How to be a Girlboss with Endometriosis
So I'm reading a lot of books at the moment. I've recently been wading through ones that are creative, entrepreneurial, inspirational and feminist, so naturally, I came across #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso. You need to go and read it for yourself really, but to give you a short cut, Sophia is the founder of Nasty Gal and is also author of #Girlboss and Nasty Galaxy, as well as host of #Girlboss radio, which I've talked about previously. Sophia has had a very unconventional route to success and her story is to me, inspirational, though she has had some criticism for it.
Sophia has come under scrutiny recently and made the headlines after Nasty Gal hit financial trouble, but that doesn't take away all that she's achieved so far and how much of an inspiration she can be to other women. It doesn't matter if you want to be a multi-millionaire with a game changing fashion business under your belt, I think there are lessons we can learn from someone who hasn't necessarily had all the easy routes in life.
Though I am a woman with endometriosis, I am also a woman who wants to have a happy and successful life. So below are three lessons I have learnt from the book that I hope when applied to the lives of endosisters, can help us Girlboss endometriosis.
How to be a Girlboss
1. The Power of Magical Thinking
"There's also the everyday kind of magic that we make for ourselves. And that's really not magic at all. It's just recognizing the fact that we control our thoughts and our thoughts control our lives."
I know how hard it is to control your thoughts and make your own magic when you're clouded with endo brain fog, depression and pain. Admittedly, Sophia doesn't talk about battling these things in her book and if you are suffering from depression, then obviously the correct medical treatment is required. But I do feel like I'm on the other side of depression and a huge part of getting through that was willing myself to find the positives, even through gritted teeth.
Please don't get me wrong - sometimes and in fact, often, I was crap at this. I'd write out positive affirmations, not believe them and sob afterwards because it all just felt so fucking hard. But like Sophia says in this chapter "You get back what you put out, so you might as well think positively, focus on visualizing what you want instead of getting distracted by what you don't want.." Because on a good day I got it, on a good day I saw a bigger vision and I saw opportunity and a happier life was possible if I kept creating it - actually, the more I wrote, the more I visualised, the more answers I saw. I'm not going to get into the whole universe/energy/law of attraction belief system right now because it's not the time, but I will say that writing these gave my brain room and the ability to ponder opportunities and see the light in corners where when I sat numbly staring into space, all I saw was darkness.
2. The Straight and Narrow Is Not The Only Path to Success
For me, this has always rung true. Endometriosis threw me down a path that I wasn't used to, I have always struggled physically, but I didn't think that was because I was ill, I thought it was because I was weak and not trying hard enough. Being diagnosed with endometriosis was a relief, but it was to a degree, a bit of a death sentence (at least, that's what I thought) - the successful life I had envisioned carving for myself seemed to have been cut off midway. I could get by without a degree (long story), I could come up with new ideas for businesses (another long story) or reinvent my career over and over, but I couldn't see how I would be a success when I was barely making it into work each day. But over time and admittedly, with some pain and some tough decisions, I have moved my cheese - I moved the focus of my success. I am learning to shape my life differently so I can work to my fullest potential on my good days and continue carving the life I want.
I genuinely know some people who just sail through life - that quite honestly feels a million miles away from the life I've known and have. But Sophia Amoruso also doesn't identify with those lives and it was her stint with shoplifting that gave her a real wake up call and pushed her down a new path. She has gone on to be one of the Richest Self-Made Women in America, and whilst that's not a measure of someone's success, it does say something about her path. Sophia has had an unusual and pretty intense route to success and it's inspiring, comforting and motivating to know that there are people out there who have taken the road less traveled to get where they want to be and that us endosisters can do it too.
3. Money Looks Better in the Bank Than on Your Feet
I saw it as a materialistic pursuit for materialistic people, but what I have realized over time is that in many ways, money spells freedom. If you learn to control your finances, you won't find yourself stuck in jobs, places, or relationships that you hate just because you can't afford to go elsewhere.
When I was at my worst with endometriosis, my job at the time let me work one day a week from home and start later in the mornings, which was really lovely of them. But despite their support, I spent a lot of those mornings staring out of the window with watery eyes, desperately longing for freedom and just wishing that I could have a couple of months off. I knew I wanted to leave that job, it was a great job, but I had moved on in my mind and I worked in challenging situations which weren't doing my mental health any favours. If I had savings, I would have taken a month or two off and then started job hunting.
I had a fair bit of compensation money when I was 20 and I pumped it into my business and freelance work, but I didn't keep control of it and I ended up with 0 in the bank. I had an exciting business, but it wasn't making enough money for me to get any tax back or feel any financial reward from the money I put in. Though starting that business and also working freelance taught me endless lessons and has formed my identify, fucking hell do I wish I left some money in savings!
Even to this day I'm still learning how to manage my money better and Sophia's chapter on this was enlightening and motivating. And she's right - good finances do bring a sense of freedom and you could argue, more importantly, less financial stress. Once I took a different job and reduced my days to three days a week, things got really hard financially and my stress levels shot up - some savings to pad my months out would have been really appreciated at those times.
So though I know it's hard to save (I'm still part time, so believe me I know the struggle!) it's not impossible to be in control of your finances and learn better ways to manage your money, potentially save and reduce your overall stress. Please don't get me wrong with this - I'm not beating you with the guilty stick, I know and feel the guilt that can come with spending money or not feeling in control, I'm just trying to convey how much it would have helped me if I had been. This is probably one of my biggest challenges to get on top of, not because I spend lots on clothes (I don't), but because it's even harder to manage your money when you don't work full time due to chronic fatigue. It isn't about having enough to buy a house, it's just about having some peace of mind that you have an important part of your life in order, so when endo is doing its worst, you don't have to worry about that as well.
So there they are girls. These thoughts are maybe a little bit different from what you're used to me writing, but we are more than our disease and I'm sure there's many of us who want financial control, a happier life and success (whatever that may be). Endo affects so many areas of our worlds, that these things can often be hampered, so I thought a little on all three could be useful.
Let me know if you've read #Girlboss and what you thought... Did you pick up any lessons that I missed? Let me know! x