Dear Ladies…

Dear Ladies Everywhere,

I support you. I don’t compete with you.

Some of the harshest criticism I’ve ever gotten has come from other women in my life.  Sometimes I needed to hear these things, sometimes I didn’t want to hear these things, and sometimes they were complete and utter BS that didn’t apply at all.  Regardless, these things hurtPositive change and growth aren’t the most comfortable things to do on any given day, but they are always worth it.   Friends don’t normally hurt you on purpose, if they’re healthy people in a healthy space.  Friends tell you things gently, kindly, from a place of love and when you’re ready to hear them. 

You are beautiful…please do not forget this. Please remind each other of this, too.  You may be beautiful in a different way than Barbie , Heidi KlumAli Wong or Alex Wek, but you are still, by all means, beautiful.  Some of the most rich, famous and beautiful (the holy trinity of qualities we are taught by society to admire and aspire to) people hate the way they look or don’t like what they see in the mirror some days. I am not any of the above by far, but I feel like crap about myself sometimes, just like you. We all do.  I know that sometimes you wish you looked like the women in the magazines, but you are lovely just the way you are, whether someone tells you so or not. I am telling you this now. And if there is something you do not like about yourself, YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE IT. 

Even the “women in the magazines” don’t look like the “women in the magazines.” I’m a photographer and an artist and I can tell you the “women in the magazines” and on Instagram (while beautiful) aren’t all real—they’re heavily airbrushed, retouched and posed with professional lighting, makeup and cameras. (I knoooow you’ve heard it before, but I’m reminding you! And I’m telling you, if you haven’t.) And if they are “real”, be happy for them, but know how much hate and differential treatment they receive on a daily basis for the way they look, whether they know it or not.

Also: while you are beautiful, please know that your beauty nor your waistline define your worth or talent in this world.

 Please do not put off joy because of the way you feel about your yourself.  Don’t hold yourself to that standard. Don’t hold others to that standard. And stop comparing yourself to each other or an older, younger version of yourself. You have grown, you have learned, you have come this far!! The emotional injuries, the stretch marks, the scars (internal and external) are badges of honor. Cover them if you want to, but don’t feel like you have to.

Let’s all stop making “feminist” a 4-letter word.   I consider myself a feminist, and yet I still shave my legs (and wax and pluck allllllll the other parts, God help me…or at least try to!) and love men and like to wear makeup and dresses. Feminism just wants equity and equality for all people, not one race or sex in power.  Being a feminist doesn’t mean you’re gay, but if you are a gay feminist, more power to you. To quote Emma Watson, ”I hate to tell you, but if you want equal rights for everyone, you’re a feminist.  I hate to tell you!”  

I want the best for you.  I try my hardest every day, just like you. I have obstacles you won’t ever see because I don’t talk about them. And if I do share these obstacles, it is because I want to share my experience, strength and hope to help others, not for attention or likes or money or pity. 

Share your story to connect to others. I’ve probably had the same thing happen, whatever it is you are hiding. If I didn’t, then someone, somewhere has. YOURE NOT ALONE. Whatever your deepest secret is, or your worst fear, know that you’re never alone. Reach out. Take the risk to be vulnerable and share your story with like minded people that you trust. Even if they screw you over, you still win for taking that leap of faith and being true to yourself.

I can be a bitch. So can you. So can anyone. I have hormones and bad days, sleepless nights, family issues, friend breakups, just like you. I put them in their place and make my apologies when necessary. I check myself. I check my motives, my agenda, my purpose, my spiritual temperature—not every day, but I try the best I can. You are trying the best you can, too. That’s all we can do, as human beings. We are spiritual beings having a human experience and no one is perfect.

Always be true to yourself. Don’t take it personally—its almost never about you, and almost always a reflection of whomever you’re dealing with. 

Stop putting others ahead of yourself. This goes out in bold, underlined, italics to single parents, caretakers, co-dependents and mothers….know that while your maternal instincts are beautiful and selfless, no one can pour from an empty cup.

Don’t make snap decisions or judgements. Especially about yourself, but also about other people—men, women, transgender, black, white, child or elder.  It takes time to get to the full story…try your hardest to remember this. You can’t size someone up in 5 minutes, even if you work for the CIA or the FBI or the KBG. You just can’t. Truly knowing someone takes time and patience and experience. You can’t replace that with lust, 5 days, or a desire to climb to the top of the social totem pole.

Also, I tell you all these things because I truly believe them, not because I think I know it all. Sometimes I’ll forget them or won’t act on them. Please gently remind me when I do so.  And above all, stay safe and be kind to each other.



PS.  The more I listen to this album, the more I love it.  The New Yorker calls it Fiona Apple’s  “art of radical sensitivity.”  (Fiona Apple, Fetch The Bolt Cutters). The sounds are completely new and the lyrics dig DEEP.  And we could all use a little more radical sensitivity in these calloused times, no?  Check it out, if you’re so inclined.  

Further Reading:

“Ali Wong.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 Oct. 2020,

“Barbie’s Positive Influence.” UMKC Womens Center, 22 Mar. 2010,

Eloise. “REAL QUEENS FIX EACH OTHER’S CROWNS: How to Be a Real Queen!” Eternally Elle, Word Press, 22 Aug. 2019,

Fletcher, Dana. “There’s No Such Thing as Being ‘Too Pretty’ to Be Depressed.” The Mighty, 5 Oct. 2020,

Hendel, Hilary Jacobs. “The Benefits of Not Jumping to Conclusions.” World of Psychology, Psych Central, 8 July 2018,

Hodsen, Heather L. Women Who Hate Other Women. October 23, 2018.

Knoll, Jessica. “Jessica Knoll: It’s Time To Stop Pitting Women Against Each Other.” Girlboss, 2020,

Mulkerrins, Jane. “Alek Wek: ‘See This? This Is All Woman. I Know What I’m Doing’.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 9 Dec. 2018,

Nussbaum, Emily. “Fiona Apple’s Art of Radical Sensitivity.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker Magazine, 16 Mar. 2020,

Ruiz, Don Miguel. The Four Agreements: a Toltec Wisdom Book. Amber-Allen Publishing, 2017.

Silver, Kate. “When Obsession with Beauty Becomes a Disease.” Pacific Standard, 18 Apr. 2017, 

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