• author
    • Amy Ferris

    • January 24, 2015 in Bloggers

    It’s about completing, not competing

    I’ve been reading a lot of stuff lately — tons — about how women compete with each other, rip at each other, are vicious & cruel & jealous & envious of other women. And it’s true. It is true. Not all women are good women. There is no getting around it. We’re not always a sisterhood. Sometimes we’re an estranged sisterhood.

    For the record I think there are many mighty extraordinary women out in the world. Many. But the truth is, the balls out truth is this: Some women say they have your back, but really truly don’t, and some women would stab you in a fucking heartbeat, and some women wear jealousy & envy as an accessory and wish you well, but you know, not too well.

    For years and years, I’ve been talking about how women should complete and not compete with each other. And I often wondered where this passion, mission came from.

    I think I found the kernel.

    That first common thread…

    Let me share this story.

    Years ago… many, many years ago, it was Hanukah. And I loved Hanukah. And all I wanted, all that I prayed for, longed for, wished for and waited for was the brand new hot off the conveyor belt Barbie doll. My mother found it at one of the big stores – in their toy department. The big night came, the big Hanukah night, and I feverishly ripped open the wrapping paper and there she was… absolutely fucking gorgeous.

    My dream doll.


    The doll I wanted, longed for, wished for, and prayed for.

    I fell instantly in love.

    I wanted all of my clothing to have velcro and I wanted to live in a plastic house.

    A few days later, we were going to Brooklyn, to visit my aunt and her family. We lived out on Long Island, so this was somewhat of a tradition. Hanukah. Brooklyn. Brookyln, Hanukah. My mom’s other sister was coming — visiting — from out of town. And she was bringing my cousin — she and I are a couple of years apart. After all the kissing and hugging and oohing and aaaahing, and oh my god you look so good, and oh my god you look too thin and oh my god, and oh my god…

    I show my cousin my brand new gorgeous Barbie doll and to say she swooned would be an understatement. She loved my Barbie. And in that moment, I knew that she wanted my Barbie. My aunt told my mother that she had looked high and low for the doll, but that it was sold out. My mother turned to me and said, “I want you to be a good girl and give her your Barbie doll.”

    I reluctantly and tearfully handed over my gorgeous beautiful doll — the one I prayed for, asked for, longed for, and wanted more than anything.

    My cousin was ecstatic.

    My mother felt powerful.

    And more than that — she felt loved.

    I was heartbroken.



    That moment was imprinted on “my little girl soul,” and I like to refer to it as a child hurt moment not a childhood moment. My mother thought — believed — she was being generous, kind, loving… but in truth, she had often competed with her sisters for their love and by giving my cousin the doll she was proving — showing — that she was the better mom.

    Months later I got a new Barbie, but I gotta say, the moment, the love moment, was gone. And I suppose being true to being my mother’s daughter would have been much easier had I not wanted to be out in the world fully.

    I wanted to be a writer.

    And while writing is very solitary, very singular… my passion, my desire, was working, creating, collaborating with others. My passion required collaboration. My mom’s passion was the world of competition. And so this where the little girl and the mother part ways.

    Every single day we collaborate, work with others. Because all of life — every single bit of it — is about relationships. Some relationships are toxic and bad and aren’t worth the pursuit. Some are complicated, take time and have moments of grand difficulty but are most definitely worth navigating through.

    I have had the great fortune in the past twenty odd years to work with – collaborate with – some unbelievably brilliant and talented and gorgeous women. You know, WOW kinda women. And no, not all were perfect matches, but the ones that didn’t quite fit, didn’t match … taught me an invaluable lesson: Collaboration isn’t about everyone agreeing.

    No, not at all.

    It’s about bringing out the best in someone.

    It’s about creating an environment where folks feel good and proud, and empowered.

    It’s about being heard and being seen.

    It’s about being able to say “I’m wrong, or… you’re right, this doesn’t work,”

    It’s about being able to hear opinions and comments.

    It’s about wanting others to be huge, and successful and rooting them on.

    It’s about being able to let go. Letting go of: the need to be right, the need to be the center of attention, the need to be the best, the brightest, the smartest.

    Collaboration – a good collaboration – is hard work.

    It requires acceptance.


    It requires patience, and kindness and the desire for all — everyone — to shine, to be huge.

    It requires generosity of spirit and creativity.

    It requires cultivating the passion and desire to be good, really good at your craft, really good at your life.

    It requires stepping aside, and letting others have a voice, a space, an opportunity to step up and stand up and stand tall.

    It requires becoming whole.

    Coming together, and yes, completing each other. Wanting the very best for each other.

    It requires love.

    There isn’t a women in this room who doesn’t wish to be loved, supported, encouraged, inspired, held, lifted, nurtured, and empowered. To feel wanted. To know that their voice, their life matters and what they have to say is so very important.

    There isn’t a woman in this room who doesn’t long to feel hope, to believe in the beauty of her own life. There isn’t a woman here who wouldn’t welcome generosity with open arms and an open heart. There isn’t a woman here who doesn’t deserve to awaken to her greatness.

    The grown up Amy would tell her mother, “Oh Mom, Mom, you don’t need to give anything away to be loved, to be seen, to be heard, to be powerful.”

    So here’s my little speech on women. Completing, not competing.

    I love that women lift each other, support each other, carry & nurture each other. Individually we are unique, stunning, glorious creatures. Collectively we are dynamic, powerful and spirited — there isn’t anything we cannot accomplish.

    We lead, and yes, do by example.


    • Excellent! Too bad the little girl or her mother didn’t say “Oh, we couldn’t possible accept that gift, but thanks anyway. That was really generous of you.”

      • Maya North

      • January 24, 2015 at 3:12 pm
      • Reply

      Kathy Keatley Garvey nailed that — your aunt should have said “Oh no, we couldn’t take her doll! Look how she loves it so!” It was in the spirit of competition that she allowed that, I think. I’m always staggered by women who compete, who stab, who ravage. It hits like a blow and, when we came up doubting our own worth, it adds another weight — from pebble to brick to paving stone — on our self-doubt. It takes real determination to sigh and gird ourselves and say that it was them, not us. So yes, we have to seek out our supportive sisters but if we know in our deepest, most sheepish and secret hearts that we are among those women who are tearers and ravagers — we have to look hard at ourselves and say “No, I will not do this anymore. And if my own self-doubt and pain causes me to extrude fangs and claws and tear at my sisters, well, I’ll just go to these women and say that I’m struggling with this and get kisses and hugs and then maybe, just maybe, become the woman I’m supposed to be.” I love you so…

    • Woman have been gender indoctrinated to compete. The reason is to keep us divided. In unison we are an unstoppable force. <3

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