Young Women Leaders

Archive for the tag “friendship”

Partners in crime – what it means to your sanity

Last Sunday I finally got together with my friend A-Conk on Skype. It´s been way too long, you know the way it is when there´s an ocean and six hours of time difference in between. Anyhow, it makes me happy to know how quickly we pick up where we left off, and how much she energizes me in what she does and what we do together (never mind that ocean and time difference).


I got to know Al at the end of my junior year in college. We were both Political Science majors, but had never taken any classes together until then. Since we were both gone fall semester junior year (she in Washington D.C. and I in Santiago, Chile) we had to take this class called Methodology (or Methods as it is known) in the spring. So we had Methods together, and at the same time one of our honors classes on poverty alleviation with my mentor Welker. During this time we got to know more ABOUT each other but we didn´t hang out. But in the summer we were basically the only people around on campus, and Welker set us up to become friends. Why? Because we are meant to be together!

Look, I come from the cold and ice of Sweden and Al comes from the land of corn and dairy of Ohio, but there are so many things we have in common, such as our interest in politics, hard work, work outs, good food, family, fashion, and saving the world.

I´ve wanted to write this entry about Al all week long but I feel like I am not doing it well enough for how much she means to me. But today I went running and I thought “screw it, the most important thing is that I write it, not how well it is written.” Going running also reminded me how much it means to have a person like Al in my life. When we lived on blocks next to each other last year, we were so good at going to work out together all the time. We did this program called Insanity in Al´s living room or the racquetball court at the gym, we went for angry ranting walks to the country club and back, and we got out there so often together. As much as I need somebody to go working out with, I need a partner in crime in the work that I do. I need Al to bounce ideas with, I need her to listen to what I say and to point out things that I cannot see myself. I need her to dress up with me and go to a presentation and present the living hell out of our material (which we do very well by the way).

I need her to be silly with me and goof around. I need her to go buy beer and sit on a roof/in the honors house to write a thesis together. I need her to remind me that if a person doesn´t like all of me, then he/she is nothing worth spending energy on. I need her to come with me and sit in the waiting room at important meetings, just knowing that she is out there with me.

I need her to come out with me and scare the shit out of people because we make a great team together. I need her to talk about women that inspire us and make up teams such as “Team Rhinestone” in honor of the chair of the political science department. I need her to tell me about her job and life and realize that we are often in the same structures of lowest on the ladder in the workplace.

Having a person like Al in your life is something that I wish everybody had. Just as much as she helped me exercise my body, she helps exercise my mind. She has chops, as Welker would have said. She is a smart, funny, loving, good-looking great friend. With partners like her, you go great lengths in work and you develop yourself as a human being.

This reminds me of Al. This could also be a video we made together, I wouldn´t doubt it.


New circumstances, new ideas

When I was unemployed this summer, my uncle told me that I needed to “get out in the official world and get some ideas.” What he meant was that by sitting at home and writing one billion job applications would get me no new ideas. It would probably just bore me to death, which is usually what happens with this kind of stuff. Instead, just by going for a stroll in the city, I would run into people, see signs, watch events and challenge my brain to come up with new ideas and thoughts.

And this actually works. When you feel like everything is going to the shitters, which happens quite often for me, then moping around inside, feeling like you don´t want to bother anyone only helps to a certain degree. Getting out there, may it be for coffee with a friend or listening to an author talk about their new book possibly opens up new rooms in you.


I have recently begun getting involved with my local UN Women organization. It has made me realize more and more that there are other out there that want to work with women´s leadership, equality, and that it doesn´t have to be so hard to do. I go to a book circle every month where we talk about the CEDAW, the UN document for women´s equal rights. There may not be a lot of us there, but the insight and the energy I get from talking to there people has made me consider running for office in the organization.

And then there´s the random talks on Skype or chats that I have with my friends in other parts of the world. Just a few minutes ago, I chatted with my friend Hailzor, the person who saved me from dying the year I worked as a Resident Advisor (RA) my sophomore year on college. During the few minutes we chatted, I got so energized from hearing about her life in L.A., her job, living situation. She gave me two great sites for inspiration for this blog and she made me even more encouraged that we young women do have a place in thir world, and how we are capable and deserving of changing the world for the better. That´s a great friend (and may I add vegetarian too, now? She thinks of it all.)

