Claudia sat down next to me while I was writing yesterday and asked the worst question to me, “What do you think a strong woman is?”
Why is this the worst question? Because of me. Because of my own insecurities.
Maybe deep down I’m afraid if she thinks she’s a strong woman she will leave me.
I know this is not rational. And when I think about it: whether she’s strong or weak, it’s ok for her to leave me if that’s what makes her happy.
That’s what, I hope, makes me a strong man.
What’s a strong woman?
First I think by example: Sheryl Sandberg. Carly Fiorina, Ellen Degeneres, Amy Schumer (I love any comedians), Toni Morrison, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (author of “Americanah”), etc.
I bet I can make a big list.
When Claudia was 18, her mother died. She either fell out of a window or threw herself out of a window. She was having a hard time.
Claudia went a bit crazy after that. And then left her country. She moved to Venezuela with nothing. Then moved to America with nothing.
Then took jobs in San Francisco and New York. They all paid nothing. The bosses hit on her. She wasn’t a citizen. I’m still not sure if she was legally working.
She won the green card lottery, putting her on a fast track to citizenship. She became a US citizen.
She bought a home. Then like many, she lost a home. She got fired. She was lonely. She considered going back to her home country. She still misses a good empanada.
She’s flown all over the world on no money, pursuing her interests (yoga) and has a daily practice that has not stopped for almost 10 years of doing yoga every day.
She’s written at least one Wall Street Journal bestseller. She’s written another book that’s sold even better than the first one.
She’s written a yoga book that was in the top 10 for yoga on Amazon for over two years.
She’s produced 1000-person events. She’s consulted for major advertising agencies on how to have ideas to face the rising Hispanic demographic in the US.
She’s shot, produced, and edited documentary-size videos. She does two podcasts. She gives a yoga class on Periscope.
She handles all of my business activities when I am too busy to deal with them.
She’s helped with my two children. They love her (I think) even though she REFUSES to go to any of their plays.
Somehow she knows what I’m good at and what I’m not so good at and she instinctively fills in the gaps.
This has made my life 1000% better. I hope I do the same for her. I think I do. But I’m mostly self-delusional.
I can go on complimenting her. But that’s not the point.
I don’t know what a strong woman is. I have no clue. I don’t even know what a strong man is. Or what “strong” is.
It’s hard not to be buried in a coffin at age 25, even though we might live another 50 years after we are buried.
Maybe what makes a person strong is 1% improvement a day, no matter what else is happening in your life. 1% a day compounded means 3800% a year.
Amazing things happen when you change so much every year. And time literally slows down.
We were talking yesterday about things that happened a year ago (“The Power of NO” hit the WSJ bestseller list less than a year ago). So many things happened since then it seems like five years ago.
When lots of things happen in your life, time slows down.
It’s as if you live a longer life. You live a longer life but you feel younger.
Two years ago I used to give my 13 year old a 9-0 advantage at Ping Pong and then I would beat her 11-9 and gloat about it. It would drive her crazy. She was 11 and would start to cry.
Now she beats me at Ping Pong even though she starts with no advantage. Now I cry.
I’m beginning to suspect I have many strong women in my life. I have no idea what that means. But they are the strong tide and I rise with them.