer to that question, he said ‘I’ll never know whether or not people are doing the best they can or not, but when I assume people are, it makes my life better.’
I am not as sweet as I used to be, but I’m far more loving… What boundaries need to be in place for me to stay in my integrity and make the most generous assumptions about you? But generosity can’t exist without boundaries, and we are not comfortable setting boundaries… Nothing is sustainable without boundaries… Boundaries are not division, they’re respect.“