Three years ago, on International Women’s Day 2010, I started my first feministy blog. I had just broken up with my first love and was still in the crying-in-the-bathroom-on-my-lunch-break phase of mending a mangled heart. But even through the endless pathetic geyser of tears I was shedding, I felt an openness, this possibility forming inside of me. I felt the need to write.
I hadn’t written for over a year and a half, I hadn’t written at all while Stephen and I were together. I blamed him, as my tendency was in our relationship. He was the real writer. He demanded the undivided attention of the writing muses. I was there to possibly give him edits and always pat him on the back. My writing was journalistic, simplistic and artless, or so I thought Stephen would think, Stephen and everyone else. The truth was I wasn’t sure I had anything to say anymore.
But if breaking up does nothing else for the wounded hearted, it gives them back their own time. While some see this as a curse, it was my opportunity to become the woman I had been putting off becoming for years. More importantly it was time for me to become the writer I needed to be.
So I started “third wave in the second city,” a clever title for what I thought would be synonymous for fun young feminists in Chicago. Only later did I find out many young feminists don’t consider themselves part of the third wave; they are the fourth or fifth wave or believe the entire “wave” concept is too old school to even be functional. This was mainly how the next two years of blogging went. I stumbled along trying to find my voice among in increasingly divisive world.
Mainly I ranted. And lord it felt good.
It was awesome to spout off about why rape jokes aren’t funny or why Pink was my lady hero or how much I hated just about every ridiculous thing the RedEye printed.
And then in March 2012, I started writing for the RedEye, in an unimaginable twist in the road. My first column was called Feminism is Your Friend. After I started writing for the RedEye, I suddenly felt less inclined to scream-write on my little-known blog. It was like I suddenly felt heard so I didn’t feel the need to yell anymore.
On International Women’s Day 2010, I was quite literally on the floor of my bedroom, crying, punching out the first words I had written in years. I had no idea that two years later, my hard punched words would be circulating to 200,000 young Chicagoans.
Why am I sharing all of this on this on my new feministy blog “Super Woman’s Day Job?” Why am I telling you my sad sack tale of heartbreak? Why am I flying my loser flag so damn high and proud? Partially because I am by nature an over-sharer. But also because it is the opposite of what I thought I should write here. It is the opposite of “super woman.”
Super woman does not cry over silly boys, if she blogged she would probably have a kick ass blog title that wasn’t passé, and she would never quit writing because she was afraid.
Growing up in the 90s, I was taught the traditional line of post-second-wave feminism. Girls can do anything boys can do…but better. And why? Because girls were super women. Girls were strong and powerful and stoic with fantastic hair. And that is what I should aspire to be when I grow up: a hero in heels.
But what I’ve learned the past three years is that super woman does not become our hero by being better; nor is she a hero because she is perfect. Super woman is awesome because of her day job, because of the work she puts into life, because of the struggles she has and the sweat she lets run down her face.
And sometimes that isn’t pretty. Sometimes it is a bed full of used broken-hearted tissues or an ugly rant about online dating. And sometimes that gets you a column in the RedEye or a sparkly new blog. And sometimes you get to be a hero, but not without the hard stuff first.
In a way I’ve created this blog to help remind me to do the work. I’m heading off to graduate school next year. I’ve got these grandiose ideas of life and what I want to do and how I want to change the world. I want to be super woman. But hopefully I will write to remember that to be super women, I need to sit down and do the work, to write the words, to do the day job, even if that just means blowing my nose, patching my heart and writing a silly blog post.