33, 43 and 53-ish! – What an interesting combination of women. Three different decades, yet all facing similar crossroads that suddenly intersect. A random meeting. Happenstance encounter. Like-minded, seeking more, willing to share, and open to opportunities.
It’s about the #MeToo, and it’s not. It’s about each of our stories and each of our desires to empower other women in our own ways.
Long term financial security, health and wellness, listening to our inner voice/soul, sharing the message. Encouraging and uplifting. Each in our own way leading each other and looking for our own paths. Stumbling upon a sister in the depth of her own discovery.
Talking about our histories: men overpowering us, us not speaking up, or trying and not being heard. About growing up female and learning from our mothers to hide the purchases we make. Even if we’ve earned them in our own right. Knowing that we’re different from them. Knowing that we desire them, respect them, want to partner with them, and yet, understanding that they are different. The likeness is in the sisterhood. And here we sit, three very different women of three different decades, sharing a bottle of wine, laughter, openness, fears, dreams, and history. The beginning of a new friendship. Once born of like vision and mutual respect. Not knowing where it will go, and not caring or worried about it. Today it’s about opening up and allowing. Allowing ourselves to trust and be vulnerable. Knowing that it doesn’t matter why or where or what. Just that it matters.
Conversation flowing in obscure and interesting directions. Being open and risking. Choosing not to care, not feeling judged or worried about what the others think. Listening and exploring observations.
We do walk a different path, and that’s okay. We admire men and appreciate them, but we don’t claim to understand them. And we are connecting more and more to our souls. To our purposes. We are not afraid to go deeper. To question things, to wonder why, to search for meaning and growth. Wanting to share this with them, only they don’t seem to need it the way we do. They exist in a different reality. Which overlaps ours in a mutually beneficial way that we long to share. But they don’t see the world quite the way we do, yet. Or not many of them.
Walking down a lonely hallway to get to the restroom: we feel anxiety, we watch our surroundings, wondering if anyone would hear us if we screamed for help if, God forbid, we need it. He walks down the same hallway with no thought of threat at all, simply moving from point A to point B. Then he realizes what she might be thinking or feeling, and instead of hurrying back to the group waiting at the table, decides to stay and wait for her to come out so they can walk back together.
Until men learn to walk in our shoes, viewing the world from our eyes, they won’t understand how free they are and we aren’t. We travel in packs for safety, not because we always want to. Equality is the wrong word. As long as men rape women, we won’t be equal. Saying we need to get to 50% is not a real measurement. We’re wired differently; that’s a good thing. If a woman wants to sit in the CEO of a Fortune 500 seat, she should. And if she wants to be President, support her. Or if she wants to drive a logging truck or a fishing boat, let’s support her. Support her by paying her the same, providing quality, affordable childcare, helping her do the dishes, and wash the laundry. Let’s not say we need 50% or that we need to be equal, because it’s not the right measurement.
The conversation moves to sex. We don’t talk about sex; men do, women don’t. But we need to. It’s time we have discussions about why men are only interested in one thing. And it’s not because they’re men. It’s because we have trained them that they can have it whenever they want. Because we are too insecure, too fearful of not catching them, that we give it away because we believe it will hook them. But it doesn’t work that way. As long as we continue to throw ourselves at them and give the milk away for free, not only will they not buy the cow (wow, bad analogy, I just called myself a cow), they won’t even stay to have breakfast. Okay, now I’m lost.
They will continue to move on, searching for something new. Take the next bus that comes along.
We need to rethink this. Stop competing with each other. Start making the men compete for us. Men are meant to hunt, and without the hunt they are lost. They’ll take sex, sure, but what they need is a challenge. They need to be drawn in, not chased down. We are emasculating them, and they are letting us because they get all the sex they want. But we don’t get the love and commitment that we want. It’s up to them, too. So they need to learn to say, not yet, let me get to know you. I want to see you for who you are, learn what makes you tick. What turns you on, how to light you up. That’s their job, and they need to learn to please us. We need to learn to expect it. Stop giving away the milk, ladies, and men, buy the damn cow.
But once he does buy the cow, keep giving him the milk, and teach him how to make sure you want to. Because if he’s a smart man, he’ll realize that sex with the same person does not need to be boring or staid. Make it safe but adventurous. And know where the limits are, but test them together. Don’t let the dirty dishes keep you from finding time to play.
And laughter, music, and dance! Oh, how our souls long for all that and more. Poetry and art. Fresh air and walks on the beach. Hugs and long kisses. Sex, lots of sex. Take the time to do them all. Good conversation and soul connections with new friends of any gender and all ages. Break down the walls and come together. Now it’s time to walk side by side and to step out from the shadows, knowing that we will be supported. It’s time for men to realize that we are always on guard, and we don’t want to be. Even though we like to feel safe and supported and loved and cared for, we also want passionate sex and fulfilling conversation that explore the depths of our souls.
There is more for all of us in this shift taking place. Men, step up. Do not be afraid of strong, powerful women; admire us and support us. Encourage us to be all that we can be. Listen to us, and don’t shut us down or belittle us. We are smart, wise, insightful, brilliant people with different anatomy and strengths. Difference is not bad, and it’s not lesser. It’s just different.
Listen to us, walk in our shoes. Rise up. Challenge yourselves to be better men because together we can make this a better world. For both men and women. Be who you are meant to be and let us be all that we are capable of being. But don’t be threatened by us; we’re not threatened by you. We’re collaborative. We travel in packs for a reason. Ask to be part of our team, and if we feel respected and understood, we’re happy to have you there.
It’s okay that this is new territory. And it’s okay for us to talk about sex, business, money, spirit, and all the other things that affect us all during our time here on earth. Let’s make the journey better for everyone. Let’s make it less about competition and more about collaboration. Less about winning individually and more about expanding the pie so that there is more for everyone.
This was written some years ago after I spent an evening out with two women I had just met. We realized that we were approximately 10 years apart sequentially. Yet, we had one of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had. When I got home that night, I dashed off the above and have never done anything with it until now. When I reread it, I thought, this is interesting, let’s put it out there and see what kind of response we get. I hope you enjoyed this train-of-thought mind dump from that special evening’s conversation.
Sherry Lutz Herrington is the owner of Sherrington Financial Fitness, a business consulting and accounting firm specializing in strategic business planning and solid financial accounting for businesses. She is also the author of Strong Women Thriving (https://strongwomenthriving.com/), a blog which focuses on empowering women to be financially savvy, particularly after experiencing financial abuse. Sherry is currently writing a new book that both shares her personal story and addresses financial abuse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join our FB group https://www.facebook.com/groups/womensurivingfinancialabuse