I have done a lot of things. And in that, I mean, I am almost 37 years old. I’ve been through a bit of life experience. I’m a woman. I grew up in a faith that not many understand and it shaped much of who I am today. I have moved around to several different cities and states and have made – and lost – many dear friends of various cultures and backgrounds. I never went to college, but instead I went to work and learned a LOT about finances, credit, and rental history. I have been married. And divorced. And re-married. I have carried, nursed, and and am currently raising two tiny humans. I love food. I love wine (and beer and vodka). I swear a good bit – when I’m out of earshot of my kids. I am Italian which translates to me being a bit loud, a bit dramatic, and a bit extra. (o.k….maybe a lot extra.) I have been blessed to travel around the world. I’ve been poor – like repossessed car, water turned off poor. I’ve also been more comfortable in my financial circumstances. I have watched loved ones go through trauma, heartache, and loss. I have had “friends” turn their back on me in my darkest hours. I have turned my back on people I shouldn’t have.
WE could all write our stories and they would all be different. But one thing would be the same.
WE LIVED to tell our stories.
I am the first one to admit that I have no clue to advise anyone on anything. I am not an expert on anything. By societies standards, I’m actually pretty “privileged”. And I guess I am. I do not pretend to know what it’s like to walk in heels that are a different height than mine. I try to open my mind and my heart to other womens’ experiences and life stories, but I have my moments where I judge or feel insecure or threatened and I clam up internally. I will be honest – I have a “mean girl” streak. And you know what? I accept that streak, turn it around in my head and heart, and release it. I don’t hold on to it because what good is that going to do?
Do I have my opinions? OH YES. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t.
So, when I saw a dear friend of mine shared an article from a woman named Jen Oshman asking her readers to “reject the teachings” of a best-selling author and public figure named Rachel Hollis – I read the article.
I read Rachel Hollis’ first personal development book,, Girl – Wash Your Face last spring. Around this same time, actually. I was on a self-discovery journey at the time. I had walked away from my full-time job and career to be a stay at home mom of my toddlers and work my direct sales beauty business. I felt restless, bored, and like I was having an out-of-body experience. I had given my physical body over to my children for the previous four years – being a vessel for their growth, their nutrition, and their emotional security. It was taking its toll on my mental well-being and my marriage. I felt like I had lost myself after having children; trying to figure out my place as a woman on this planet. I am an average girl. And like most girls – we over analyze everything.
So, on the recommendation of a friend, I bought this “life-changing” book by a woman I had never heard of. I loved the book. The first paragraph captured me right away because she told of her story about peeing her pants and as a woman who has lost all bladder control – I could instantly relate.
I became a huge fan girl. Followed her on all social media channels, sang her praises, gave a book away as an incentive for my followers, blogged about her…..even contemplated attending a marriage retreat for me and Bryan just so we could be around her and her husband (who I found just as charming). For me, the book gave me permission to embrace all the gifts that my Creator had instilled inside of me. My potential was what He had created in me and what I did with it was my gift back to Him. When had I strayed so far away from that thought process? As a little girl, I had dreams. When had I stopped dreaming? It had been so long since I had someone encourage me to dream again and it was refreshing to acknowledge that women across the globe were in fact MADE FOR MORE.
And then, it was announced that she was the keynote speaker for an event that my direct sales company was hosting in the fall of 2018. AND I WAS ALL IN. I was seated in the third row and I was buzzing from excitement. When the time came for questions – which I didn’t even expect, I honed in on that Italian loud-mouthness – and I basically shouted at Rachel Hollis with a question that was legitimately on my heart. We exchanged pleasantries and I considered it one of the highlights of my life.
So, with her new book out (Girl, Stop Apologizing), I was thrilled to get a new dose of that enthusiasm back again. Especially in light of the fact that I was now in a new city with a new venture underway. I needed a bit of inspiration and encouragement that I knew Rachel was notorious for dishing out. And then I read the article by Jen Oshman.
At first, I was angry. Then I was sad. Then I was confused. And then I was just struggling internally with my feelings. How could two Christian women have such a different message about their sex? One woman was saying that we were meant to apologize to our Lord and Savior first and foremost and be completely reliant on Him. The other woman was saying to embrace our God-given potential and do whatever we needed to do on this planet to accomplish what we were supposed to with it. I went to social media and a few close friends and asked for their feedback and most of us were of the same mindset – which is: GIRL, YOU DO YOU.
I don’t care if Rachel Hollis is a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or Jewish woman – she is a WOMAN. This Jen Oshman is a WOMAN. And as WOMEN we are incredible creatures. We are diverse. We are complicated. We are intricately woven – inside and out. We do owe our greatness to the fact that we are beautifully made. No matter if we are speaking about a woman sitting in a Starbucks in Lower Manhattan or Sunny L.A. California or a woman carrying firewood in the middle of a South American jungle – we are FEMALE. That doesn’t make us any less great than our male counterparts, but unfortunately because of history and society at times we may feel as if we are.
When Rachel Hollis writes, she isn’t writing to just the Christian community. She’s writing to the women of the world. She may be a Christian woman, but her writings are meant to speak to women as a whole. I think this is why Jen Oshman’s article is so discouraging to me. I understand that Rachel’s book was published under the premise of a Christian Living book, but why aren’t we embracing that this may be Rachel’s way of sending out the message of Christianity to the world – in places that it may not be widely accepted? What if it opens the hearts and minds of women who were only taught ONE way of life and faith to see that there are other ways to believe and live? Is that not the whole basis of Jesus’ teachings while he was on earth? “Come to me, all you who are weary” Jesus said (Matthew 11:28-30).
Have we ever thought that Rachel Hollis’ ministry is her writing, her company, her speaking, her imparting her perspective of Jesus’ teaching to the masses? And if you are a Christian and think her message is completely against that teaching then do you publicly go on record and beg your readers to REJECT her teaching? It reminds me of when the Scribes and Pharisees went on public record to scoff at Jesus himself in the public arena.
GIRL, YOU DO YOU. I am so tired of women not lifting one another up. I am tired of us settling for the mediocrity of our sex and what others heap upon us. I am tired of hiding behind the face of a religion and using it to tear one another down WHY CAN’T WE JUST STOP????
I know that if Jesus himself walked into a room with Jen and Rachel – they would both be humbled and respectful and kind to not just Him, but one another. Hell – even if you don’t believe in Jesus, someone as well-known and historically revered as he was would at least summon a handshake of some kind if he walked into the same room as you, right?
I don’t have a world resolution to solve all the women-hatred and the self-inflicted plagues that we bear, but I do wish that we would just respect one another enough to not tear one another down for believing in something other than what we may believe. Because, we are WOMEN and that single unifying thread should be enough to have us stand up for one another and cheer each other on.