My gregarious dreamer friend, Catherine Wemette from Washington, DC is incredibly personable; and guaranteed there will be no stranger in her midst. Catherine and I worked together at John Fluevog Shoes. and now we are chasing dreams together in the world of business! Catherine leads a successful facilitation and project management company called Good For The Soul. The fun part about our friendship is happenstance – our paths met for a reason and, now reunited, we co-lead a Change Management program. Catherine is vibrant! Funny! Straight shooter. A bright light. Catherine shares her thoughts on “Diversity”.
Diversity. We often think of it as things over which we don’t have a say – where we were born, what color we are, who we’re attracted to, what talents we have or what challenges we must overcome. We’re taught we must respect these types of diversity. And that’s true – we should. But it doesn’t stop there. So often, the diversity of choice is overlooked. We’re so busy living the lives we’ve created for ourselves to make us happy, we forget that there are other options. And what works for us doesn’t necessarily work for everyone else.
As a woman, I am disappointed by how much we forget about diversity within our own gender. It seems we expect our peers to make the same choices we do because we are joined in sisterhood by two x chromosomes. We do ourselves a tremendous disservice when we can’t see the beauty within our diverse life choices. I have chosen not to have children. There are many things that led me to that decision and there are many things it affects. But it makes me no less of a woman and no less of a good person. It is part of what makes me different than many women my age. I think it’s a strength for me and has allowed me to focus on other things that benefit me, my friends and family and my community. That said, it never ceases to amaze me how comfortable people are not respecting this diversity of choice and telling me I’ll change my mind. Or I won’t know real love. Or I’m missing out on what life is all about. I am different than what they expect from a woman in her mid-thirties, but this isn’t a sort of diversity we talk about, therefore, it’s not something we’re taught to respect.
I had a friend who just came back from a bachelorette party for her childhood friend. My friend is the maid of honor and planned everything for this group of women she didn’t know (with the exception of the bride). Since everyone else in the bridal party is a friend of the bride’s from college or work, they all live in the same place and know each other. My friend was made to feel like an outsider for the life she’s chosen. She’s single, lives in DC and loves her career. The rest of the women were married, focused on planning families and lived in the suburbs. None of these choices are wrong – they work for the women who have made those decisions. But my friend left feeling sad and judged because the diversity of decisions she’d made in her life were not respected.
We’re better than this, ladies. I know we are. The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of diversity is “the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.” Let’s have each other’s backs and understand that there absolutely is quality in different forms, types, ideas, etc. Think about all the possibilities etcetera can hold for us! We’ve come a long as a society, but as women, we’re still fighting for many things. Can we please agree not to fight each other on our different life choices? Simply put, let’s be cool to one another, shall we? Whether we have kids, hold powerful jobs, enjoy afternoon tea, care for our parents, backpack around the world, fall in love or binge-watch endless Netflix, let’s be cool to each other about our choices. Imagine the power in learning from each other’s diversity and what we could accomplish if we focused that energy somewhere else. Etcetera is limitless!