Recently Read: The Woman I Wanted to Be

The Woman I Wanted to beHappy Holidays to you!

Time is more than scarce right now, but I wanted to make sure that I wrote about this book before Christmas. It would be a great gift for someone if you are still shopping.

The Woman I Wanted to Be, by Diane von Furstenberg, is truly inspiring and has changed the way that I start and end each day. What an amazing woman!

Even if you don’t buy this book, read it. Borrow it from the library. Read it in the store. But read it. Especially if you are trying to start something new and find your own way. If you are seeking inspiration and confidence, you will find it in the pages she has written.

Her philosophy has been that she wanted to live the life of a man, but in a woman’s body. She wanted the career, money, and freedom that used to only be in the reach of men, but she wanted to be able to do that as a woman. And she has!

Because of this book, each day I ask myself the question, “Am I closer to being the woman that I want to be?” If not, I try to make little changes to get closer the next day. If yes, well, then I smile!

Most of us know of von Furstenberg as the creator of the wrap dress. She has had a life full of glamour and leads a very jet set existence. But in the book, she still comes through as being very down to earth. She was part of the Studio 54 scene and knew all the stars. But it’s not like she is being fake and making things up. This was her life!

Her mother was a Holocaust survivor and her story provided core values and great determination that were passed down to her daughter. Regardless of her deep strength, we learn about the ebb and flow of confidence in her life by how she wears her hair. Plus she tells an interesting story about a very young Bruce Springsteen.

My curly hair had become an asset. I felt confident and free. That confidence didn’t stay with me all the time. My hair became a barometer for my self-esteem, and in the early nineties I started to straighten my hair again. Those were not great years. I was yet again in search of myself and was a bit insecure. As I regained confidence, I let the curls come back. I learned how to master them, how to use them and let them be a part of the true me. I even started to welcome humidity because it adds so much volume to curly hair.

It might seem trivial to give that much importance to hair, but I know all women with curls will identify with this struggle. So will some curly-haired men, I recently discovered. During a vacation last year on the boat of a friend, entertainment mogul David Geffen, I was having a conversation about hair with the women on board when Bruce Springsteen the macho, superhero rock star chimed in. He, too, used to hate his Italian curls when he was fifteen and starting out, he confessed, and so did his teenage band mates, The Castiles. They all wished they could switch their Mediterranean curls for straight bangs like the Beatles. So, at night, they would go secretly to a beauty parlor for black women in Freehold, New Jersey to have their hair straightened!

I laughed out loud with that story! Especially as a Black woman and having gone though my own natural hair journey. The book is full of so many interesting stories and they all make their points. The introduction to her book sets the stage and summarizes what her life is about. I really like this quote from it as a nice takeaway.

As a girl, I did not know what I wanted to do but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be. I wanted to be my own person, independent and free. I knew that freedom could only be achieved if I took full responsibility for myself and my actions, if I were true to the truth, if I became my very best friend.

I liked this book a lot. And feel like I’m becoming a better person for having read it.

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Screenshot: Simon & Schuster

Live Your Dreams: Lupita Nyong’o Shares 7 Things You Must Do

Lupita Nyong'o on how to live your dreamsAbout a year ago, I learned that Lupita Nyong’o would be speaking at The Massachusetts Conference For Women.

The conference usually sells out and tickets go fast, so I bought my ticket right away. From seeing Lupita in 12 Years a Slave and winning the Oscar, to her many appearances on talk shows, wowing everyone with her stunning looks and spot-on fashion sense, she was a star outshining them all.

But it wasn’t just her looks and acting talent. Her poise and elegance never failed and she doled out many words of wisdom. After all, she’s a Yale School of Drama graduate.

The conference wasn’t until December. But time flies. And before I knew it, I was there. Lupita was down to earth, emotional and honest. She cried during her speech, because she is so grateful for her life and what she has dreamed up into reality.

She shared how to live your dreams with seven tips. This post should have gone up back in December, but things happened. So it’s a bit late. But I think this is an important post. One that I can look back on, because the time is always right to live your dreams.

Based on the notes that I took at the conference, this is what she recommends. I think it’s great advice and hope you do too!

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1.  Tell Yourself What You Love To Yourself.

Before you can have what you want, you have to admit to yourself what it is that you really want. Even though it may seem silly or impossible. She talked about how she always knew she wanted to be an actress, but it seemed ridiculous to say to herself that she wanted to “make pretend” for a living.

2.  Have 4 Stretcher Bearers.

You need at least four people who will help you and “carry you” when you can’t do it yourself. When you are feeling down and ready to give up, you need people who know how important your dream is and will help you to keep going.

3.  Remember Where You Come From.

Part of what she said was that in our lives, we have been inspired by certain things all along. Certain stories, books and people who resonated with us along the way. At the time, they may not have seemed particularly relevant to our lives, but there was some spark. Remember that part of who you are that was inspired.

4. Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Writing Goals Down.

One of the things that she wrote down was that she wanted to do films with meaning and spend a week in New Orleans. Soon after, she was filming 12 Years a Slave just outside New Orleans.

5.  Breathe. Meditate. Pray. Be Still Within Your Soul.

6.  Always Allow Failure To Be An Option.

7.  Step Forward. Repeat.


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Screenshot: Lupita Nyong’o on Instagram