So, all in all, when your thoughts are going down and your spirit with it: Get out there, join a book club, a study circle, call a friend, send a card. Put yourself in the position where you can see something new.


PS. You should def start following hailzor  on Twitter. She´s smart, funny and gorgeous! @hailzor is her name!

Lasting friendships makes strong support

In Sweden we celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December, so while everybody else is now busy with the stuff you do on the 25th I am hanging out in my pj´s, eating leftover smörgåsbord and watching the snow fall. Tonight is the eve of the returners in Sweden, those who have left their original city and moved elsewhere. We meet up in the bars and restaurants, catching up, hopefully running into some people we want to see and avoiding those we are happy to avoid.

I am meeting up with the person that has known me and been my friend for the longest time, Maria. We got to know each other during confirmation camp when we were 14 years old, and we have been with each other through thick and thin, crisis, moving, boyfriends, studies, family and basically everything else.

It is a very special type of friendship that forms when you have known a person for that long, in our case over then years (are we really that old???). I know her 14-year old persona and she knows mine, and we have known the people we have been and stopped being, and the person inside that never ceased to exist.

The thing with such relationships is that I don´t have to doubt that she really likes me, I mean she´s been with me for this long! 🙂 We have seen the good and the bad happen, and with this deep friendship there are many things that are easier to accept with each other I believe. I don´t get annoyed with her as easily because I know her and her background, the events that made her who she is and what she has done in her life. Rather, I appreciate all of that.

In times of trouble she has been there, and she´s never farther than a phone call away (even though we sometimes play phone tag for weeks) when I am feeling down or need support. She manages to make me think new thoughts just because she has another perspective and she knows me well enough to be able to give me concrete advice.

The deep and lasting friendships can handle that we don´t see each other for months at a time. But we have a core together, memories together, and the ambition to really make something in life that unites us.

If there is one thing a young woman in leadership needs, I think it is the friends, the sisters, the forgiving , accepting and inspiring people around us that supports us when we fall, inspire us when we are out of thoughts and hold us when life is too rough for us to handle.

And you know what? They look good too. This is us, summer of 2010.



What to do when the day just f-ing sucks

Dear friends,

I´m not sure who you are or what you do, but I am almost positive that you sometimes get the feeling that life is complete and absolute crap. I´m not sure where this feeling comes from all the time, I mean, sometimes it´s obvious that you will feel like shit if you screw up at work, you get dumped or if somebody just insults the living spirit out of yourself.

But my experience is that sometimes this feeling just comes from (appearingly) nowhere. It can hit me in the middle of a normal (but boring) workday where I just get the feeling that I want to go home and just cry my eyes out. It can be because I suddenly feel like there´s nothing worth living for just because I am single, working with something I am not always interested in, and living where I do not want to live.

Unfortunately my coping mechanisms with this kind of stuff are not the greatest. I usually give in to these feelings of hopelessness and mope around for the rest of the day until I can go home and sleep the feeling off.
BUT there are better ways to handle this and I think they should all be based on showing yourself what an awesome life you are actually living and how great you are.

Maybe a few of these tips will help:
– Work out (will make you feel healthy and strong afterwords)
– Cook something nutritious and tasty and share with somebody (will make you feel good on the inside and talking will do wonders)
– Call a friend and tell them you´re feeling shitty (because it´s better to get it out there and a true friend will support you in this and you can help him/her next time)
– Listen to some strong woman music like Beyoncé, Destiny´s Child, TLC, Loreen or artist of your choice (and yes, it´s not just for women these songs, I´m sure men will feel empowered as well. Sing with it!)
– Make something with your own hands and use your creativity (it may be music, art, jewellery, post-it-note Christmas trees, food, whatever floats your boat)
– Make a list of all the things your f-ing fab at and repeat to self (or call a friend and ask them to tell you. Do the same for them)

Finally, from me to you – You Look F-ing Good! Period.

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