Today in Female Empowerment: CLARITY

Clarity has been a long time coming for me. I’m not even sure it’s an end goal, but rather a journey. Either way, it takes time.


It also takes the right time. For example, I was visiting LA in August. Every day, I walked my cousin’s very energetic dog Maya for a solid 90 minutes so I decided to listen to a Jen Sincero “You Are a Badass” audiobook instead of my usual literary thriller.


I had read the book a couple of years ago when a dear friend had purchased it for me as a present. I really liked it then! Didn’t retain much, though.


I’m simplifying this a lot, but basically Sincero advises that in order to move forward in the way you’ve always wanted to with prosperity/money, weight loss, professional goals, relationships goals, etc., you need to be brave enough to make a huge, uncomfortable positive change(s) in your life.


Nothing earth-shattering, or anything we haven’t all heard in some form or another before. But for some reason, there in LA, in that distinctive early morning smoggy sunshine with a giant dog yanking me along, every word she spoke aloud resonated with me. The message was there, but more importantly, I was finally ready to receive it.


I finished the book and when I got back to my cousin's place, wrote in my journal: “I know that if I entirely stop drinking - indefinitely, not as some sort of “sober October” cleanse or something - my life will change in every way for the better and manifesting the life of my dreams and all my goals that are written right here on this page will accelerate at warp speed.”


Right then and there, without any angst or even much further thought, I made the decision to stop drinking.


This is coming from me - a formerly BIG drinker. Probably a big problem drinker. My identity has always revolved around drinking. Sure, I am super high functioning. But drinking, or the idea of going out (and thus, drinking), or a mild hangover, or a myriad of other corollary effects of drinking, has been a massive fucking roadblock in my life in the so many ways, even if no one else knows that but me. Navigating it all got truly exhausting.


My clickover to clarity was at its core a mindset shift: I simply embraced life as a non-drinker and, so far, haven't looked back.


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A lot of writers and thinkers these days write and think about habits and how important they are - breaking the bad ones and building the good ones. And I agree! I love my daily good habits that I’ve worked to build, like meditating and doing my french lessons. And I'm happy that I've broken bad habits like biting my nails and eating a midnight snack four nights a week.


But attaining clarity of the sort that first brought me to no longer drink AND that exists now that I no longer drink is distinctive - it’s a different process (and progress marker) than habit forming or breaking.


For me, I got clarity through what Gretchen Rubin calls “The Strategy of the Lightning Bolt.” Though to be totally honest, I am not sure why she calls it a strategy, per se, because, as she writes, “unfortunately, it’s rare, and practically impossible to invoke on command.”


Regardless, that’s definitely what happened to me with cutting out drinking. A true a-ha moment and then immediate action. Come to think of it, that’s often how I come to the point of major change or big decisions in my life, and then cross over into newer, better territory.


While developing my Nine Pillars of Female Empowerment, I started doing the work to become increasingly self-aware, and I can’t help but think there’s a correlation between that and clarity, mainly because I think it’s pretty impossible to make real change in your life without being self-aware (and of course also being willing, even sometimes reluctantly, to embrace major discomfort). It just doesn’t really work. It’s also very hard to actually teach self-awareness, by the way - I really think someone has to have one of those clickover moments like I’ve had, and learn it on her own.


  • Clarity, then, is both a deep understanding of myself: self-awareness, along with how I relate to the world and how it relates to me. It’s the fullest sense of KNOWING, kind of like an informed gut decision (also because booze isn’t hazing or glossing it over or catastrophizing or romanticizing it).

  • Clarity is taking full responsibility for everything I’ve said or done in my life - the good, the bad, the ugly. It doesn't allow me to hide behind luck or booze or daddy issues. I both forgive myself and know I have the power to change my circumstances. We all have that power, but it’s the person’s responsibility to do that for herself, it’s not the responsibility of the external world to come to her aid.

  • Clarity also engenders boundaries. With my big change comes a culling and re-curating of my life. People and experiences - and certainly habits - that "worked" before simply won’t do the trick anymore. The peripheral friend that I didn’t really like and who made me anxious but with whom I would spend a couple hundred dollars a pop on a random night out drinking with? No more. The hot guy whom I’ve “hung out” with for years, but with whom nothing is going anywhere, but who I tell myself (when I've had a few glasses of wine) that I enjoy being with from time to time? See ya.

  • Clarity is absolute faith and certainty that this one decision I’ve made has opened up a brand new life track in which, as I wrote back in LA, I will see insane progress on the big huge goals I could see, but which until recently remained just out of reach. In fact, when I made the decision to stop drinking, I felt the universe swirling around me, sprinkling glitter on my head and in my path almost immediately. It all already feels done.


Something about clarity that I wasn’t banking on is how much I feel - I never realized clarity, which always felt like a thing in my head, is actually also super entwined with my heart. With my clarity has come the recognition that I am going to (deeply) feel loneliness, sadness, boredom, fear, and anxiety, along with the productivity and elation and joy and awake-ness that I’ve been luxuriating in these last few alcohol-free weeks. The emotional human condition is a full gamut and man, am I suddenly experiencing all of it.


For example, on this beautiful September Sunday, my heart ached that my three best friends are in Sag Harbor hanging together; then I felt lonely; then I felt envy that they all were wealthy enough to have their own places there; then I felt fear that I will never make enough money; then I felt shame that I am basically starting from financial scratch in my forties; then I felt anxious about how I am going to follow my instincts about where I plan (and know I need) to be...when I need a lot of money to be there.


But here’s the thing: the me of just a few weeks ago probably wouldn’t have expressed, much less processed, all of these feelings. She would’ve called a random buddy and lined up a brunch and five hours later would be five (or more) glasses of wine deep. She’d wake up feeling like shit the next day. Rinse. Repeat.



Instead, amidst all the feels, I walked down to the Hudson river and sat on a bench, writing in my journal, reading, and watching the water and the world go by, contentment slowly falling over me like a soft blanket, my newfound clarity reassuring me that this too shall pass - it already had.



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