Archive | January, 2015

What We Want, What They Want

28 Jan

Last year, I wrote a blog post called The Daughters of Womanists, about the notion of our daughters “having it all.”

It was about what we want for our daughters, what to tell them.

This post isn’t about what I want for mine, but about what she wants for herself and how I feel about it.

My daughter is going after a career in fashion. I know, stomach drop. She wants to write about it, be a creative director, be a taste-maker; an amalgamation.  She’s currently away at a small, liberal arts college and working at two fashion companies in New York City: one is a top couture house, the other is a popular website, which also has a small store, Pixie Market. She’s writing the blogs, tweeting and modeling. In other words, she doing her thing, making it happen. Lots of young people say they want “to work in fashion,” but either have no idea in what capacity or what it takes to make it happen. If you’ve seen The Devil Wears Prada, you have some idea of what the world of fashion is like.  I watch that movie and cringe, especially now that I know she’s schlepping a quarter of her body weight in clothes in blistering heat (or freezing temps) to the back door of the Conde Nast building–home of Vogue–and spending an hour steaming ball gowns and a half hour learning the exact way to make coffee for the boss.  She does it all, takes it all,  without complaint–even the unbelievable rudeness (see Devil Wears Prada).  She’s okay with it, because it’s where she wants to be.

Yes, I’m her mother. Yes, I guided her to get a strong education and not go to a fashion school, but beyond that, I took my hands off the wheel.

Initially when Baldwin began talking about her interest in fashion, when she was about six years old, I put no stock in it. Then in middle school, same thing and by high school, I was beginning to be concerned. Can’t you find something else?  I would tell her how good she was at other things. I wanted her to have a career as a— well I didn’t know what—just that it should be something serious and stable.

From Pixie Market’s website. She was modeling in seven degree weather and snow flurries


Now she’s studying writing and French in college, doing her internships during both the school year and on breaks. She loves it and I’m so proud of her. I’m pleased that she’s going after what she wants, she listened to the desire she’s had since she was a little girl. And my hope for her, for both my children (and yours, too), is that they figure out what they really want to do, not what we want them to do, have the courage and willingness to go after it and to find fulfillment.

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From her blog

 

Sometimes, I admit, on my bad days I still wish she’d chosen a safer field (which is where these days–Google?), where she’d get a job, a 401K and make a salary to pay for the life she envisions for herself. On my good days, I say, she’s got a passion and drive to make it happen. What more could a parent want.

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From Pixie Market’s Instagram

 

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Insight, part deux

28 Jan

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my friend having gained insight into a nagging issue. The comments I got made me re-think what I’d written and thinking that I wasn’t clear enough in getting across my point. The point was that when we get to the real reason something is bothering us and examine it, that bothersome thing often just goes away. It’s like magic, but of course, it really isn’t. It’s work that requires we get real honest with ourselves.

While I began the piece about the slightly negative reaction my friend had to her new daughters-in-law, that wasn’t meant to be the focus. It was about her realizing and allowing herself to feel her very human sense of loss. There were lots of comments suggesting that my friend should know that she has to let go of her sons. Several people quoted part of the poem by Kahlil Gibran: “Your children are not your children, they are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they do belong not to you.”

I actually had that read at my daughter’s naming ceremony when she was an infant. Clearly, I agree with the sentiment. I think my friend does too. Although, as parents, this is easier said than done.

Another, lesser known Gibran quote:

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

As you’ve probably noticed, I often write about the  importance of psychological and emotional intelligence. When my friend, a highly-trained psychotherapist,  said she felt light and free at her discovery, I was thrilled that she could now, was now, enjoying the addition to her family, instead of feeling resentful.

I thought it was a great idea for a post. It also led me to another idea for the following post about my first born.

I love getting your feedback! (I’d love it even more if you’d write your comments here instead of on Facebook because I could respond more directly to you and we could also have a more fluid community discussion.)

I hope you’ll keep reading and responding. I so appreciate you all.

 

 

Insight

13 Jan

I had a conversation with my friend who’s an esteemed psychologist. A Ph.D., she has a vibrant practice in Manhattan. She has several children, all sons. Two of them recently got married. She had a difficult time when the first one was engaged, often complaining about his then fiancé. Lots of little things about her annoyed my friend. At one point she even “spoke” to her son about the woman he’d chosen to marry, telling him that she thought he’d have to do more than his share of care taking in the relationship. The son assured his mother that he was completely aware of his fiancé’s gifts and flaws. This didn’t assuage my friend. She continued to worry that her son was making a huge mistake.

Her reaction to the second one was fine until after their marriage and she then began to complain even more about that son’s wife. The details of her complaints don’t matter. The point of the story is the issue she was complaining about wasn’t the problem at all.

At dinner yesterday with her husband, two of her sons and daughters-in-law, my friend, found herself having a wonderful time. Then a light bulb went off. She realized that her anger, anxiety and all her negative feelings weren’t about the women at all. It was about feeling as if she was losing her sons. As she looked around the table, feeling happy and full, she acknowledged that her daughters-in-law are, in fact, wonderful, accomplished women, who love their husbands, her sons.

Today, when my friend is recalling her aha moment of insight, I, who fancies myself an amateur shrink, reminded her that I’d pointed out this very thing to her almost a year ago. Initially she said, “I don’t remember that.”

I said, “I do” and pointed to the exact spot on our walk where I’d said it and, I reminded her, that she’d even teared up at the time.

“Mm hmm,” she said, “I remember now.” The point of this story isn’t about my being right, but about the power of insight. Now that my friend realizes what she was actually agitated about, she no longer is. It’s gone away, poof like magic.

Although it isn’t magic. It’s the result of work. The willingness to talk about our hurts and annoyances, to be raw and bare. Only when we’re willing to pick away the scab, will it fall off and begin to heal.