As the planned timeline of the Women Who Wow Us blog series started nearing its completion, I started to dread the end. Like you do with things that are exciting. And good for you. And important.
But I also started to think about patterns that had established themselves throughout the series. And I decided that, at the end, I would write a final (short) summer sum up post.
This post comes with good news, by the way. It’s at the end. I’m bringing it up now so that you know there’s more than just my food for thought here for you, but you can scroll to the end if all you want is the news. I won’t know.
The bottom line is this: The patterns I noticed can be summed up in three basic categories.
- We Are Surrounded.
So many of the women I talked to had stories about other strong women who gave them chances, who lifted them up, who recommended them for things, who taught them things, who introduced them to people, who opened a door in a way that helped make it possible for them to enter this world that we work in and love. I’m writing this blog post right now because Georgia Stitt uses her voice and influence to shine a light on other women in the industry, and she let me in when I said I wanted to be a part of that. And it’s not just about women, or just about Maestra. There are good people in our industry, all around us, who in a heartbeat would join us–even support and help us–if we wanted to do something great. It’s so easy to feel alone, both as an artist trying to get your name out there and as a human being looking at all the ugliness happening in the world around you. It can feel like you’re the only one who cares, or like you’ll never get that leg up, or you’ll never get that way in. But what these interviews have shown me, and what Maestra itself has shown me, is that that’s not true. There’s a whole directory of people you can reach out to.
- We Are Competent.
I want to be Emily Grishman. I want to not even flinch when I say that I’m good at what I do and that, if you want someone who can give you basically flawless work every time, come to me. But, like several of our interviewees and so many women in our field, I have a little piano lid in my brain that slams down on my fingers when I get too confident. And I noticed in a lot of these interviews just how many times that piano lid slammed down. And I started getting frustrated, because these incredible women were literally just saying true, impressive things that they did. They deserved to say it. Our skills are not to be denied. The level of talent that exists in Maestra that is currently unrecognized by this industry at large blows my mind. It’s staggering. Seriously, I challenge you to go to the Maestra directory and check out the websites of at least 3 composers you don’t know. So many Maestra members are mega masters of musical marvelousness. Also, as far as being capable, there’s kind of no limit to what we can do if we tap into that power and if we come together. The changes that we can make quickly–the changes that we already have made quickly–can be, and have been, huge.
- We Are Wow-Worthy.
Almost everyone I interviewed said something along the lines of “I’m surprised you asked me. There are so many people more wow-worthy than me.” And these are all people that Georgia and I chose, for this series called “Women Who Wow Us,” because we were wowed by them. I don’t know what it is about our society that makes women feel like they’re not wow-worthy, but so many women feel that way. And so many women of Maestra are doing wow-worthy things. We should feel “wow.” Why do a lot of us feel like we’re not enough? There’s a quote that I don’t really like. I want to like it, because I like the intent behind it, but something about it doesn’t sit quite right. It goes like this: “You are enough. You are so enough. It is unbelievable how enough you are.” Sierra Boggess said it, and a lot of my theater friends like to scream it at each other, and it’s really sweet, but…why are we stopping at “enough?” There are so many people who are scrambling to get to “enough,” and they don’t even realize that other people are looking at them and seeing “wow.” Meanwhile, there are certainly a lot of white dudes out there (no offense, white dudes), who have absolutely no problem getting to supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, you know what I mean? If you were to ask yourself right now to come up with three things that you have done or that you can do that are incredible, I’ll bet you can. Now, if you had to go tell those three things to someone else…you might not want to, or you might start to tone it down by talking about all the other people who helped you or downplay it by talking about all the reasons that it isn’t as great as it might sound. Why do we do that? Why do we undercut ourselves?
We are wow-worthy, and we are competent, and we are surrounded. And if we bring these things together, nothing can stop us.
And now for the good news: We’re extending the series! Women Who Wow Us will be back to wow you again starting the week of September 23rd!
In the meantime, you can catch up on our Women Who Wow Us series so far and check out the interviews with Nancy Ford, Anessa Marie, Elise Frawley, Erin McKeown, Meg Zervoulis, Masi Asare, Britt Bonney, Jennifer Isaacson, and Emily Grishman.