Something awesome happened last week: I found out that an essay I wrote is going to be in a book. An honest to god real paper (or e-reader, if that’s your thing) book. Like, a book you can buy and I can sign and my kids can physically hold in their hands someday. It’s called I STILL Just Want To Pee Alone, and it’ll be available this spring. If you read the first I Just Want To Pee Alone, you know it was good stuff–funny and poignant and just overall rad. And this new one is going to be fucking amazing too. When it becomes available, you can bet I’ll be sharing info on how and where to get your hands on a copy, and where you can meet me and some of the other authors so we can sign your copy for you.
I am so fucking proud of this. And I plan to shout it to the rooftops. You know why? Because it’s something to be proud of.
I feel like a lot of us, women in particular, think it’s not OK to brag about their accomplishments. We’re supposed to be like “I’m so humble, I don’t mean to toot my own horn” and shit. Men too somewhat, but seriously women. I can’t tell you how many women I know who have some big success but don’t feel like they’re able to say how proud they are of it.
And I’m going to say something that is going to probably lose me some friends, but I don’t care: I think part of why this happens is other women’s reaction. All too often, we don’t celebrate each other’s victories. And I think the reason we do this is because women in particular feel like we’re competing with each other for resources. We make less money than men. Women writers are often pigeon-holed as “chick lit” when the same book with a male author would be seen as “real” literature. When the pie is so small, it’s easy to feel jealous when someone else gets a slice, and easy to say “She doesn’t deserve that.” This is how we, as women, fall into the trap that patriarchy has set for us.
How do we get out of that trap? Well, step 1 is realizing that celebrating other women’s successes does not diminish our own. When we see our fellow women writers having success, we should cheer for them. We should say “I am so proud of you, my friend.” That is some powerful shit right there. I’ve had a lot of women say that to me since I found out about The Book, and it helps me overcome the pressure from society to pretend like it’s not a big fucking deal to have this kind of success. And I do the same for my friends who have successes. When I read a blog post I love, I share it. When we support each other, we make our community of women writers stronger, not weaker.
The second thing is harder. We have to learn to tune out people who tell us not to celebrate our successes. It helps to have role models who do it. My favorite college professor, Bonnie Morris, always tells me about the cool work she’s doing, like being published over and over, and lecturing at international conferences, and being invited to the White House for bill-signings. She’s proud of her work, as she should be, and every time I hear her talk abut it, I think, “I can be proud of my work too. I don’t need to act like it’s wrong to be proud of my accomplishments.”
So, am I bragging about this? FUCK YEAH I AM. I’m proud of this, and of every other writer whose work will be in the book. We’re badasses, and there’s nothing wrong with saying so.