Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Take off both your shoes.

Sometimes I truly astonish myself. Not in a good way.

This morning as I talked and walked to the metro, telling a story about yesterday, I heard a change in my voice. I sounded like Chelsea Handler. Walking in heels, wearing big sunglasses, I sounded like a mean girl. I looked like a mean girl.

One of the most pronounced struggles women in DC face is staying sweet. People here communicate primarily by interrupting each other mid-sentence, fluent in sarcasm. We grow thick skin and dole out criticism just as quickly and succinctly as we take it—and we don't suffer crybabies. The attitude seems to be "if you can't handle it, go back to Georgia, cupcake."

And not one of us wants to fail.

But perhaps there is a failure in success at the expense of losing yourself.

I don't want to be the kind of person who loses my temper easily, who panics at the first sight of a headline or a tweet that bristles against a project I'm involved in, who snaps at dear friends over nothing at all. I'm a happy person—I'm a sweet person. If I'm not using my mouth to speak life into someone—what's the point?

So many sweet girls come to this city with bright smiles and great ideas.

And we train them to be cold, calculating, tough girls.

And—at least for me—it stops now.