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Newsletter editor Lily here.
Well, I know the last time we chatted about this particular topic, I said there was a chance that I was moving. It’s official: I am. I’m not going far — it’s literally a 10-minute walk — but I’m already dreading all the packing and moving and unpacking.
That said, the place I’m going to next is incredibly cool. Friend of the newsletter (and my roommate) Kaitlyn and I swung by the new apartment to take measurements yesterday, and it was even more amazing than the first time we saw it. Granted, we’re nervous. There’s still construction to be done in a few spots, and after our experience with our current place (some longtime subscribers will recall that our appliances weren’t even unboxed and we didn’t have heat in the dead of winter), I’m a little apprehensive about what we’re going to find when we actually show up with all of our belongings in tow.
If to-do lists and resolutions are a form of self-harm, skip this post! (heyyyyy, Amanda M…)
If they help you stay on track, moored, and accountable and allow you to be your best aspirational self (heyyyy, Adimika!), keep reading.
I mentioned yesterday that some of my positive pandemic habits have gone off the rails in the last few weeks. Pandemic fatigue? Crushing it fatigue? Too much work? Yes and yes and yes.
But while it was nice to lean into self-kindness for a few weeks (No, you don’t have to do that run! Take a nap! Let’s go a few days without a to-do list!), this is not how I live and it is not serving me.
I feel like my news readers are drowning in reflective stories of the last year of pandemic living.
Has this been something we haven’t been reflecting on? I feel like so much of my life, therapy, conversations, and certainly a lot of our Chairman Mom Zooms have been about this topic. Is anyone really just now looking around and thinking, “Huh! The entire female labor force got decimated and all the kids in America are behind on math! Interesting!”
For me the pandemic went in three waves.
We have two awesome free Chairman Mom events this week.
The first (tomorrow night!) is with Kim Alexis Newton, who is many things—a creator, an artist, an entrepreneur, and someone who broke free of corporate America when it wasn’t serving her.
She’s the creator of a movement called The Intentional Pause Project, which is all about the power in—ya guessed it—pausing for women to unlock and follow their dreams.
And speaking of dreamy, she’s also known for her exquisite fine art quilts; the first one ever completed was gifted to Oprah.
I sent this out to some of our courses audience earlier in the week, but I wanted to share it with newsletter readers too. So here it goes!
Fridays at 10:30 am have become my favorite time of my week.
That’s our weekly office hours for New Media Masters, our first course that launched and has weekly office hours. Each week, two people in the course volunteer to tell us about their PR/brand challenges, where they are getting stuck in the coursework or in life, and Lesley Gold and I—and the rest of the class—all help them sort out positioning, story, messaging, sound bites, crisis, whatever else they are struggling with.
Newsletter editor Lily here.
So admittedly, I had a whole other little intro planned for today—and then Vanity Fair’s Armie Hammer story dropped about 30 minutes before I was going to finalize today’s email.
I’d heard rumblings in the past couple of days that a major media outlet was going to publish something on Hammer’s saga, and I’d also heard it wouldn’t be as salacious in the way everyone was hoping it would be. For those who maybe haven’t followed the story, actor Armie Hammer has been in hot water for months after several women accused him of abuse and sexual assault, much of which was centered on text messages and other comments where he alluded to cannibalism. This was also in the middle of his impending divorce; that has its own whole story to it, as does any couple’s conscious uncoupling. Feel free to read up on everything if you’re looking for some Thursday afternoon fodder.
But what’s interesting about the VF story is that it isn’t necessarily a sordid tale of solely Armie Hammer’s recent actions; it’s all about four other generations of f***ed up men in his family who came before him, all equally terrible and definitely learning a thing or two from each other. It’s about so many other things too: The sh*tty behavior that men get away with, the crap that rich people also get away it, generational trauma, family estrangement, and a ton of other things. There’s a lot more in there than I was expecting—and it’s just some great culture writing overall.
Even if you’re only now familiarizing yourself with the Armie Hammer saga, it’s a trip to read about and one that’s sure to dredge up some old wounds.
What a Thursday.
As I’m writing this, the Meghan Markle backlash is in full swing. With Brexit done and Trump de-platformed, this story is primed for the 24-hour cable news cycle that needs something that feels insatiable.
But there’s one part to all of this that I think is important to flag: The idea that it’s somehow unseemly that Meghan and Harry want to make money and tell their side of the story. Even sympathetic media outlets keep entertaining this knock, asking questions like, “Critics say that if they really wanted to leave the public eye, why are they doing a glitzy interview with Oprah?”
Did you miss us last week? It was, maybe, the third week in the last year we didn’t host any free Chairman Mom Zooms!
Some of you clearly did, because this week we have a load of you RSVP’d up for two awesome events.
This Wednesday, Vanessa Kellam and (Chairman Mom fave) Dr. Sophia Yen are leading a course on how to talk to your kids about pornography. YIKES.
My initial thought was, wow, I am happy that one isn’t quite pressing for me yet…or is it? My kids spend time on computers and as many protections as I’ve put on there, they could easily stumble on something I need to find a way to explain in a healthy, body-positive, non-emotionally damaging way. By age 18, roughly 90% of boys and 60% of girls have been exposed to pornography, and it’s having an impact on them.
A few months ago, Karen Fleshman led a Zoom event for us about interracial sisterhood. She pointed out that even when we want to revere and follow Black women, we struggle to know how without fetishizing or tokenizing them.
“We don’t know how to follow when Black women lead,” she said. It’s made me pause in my hero worship for the Kamala Harrises and the Stacey Abramses and the Lizzos of the world.
That’s relevant today because of the extraordinary Oprah interview of Harry and Meghan.
Today’s intro comes from Tricia Steele, a mountainschooler, writer, and recovering entrepreneur.
During a recent Sisterhood program cohort call, Adimika suggested that often the way we think of ourselves affects the ways we relate to other women. She suggested that we attempt to rewrite our story of ourselves as if we were white men. She meant that we look at ourselves as if we had the privilege to behave more boldly and confidently in the world.
I had an epiphany: I knew exactly what she meant, because I had often been drafted to do exactly that—write the stories of white males so that they could advance in some way.