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Having It All.

August 22, 2012

Recently, there were articles published around how, and even if, women can “have it all.” Oh, namely this one, and this one.

Not surprisingly, some people had some things to say about those articles.


Also not surprisingly, I had things to say, too. About how it was, oh, just sorta-kinda-a-lil-bit mildly annoying to have the phrase “having it all” defined for me, a woman who is not planning on having kids, and perhaps not even getting married. Because, ya know, basically defining what my priorities should be in terms of social norms I don’t ascribe to and goals I don’t aspire to, kinda means I will never “have it all”. Legit.


Yeah, I know I kinda touched on this topic here, but I really want to write a more direct response. But… Wait, what? You say those articles came out how many months ago?? Whaddaya mean the internet already moved on?


And, you’re right, I’ve been kind of MIA. I haven’t been responding to comments like I usually do… I didn’t even post at all last week. You did notice… didn’t you?

Soooo… I’m a little behind. To say the very least.

The thing of it is this: If I could define “having it all” for myself? Here’s a brief overview of what “it all” means to me (in no particular order, really):

  1. My dissertation: Would get done. This year. I am in crunch time on analysis, and I have my work cut out for me in interpretation and writing that shit up.
  2. My friends: I’d continue to have the time for them, all of them, that I do now.
  3. My family: I’d be sorting out my shit with this. I’m in therapy, I’m working on it, but it doesn’t happen on its own, in a vacuum. Like everything else in life, it requires work. And work requires time. I’d have that time to do that work
  4. Canada: We’ve officially moved from No Expectations to Emotionally Involved. Neither of us likes labels, but we’re into seeing each other more than once a week, and doing more than just having a lot of sex. But we’d still be doing that too, obvi.
  5. Me: Would get more attention. More alone time. In addition to being on my yoga mat every morning at 6am, and commuting on my bike, I’d actually have nights, and maybe even a weekend day, to myself. Right now, I miss this.
  6. My greater responsibilities: I sit on the Graduate Student Senate, the Women’s Commission, Graduate Council, and the Commission for Inclusive Excellence. I’m actively engaged in all, as well as our grad student LGBTQ+ organization. I am involved because I like to be. Because I need to be. Because there are things beyond my personal work and my personal life that I care deeply about.
  7. The future: Collaborations I’ve spent years fostering would be flourishing, I’d be scheduling various visits to present my work, and I’d be actively setting myself up for postdoctoral research. And…
  8. I’d be able to blog.

Not just posting once a week, but engaged in blogging. See, I started Women Are From Mars simply because dating was weird, people were weird, and I was tired of pretending like women didn’t like sex. I wondered if anyone else felt that way, had similar experiences. So. One day, even though I was fully aware there were 10,000,000 (probably not an exaggeration) other blogs on dating, I thought what the hell, and I just started writing.


Of course people had similar experience. Le duh women like sex. But I would never, ever, have imagined the community I stumbled into, going on 2.5 years ago. I would never, ever have envisioned the support and the love I received. I would never, ever have dreamed how much I would grow, how much I would learn, how much I would think and discuss and consider and contemplate and argue.

To me, blogging has become so much more than writing a post on the regular. It’s become far more than acquiring comments or RTs. It’s the incredible content and the unbelievable people out there – not only writing, but reading and thinking and discussing and considering and contemplating and arguing.


I can’t just write a post once a week. That wouldn’t be enough – and not just because the internet moves fast, and literally leaves behind those that don’t engage social media. Blogging is reading, and commenting, and listening, and thinking, and learning. This is what blogging has become for me – it’s no longer about putting my shit out there and checking readership stats. This is why blogging is important to me.

On the one hand – I can’t imagine cutting myself off from all of that.

On the other… is time. That’s it. Time is finite. And other things don’t just ask to be more important, they are more important. They have to be.

I’m not sure what this means. I’m not sure what I am going to do about this yet… other than just… admit it.


But… If someone had actually asked me, this is what I would say is my “having it all.” And, even though my “it all” isn’t the same as those in the articles that came out earlier this year, I still echo the sentiment: I may want to have my own “it all”…


… I’m just not sure I can.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. August 22, 2012 9:12 am

    I think having “it all” is overrated, as it means different things to different people. For me, it’s letting go of attachment to other people’s expectations of what that is and doing things that make me feel the best. I get caught up in the blogging hype as well–how can you not with all the social media pressure?–but I remember it’s about the connections. If I “lose” out by not trying to keep up, what am I really losing? Those that matter will stick around–with me and with you.

    • August 23, 2012 8:45 am

      I agree with you – on all points. “It all” is personal, and we do best to remember that.

