What does “having it all” mean to you? "Having it all is" is the lie motivated women tell ourselves so we do not have to sacrifice any of our dreams. This lie keeps us hopeful, passionate, distracted, caffeinated—pushing our adrenal and nervous systems to the edge. And having it all is what I want.
I love my work, and I work for every penny I have. So I am fighting hard, we are fighting hard, to make enough, to smile enough, to be fit enough, to love enough, to be present enough, to contort ourselves into believing we are thriving when most of the time we are barely surviving. And we, the ones who want it all, the driven, the successful are often losing by burning ourselves out.
As women and mothers, we are asked to make many sacrifices with our time and bodies that men are not asked to make. Part of the desire to "have it all" feels like an ill-fated attempt to fight patriarchy, biological aging and re-write history of the domestication of women. It is ill-fated because we often pay the price in our personal health and happiness. And the backlash of the feminist movement is the expectation that women will have careers, financial independence, and break through glass ceilings. Yet we continue to disproportionally shoulder child-rearing and domestic responsibilities.
Three words that describe me: (A) fiercely compassionate mess.
Portrait by Vivian Johnson