My sisters- we have been fed a big fat lie that is hurting us emotionally and financially. We have been told this lie for so long that it feels diillusional to even question it. The lie is this: There are only so many seats at the proverbial table for us. It may sound like a crazy concept, but hear me out. Believing that there are only so many designated spots for women means that we are always in competition with each other for a seat. In this lie other women are seen as the enemies and chair stealers. They are not to be trusted because they’re after our seats. It is unfortunate, but I believe that some women have believed this lie and therefore think the only way to get a seat is to force another woman out. That mentality is also part of the problem, because the lie is now hurting us from the inside out. Never mind that there are men sitting at this table too, but we’ve never thought of taking their seat (how scandalous!).
Here is a visual; think of a giant medieval table with lots and lots of seats around it. Every where you look you see men seated – laughing – talking. They’re comfortable and owning their seats. The seated women are few and far between and their faces aren’t as relaxed. Now imagine a woman walking into the room and looking for an open seat. The woman standing is nervous because she just wants a seat. The seated women are nervous of being forced out of their chairs. The men- they don’t even notice . Now a guy walks in and looks around. The guys yell for him to join them and pull up a chair to the table. They MAKE ROOM FOR HIM. It’s expected that he’ll find a chair. What is this madness? Who knew we could add a chair? This is the shift! There’s always room because we can always add another chair.
LIE: We have been taught that the number of chairs at the table is limited. Men have always been taught that there will always be room for them. It’s that simple. The bigger issue here is that this difference effects us emotionally, financially and in our relationships with other women. Let me give you a personal example. Years ago I was asked to fill in for a women who was out on medical leave. I had a lot of experience hosting radio shows, so it made sense that I would fill-in for her. The problem, instead of just filling in for her the dialogue at the station became was I trying to take her job? Would I replace her? Who did a better job? I didn’t want to take her job, but wanted to do the best job I could filling in because that is who I am. I’ve also filled in for a man in the same position and guess what? Not one person made comments comparing us or about me replacing him. No one thought a woman would take over his job- he was a man and who would replace a man with a woman?
We have to start recognizing this lie in order to shatter it. I believe this with every cell in my body, because it’s not just for us but for our daughters and our sons. The good news is that I believe it’s starting to happen and I strongly believe that now is our time. As women we are finding our voices in the workplace, in relationships and in life. I look at the #metoo movement and realize how much we have been suffering in secret silence. My hope is that we are learning that we need each other and that we’re stronger when we’re united. Why haven’t we recognized the lie until now? Why haven’t we said anything? Fear. Fear of losing our seat at the table. Fear of rocking the boat and being seen as a trouble maker. Fear of being called irrational. Fear. In order to break that fear into a million pieces we have to start shining a light on the lie. That light is the truth and the vessel – our voices. Some people may read this blog and think I’m a man hater and trouble maker. I don’t care. If that’s the price of speaking the truth, then so be it. I’ll just grab a chair and scoot in right next to them.