      As for blogging… What I mean is a big part of what *I* enjoy about blogging is reading other people’s post, commenting, engaging in discussion via social media, and responding to comments on my own posts. If I am to keep blogging, I *want* to do all those things too… but it’s just… time consuming.

  2. August 22, 2012 9:14 am

    Of course no one person can have it ALL. The trick is to make what you have the best it can be.

    • September 12, 2012 9:27 am

      True… and you have to prioritize what is in your life, first. Sometimes that part sucks, but can’t be avoided.

  3. August 22, 2012 10:02 am

    Now I’m afraid you’re going to stop blogging. Don’t! Seriously though, you have more going on that anyone I know. Definitely take care of yourself.

    • August 23, 2012 8:46 am

      Thanks, love! I’m trying to figure out how to manage it all… but part of that is knowing when to draw the line, no matter how difficult. I’m not sure where blogging will fall in that… I know where I want it to fall, I just have to determine how to make it all work.

  4. ruthless permalink
    August 22, 2012 4:44 pm

    heh, not only is “having it all” a myth for anybody regardless of gender, the idea that men don’t walk around feeling like they are “missing something” isn’t evan a patriarchal norm, its just a lie. In reality, life is just short, and the grass is always greener. Frankly the problem isn’t that “women can’t have it all” its that people put pressure on women TO have it all.

    For example, your counting “having lots of sex” with an SO as “not quite having it all” because that relationship is still in flux. I on the other hand have had sex a total of maybe 5 times total, never had an SO of any kind, and im pushin 30.

    And due to my career and the way my hobbies and lifestyle are pretty much wrapped around it, its HIGHLY unlikely that ill be able to change that any time…. well ever😉

    • August 23, 2012 8:52 am

      YEP you are correct – and hit on exactly what I wanted to say regarding those annoying “having it all” articles. One – each of us needs to determine what we want in our lives FOR OURSELVES and not when measured against some ridic constructed and unrealistic standard. But also two – what about the menz?? What, they don’t get to think about family, or what they would change in their own lives? Or are we just ASSUMING they “have it all” and enjoy the pressure to be bread winners? It’s pressure on women to have *this* definition of it all – as well as pressure on men to not question the hetereonormative/gender roles that keep them from even considering something else.

      As for your life – sounds like you have a lot going on. Whether we want to talk about it or not, society deems *all* of us should be craving relationships of some kind – women the heading-to-the-alter kind, men the as-much-sex-as-possible-without-the-alter kind – and when we don’t conform to those “standards”? Well good for us and suck it, societal narratives. Do you.

      • lrn2giveup permalink
        August 23, 2012 4:03 pm

        … well since you asked, here comes the wall of text😉

        My life really isn’t all that complicated. I have a carrier that I love and worked very hard for many years to attain; that also requires I comment very little on the specifics of my work, and spend 2 – 3 months at a time traveling the US and internationally, else I work from home. Almost my entire social circle exists within my carrier field and 2 other hobbies, both of which are largely solo activities with infrequent social gatherings. This means my policy of “don’t sleep with chicks in the scene” vastly narrows my pool of potentials.

        That said, I’m not totally devoid of a social life. I have several favorite bars both locally and in the many areas of the world that I frequent, as well as occasionally host and attend private parties, but between the “women get hit on constantly and hate it, don’t be that guy” messages I received as a child, the Schrodinger’s rapist dichotomy, and a severe distaste for “ah hah! got one! now to the part of the gender script where I make you work for it and punish you if you fail!” perspective shard by the majority of non gender egalitarian women, I resolved when I was very young to only interact with women who approach me first (the number of women who do which is obviously quite miniscule indeed).

        But according to the masses, being a single dude with no kids, an able body, and a 6 figure paycheck, “I have it all”. And according to the majority of the feminist community, I can’t complain about how being targeted by fearful women with violence and ridicule is a regularly serious concern to me because society puts no limits on what is considered “an appropriate response to fear” for women as it does men, and my gender isn’t “winning” the oppression Olympics so the problem “isn’t as important to fix”

        Which isn’t to say patriarchy doesn’t exist, but I am suggesting that the feminist community is hurting a whole lot of people as of the last 10 years by putting out solutions with some very nasty side effects.

        Treating pain with Advil may be less effective but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to use heroin as a substitute.

  5. August 24, 2012 7:03 pm

    I hope this isn’t a good bye. I feel the “all” we’re talking about here is different for each of us. We only get or search for what we need no more no less. Working on those things we need and want out of life is what makes it worth it🙂

    Cheers lady and take good care😉

    • August 28, 2012 10:13 am

      Not goodbye yet… just trying to figure it all out.

      But – yeah. “It all” is personal, and should be something different for all of us.

