This past Sunday, I attended my second How She Hustles Brunch, hosted by the amazing Emily Mills. Though this was the 4th annual brunch, it was year numero dos for me - check my recap of last year's awesome brunch here.
Like last year, I spent a gorgeous afternoon connecting and re-connecting with some incredible women who are all hustling in one way or another. I met photographers, teachers, law students, singers, actresses, mothers, and more - and soaked up all the positive vibes they brought with them. At the lovely Hotel Ocho, 130 of us talked, laughed, hugged, exchanged cards, and snapped photos with each other while enjoying a delicious meal and an awesome event.
Unlike last year, I've gotten much more comfortable with mixing, mingling, and networking with others. My shyness has dialed down a bit. Though my introvertedness will never go away, I'm much better at *gasp* making conversation with strangers and getting to know others without needing to assess the scene from the comfort of the corner of the room first.
Not only did I meet some great women, eat some great food, and win some great prizes (like a beautiful necklace by Nikki Clarke), but I got insight on something I've been thinking about. In the spirit of hustling, we often think about the age-old question of "Can women have it all?" 'All' is a funny concept, because the general discussions I've read/witnessed tend to assume that women are a monolith who all want the same things - and common sense would tell us that's not true. Each woman's 'all' is a unique and personal entity, and I was reminded of that in conversation with many of the women in attendance at the brunch.
At its simplest breakdown, my 'all' looks something like this:
A happy, loving, passionate, supportive marriage.
Beautiful, healthy, and happy children.
A career path that fulfills both my spirit and my bank account.
Incorporating my passions and creative outlets into ways to diversify myself and my income streams.
Owning and maintaining a beautiful home.
Financial stability and prosperity.
Maintaining a thriving lifestyle centred around holistic health.
Supporting my community, supporting my friends, supporting my family.
I could drill down and get extremely specific about what all of these things look like to me, but in a general sense, the above points encompass the 'all' that I feel I deserve, want, and can attain.
At the How She Hustles Brunch, I was reminded of just how diverse and unique we are as women - and I was again bolstered by the fact that there is no ONE right way to do things or move about life. I met women who are living some of the things I dream about, or are thriving through the some things I fear would be too challenging for me to handle. I met women who were defying convention or redefining convention, and it motivated me to release a bit of the pressure I've been putting on myself.
To me, the debate around whether women can have it 'all' is a trick question. Are we placing a cookie-cutter mold on womanhood and our capabilities therein? Or are we accepting of the fact that not only can women have it 'all', but that their definition of 'all' and their game plan of how to achieve it are incredibly multitudinous? We need to beware of allowing the common threads that connect us as women to turn into strangleholds that tie us to perceptions that don't actually fit. Do: Assess your values, dreams, and goals, imagine your ideal life, define your 'all', and create your gameplan to achieve it. Don't: Compare yourself to another's journey, follow a route that you feel forced to take, and focus too much on doomsday news reports and statistics. Create the life of your dreams, and live it well.
Were you at the How She Hustles Brunch? If so, how did you enjoy the event? Have you defined you 'all'? Do you feel that it's attainable? What's your gameplan?
Special thanks to Samantha Clarke Photography for the beautiful photos!