Is smart the new pretty?

smart is the new pretty

Every day I ask my daughter some version of “what happened at school today”. This week? Sweet creamery butter, it was about math class. My nerdy heart soared. There were kids moving between advanced and regular math classes and it was A. Big. Deal. After watching inane snapchats by the thousands, it’s easy to discount the general level of intelligence and engagement of our children, but then there are rays of hope.

If smart and strong are the new pretty we need to celebrate science fairs more than selfies, math competitions more than insta followers, grit over giving in, problem-solving over popularity, and grades over make-up tutorials. This isn’t a competition pitting kids against each other, it’s more about shutting down the constant overt and covert messages about beauty being the ultimate prize.

I’m teaching a group of college women about group therapy practices. Each week the students lead a different part of the class and I listen as they share about the things they manage: volunteering, working, studying, caring for others, roommate issues, dating, finances, and the list goes on. This is an outstanding group of individuals yet none of them feel good enough. “I look at what my friend’s post and think “What the hell? Really? My life sucks. I feel like a freaking beast in my tower sitting in my sweatpants.”

If smart is the new pretty, let’s celebrate thinking. Let’s compliment the way a girl figured out a difficult problem, not the way her jeans looked. Let’s not give a fig newton about sitting at home wearing sweatpants while you’re studying. Tell all of the young adults in your life the truth, no one has the utterly fabulous life they portray. No one.

The world will continue to tell girls (and boys) a million ways they don’t measure up, don’t add to the chorus. In my experience, people don’t need to know what they aren’t good at, they could tell you 10 things in 10 seconds. Your job, all of our jobs, is to make them believe they are smart. All of them. At something. Dig deep, people. These kids need you to say something beyond their hair, their face, their clothes. Give them something that will last.

Keep sharing moxie.



Am I the last person to know about the “meetaversary”? My daughter was baking a cake this week and I asked what the occasion was, “It’s our meetaversary tomorrow, we’ve been friends for ** years.” My first reaction was promposals, now this? Come on. But then, my grinchy heart stopped, and thought about my own friends, and grew bigger.

My friend from elementary school that made it through bluebirds, divorce, and moves with me. Happy 35th meetaversary, Granny.

My next door neighbor that lived through middle school, loss, boys and break-ups. Happy 31st meetaversary, neighbor.

My college roommates that walked me down the garden path in ways that you can truly only get away with in college. Happy 22nd meetaversary, roomies.

The ones that have saved my sanity through my first real job, marriage, kids, and the shitsortment of life for the past 20 years. Here’s to 20 more, softball gang.

I think we spend a great deal of time trying to immortalize ourselves on social media, taking pictures of this vacation, and that amazing meal, but if you really want to see who you are? Look to your friends. They have the goods on you from every stage of your life, right? They knew you before you were whoever you present to the world now. Any friend that has stood witness as you dramatically flushed some boy’s picture down the toilet with gusto and then offered to bike to get you ice cream is the real deal. Same for the friend that showed up for the funeral, that showed up, and showed up, and showed up.

We celebrate love with anniversaries, with engagements, with weddings, and a huge amount of pomp and circumstance. The truth is, my friends have saved me, all through my life. My husband didn’t. It’s because OF my friends that I didn’t need to be “saved” but rather to just have fun and see where it went. I can’t thank all of them enough. If you stop and think about it, I bet you can’t either. Meetaversary? It’s not such a silly thing. When I think about what I truly want for my daughter? It’s to have friendships that she wants to celebrate. That is no small thing. It’s everything.

Keep sharing moxie.