  6. August 27, 2012 1:51 pm

    To use a cliche I don’t like: You’ve got a lot on your plate, love.
    I know you will keep writing, I just hope it is in such a way that we can keep reading your writing.

    • August 28, 2012 10:16 am

      And I want to keep reading YOUR writing too! If it were just me blabbing on once a week, that I could do. It’s everything else that I have come to really cherish about being a part of the blogging community that is hard to balance…

  7. August 31, 2012 8:53 pm

    Oh, Nikki, I so get it. Even now I’m sitting here thinking of what to write because your post elicited many thoughts and emotions of my own and I want to write something meaningful but it will take a few minutes for me to sort out my thoughts and then I’m like but shit I have to GO! I got so much shit to do! But I want to write a meaningful comment! Crap!

    So yes, I get that whole blogging takes time deal. I’ve been grappling with that for a while myself. I can’t have it all… and I don’t even have a kid. I don’t know how women with kids do ANYTHING, frankly. (This is in no way saying having kids is definitively part of “it all” – although, of course, for some women it is.) Which is another great point you make – “it all” is defined by the media as a fulfilling career, happy relationship and children. Bah-hahaha! Just writing it makes me laugh. But I guess it gets the eyeballs. And eyeballs are money.

    I have to thank you for always taking the time to write such thoughtful pieces. Always one of my faves. xox

    • September 12, 2012 9:30 am

      Thank you! Glad this one hit a chord with others, so I’m not just blabbing off on a tangent…

      But, yeah, in pop culture and the media – it is about money and attention. However, it’s also the underlying culture that upholds those things so we give them money and attention and motivates pop culture and the media. Which in turn upholds and reinforces that culture. And so on.

      Vicious cycles. Blarg.

  8. September 3, 2012 4:22 pm

    I totally know where you’re coming from. Sometimes something has to give, even if it’s just for a little time. I hope you can continue blogging because I do love your posts but I understand if it has to take a back-seat for a while. Let’s face it… I am experiencing the exact same thing… hence a very sporadic blogging from my end as well.

    Having it all is something we cannot achieve. Because when we think we do have it all, something else will always come up that we want to add. The main thing is to be able to do what you like, need and must do and be able to look back and say; I would not change it for the world.

    Big hugs and I hope you’ll find your equilibrium!

    • September 12, 2012 9:32 am

      I’ve noticed that you’ve been a bit more sporadic, too – assumed it was all the busy in your world as well! Hope things are ok… we need to catch up!

      And, yeah, the key is figuring out our priorities… taking the time to do that. It’s tough. Sigh. Still working on the equilibrium here, hope yours is coming along!

  9. September 3, 2012 5:15 pm

    “Having it all” is definitely something you should be defining for yourself, and I think it’s something that should be fluid. I don’t think you should ever get to the finish line until you die. If you stop having something to aspire to, you stop having something to live for.

    If I were to stop and think about all the things I would want in my life to count as “having it all”, the first things that come to mind are the things I had to let go this summer to survive the chaos my life was becoming. The funny thing is, things at work are getting worse and I find myself reaching for the things I let go because the whole job satisfaction thing is getting a bit beyond my control. I’m no more likely to define myself as “having it all” now as I was several months ago, but if I were to make a check list that checklist would be different.

    (and one of the things I’m coming back to now that work is causing my insomnia to spiral out of control again, is blogging. I like the way the community aspect of blogging opens me up to new thoughts and experiences and introduces me to new ideas and people. There is a lot of good in my life I can trace back to a direct result of being involved in blogging.)

    I turned 30 this year, and what I want in my life has shifted from what I wanted in my life when I first moved out to Newfoundland… and as I meet new people and try new things, I am discovering that there are things I never realized were important to me. An example would be my friends – I am still a party girl, but I have come to realize that if someone is important to me, I need one on one time with them. So I party less so I’m more available for low key events with smaller groups. Yay, balance!

    (that last exclamation was from my liver.)

    • September 12, 2012 9:36 am

      Oh – balance! Such a tricky thing!

      I agree with you so much on your point about blogging – about the community of it and the positive things it brings to your life, the things I certainly never expected. I’m glad you’re coming back to it, and it’s helping with some of the things that are tough and beyond your control. Sounds like things are more than a lil cray-cray, and I hope they’re looking up in terms of work…:-/

      As for the other stuff – also agree that our priorities change in time. No doubt about it. As you mentioned, however, the key is recognizing that they’re going to change, allowing for that, and always trying new things. Even when we are in that balance, or think we are, testing the equilibrium with new stuff, seeing if it still works or if there is a new place we need to get to.

      Hang in there!😀

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