Set, Volley, Spike—TRUTH!

A traditional women does not have to be Betty Draper doll-like standing in front of the oven perfectly coiffed and manicured to be considered a homemaker. Exhibit: Six foot three Amazonian athlete, Gabrielle Reece. Her new refreshing, honest and vulnerable “Guide to the less than perfect life,” titled My Foot is Too Big for the Glass Slipper details her ups and downs with husband, pro-surfer Laird Hamilton. Full of colloquialisms and swear words, it is clear her writing skills are not quite as matured as her volleys and sets.

Despite informal language, the message is powerful, and well elucidated with examples from her personal life. For any woman considering marriage or currently married, this is a MUST READ. If Lean In is for the corporate mom, this is the bible for the stay at home mom. In all sincerity, this is for anyone considering being a wife or mother in the future.

She openly reveals the peaks, troughs and valleys of marriage, careers and children. Too many women are concerned with unleashing the truth, afraid of judgements or fear of failure to conform to societies norms. Reality check women reading this, no one has figured it out, no one has a perfect life. Women should stop comparing their lives to others and remember the antiquated saying Gabrielle quotes, “comparison is the death of happiness” (76). Gabrielle so acurately sums it up, “I don’t know where this ‘having it all’ business started, but its fairy-tale bullshit (199).…Thank goodness someone with a great PR team and media attention said it! Life for women is a sequence, there are only so many hours in the day, women need to figure out their goals depending on the factors currently in their lives.

Life is not constant, its like the current of a river, calm, manic and sometimes somewhere in between. You are setting yourself up for failure to assume your foot will seamlessly fit in the glass slipper and your life will mirror a fairy tail or hollywood blockbuster. Accept life’s imperfections and embrace the days you feel you can’t live up to your expectations…I guarantee others are feeling exactly the same way at that same second!

I question the negative impacts of technology…Despite the access and convenience technology offers us I do think there are repercussions. While access is beneficial, it can also prevent our natural inclination to follow our gut because of constant exposure to others. So many women rely on the way others live their lives, especially those who are praised with the expert titles. Our society suffers from what I like to call the “over-analytic can’t make a decision” personality disorder. Gabrielle truly captures this idea when referring to motherhood, “never in the history of popping out babies has there been so much crazy-making, over-analysis of the entire experience, from the instant of conception to high school graduation and beyond” (19). Women refer to the ‘experts,’ rather than following what feels natural…Perhaps if we relied a little less on what the media spews out and more on what we feel is the correct path, we might all be one step closer to happiness. The “over-analysis” concept can be applied to other aspects of life besides child-rearing…from finding a career path to dating…of course there are helpful tips from those who are truly renowned for the achievements/advice….but its learning when to seek help and what advice to incorporate in your life. If you really need to be guided, therapy or general spiritual self-help books are a wonderful way to dig deep into your psyche.

Gabrielle discusses the often harsh realities of juggling a powerful career with a husband and a family…and even admits to curbing her own career to allow her family to thrive. She touches on a somewhat taboo phenomenon: women and the word submissive.  Bravely, Gabrielle confesses what other women might feel but due to fear of rejection, keep silent. Close your ears and eyes Sheryl Sandberg, “To be truly feminine means being soft, receptive, and—look, here it comes—submissive” (162). I would not equate the adjective submissive with my personality, but I do love a saying my mom often recites, “the man is the head, the woman is the neck, the neck does all the work even though the head takes the credit.” Gabrielle postulates its okay to behave in a submissive manner if its your choice. The moral of the story, do what you feel is the answer to having your happily ever after…if you want to take a traditional female role, do it….if you want to have an unconventional more stereotypically masculine role, do it!

I applaud Gabrielle for uncovering the truth about the hardships of raising a family and maintaining a healthy marriage. Too often people shy away from the truth, which just makes other women feel like utter failures!
Hollywood especially frequently fails to communicate what’s necessary to maintain a healthy and happy relationship. Marriages have ups and downs, in order to succeed both partners have to be committed to the goal—a long lasting overall happy marriage. While everyone tip toes around the reality of life, I loved Ben Affleck’s Oscar acceptance speech, when referring to his marriage with Jennifer Garner he said,
“It’s work, but it’s the best work there is, and there’s no one else I’d rather work with.”

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Clap, clap for Ben refraining from the typical sappy speech and giving Americans a little comfort in knowing they are not alone….but hunky Hollywood celebrity couples are on the same roller coaster.

Two lines to relish —”women suffer more, and because they do, they are more interesting” (21) and “Don’t invest in ‘things,’ but rather in relationships and experiences” (78).

Gabrielle captures the essence of a woman who uses her power, intellect and femininity to nurture her relationship despite often assuming the more submissive role. Ironically, she obviously hasn’t relinquished her career, because she is all over the map doing press releases for her new book!