My oldest daughter informed me she was no longer speaking with my sister anymore. When I asked her why, it was for something my sister did to her twenty-two years ago. Actually, my sister didn’t do it directly to my daughter. My sister did it more towards me but it indirectly affected my oldest daughter.
“I’m getting rid of the toxic people in my life,” she said.
“I’d get rid of you too (meaning me) but you’re my mother and I forgive you, so I’ll tolerate you” she continued.
I sat back in my chair, astounded and calmly asked my daughter how she came to all these conclusions. Very nastily my daughter replied:
“Read ‘Girl, Wash Your Face‘ ” was her reply. And we left it at that. Next day, I googled the quotation, found out it was a title of a book by self-help author/guru Rachel Hollis and I reserved a copy from my library. I reserved both the book and the eBook, whichever came faster. The complete title of the book is:
Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be
So, in retrospect, as a mother, I guess I’m supposed to find myself guilty of stopping my daughter from attaining anything? Funny thing is, I always told my daughters they were stars. I never once let a derogatory word escape into our vocabulary. I always encouraged them, told them they were magnificent and could be anything they wanted to be. Heck, when it came time for their college, I didn’t even tell them which ones they could go to, which ones we could afford or what curriculum to follow. It’s their life. Their choices. My daughter even eloped when it came time for her to marry So, WTF was my 41-year-old daughter talking about?
I sat down to read the book to find out. It’s a very sad commentary on many of our young women today, that their lives are so shallow, so empty that they have to depend on some nincompoop who spews a good word or two, thus causing said women to jump up and join some bandwagon. Perhaps it takes a lifetime of experience for anyone, meaning me, to realize sadly, Rachel Hollis is a phony, who tapped into a niche and is bilking the female masses dry.
Women (and men) want and need inspiration. We all need and hunger for that word of encouragement. We used to get it from our religion. Our parents. Our teachers. Our friends. But as more and more young people turn away from God and estranged parents, unfortunately, a door opened that anyone who’s got a bit of street cred can just slip in and take it all away. Rachel Hollis gives women hope and encouragement by touting such quotes as:
- “know this one great truth: you are in control of your own life. …
- “You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.” …
- “People treat you with as much, or as little respect as you allow them to.” …
- “Our words have power, but our actions shape our lives.”
Let me ask you a question. Did the people vacationing in Thailand this past December, 2018 have any control over their lives when a tsunami hit and killed them without warning? Scientists have been studying tsunamis for 35 years and had no explanation for this unusual occurrence. Or how about the recent California camp fires that wiped out whole, complete neighborhoods? It just came out that those fires happened because of the faulty, expired electrical equipment the utility company, Pacific Gas & Electric had in place. Oh, want to sue them? You can’t they just filed bankruptcy and your lawsuit is worthless. Plus, if you followed Hollis’s advice, it’s YOUR fault you suffered any losses. You should have known better.
My point is, you’re not in control of your own life. No one is. If you need a quote to get you through your day and is self-explanatory, try this one: SHIT HAPPENS. The secret is to accept the calamity and try to turn it around as best as you can. There’s no self-blame here folks. It is NOT your fault. You didn’t do this and NO! you are not in control of your life. It is NOT your fault if you didn’t become who you wanted to be. And yes, sometimes, we’re unhappy. Accept it. You can’t be happy 24/7/365. Sometimes, life just gets to you.
I think the most horrific quote from Hollis is ‘Goals Don’t Have An Expiration Date‘. As a 68 year old retiree, who has seen her fair share of challenges and heartbreak, I’m here to tell you yes, your dreams do have expiration dates. If you were dreaming of becoming an Olympic Ice Skating Champion and you’re 45 years old, guess what? Your dream is over. Ain’t gonna happen. Just like the folly of those retirement saving charts that state you have to have saved XXX amount of dollars by age 40 or 50 or 60 and you haven’t? That’s because you’re not!
Quite quickly in Rachel Hollis’s book you will read about her ‘struggle’ at age 19 dating a very abusive man. He was older than she and Hollis sort of became his slave. Rachel came when she was called. He beckoned and Rachel did whatever it is he asked her to do, even fetch his coffee when he was in town. Hollis endured countless episodes of ridicule from both the ‘boyfriend’ (oops, she wasn’t permitted to call him her boyfriend, for fear of reprisal) and his friends. So, after a year or so of this, Hollis decided no more. Of course, she contacted him and told him ‘no more’. But guess what? After two weeks he called her, Rachel proudly told him off, once and for all, and then promptly hung up the phone on him. Oh, she felt so good about herself now! What did the abusive non-boyfriend do? Oh, he flew to her house, knocked on her door and proposed marriage. Rachel Hollis accepted. Yup, she married her abuser. What kind of a female does such a thing? Weak ones. That’s who. Her husband is 8 years older than she is and if you think he stopped abusing her just because she stood up to him that one time, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you for a dollar.
When it came time for me to go to college, I’ll be honest with you…….not too many colleges sent me an acceptance letter. My mother took it upon herself to get me into a college. Even if she had to bribe a college to do it. I will never forget the day we walked into the elite Baruch College in New York City. My mother had an appointment with The Dean and after meeting with him, looking over my application, high school grades and personally conversing with me, The Dean told my mother that I would make a wonderful wife and mother but there was no way in hell he was admitting me into Baruch College. Try to imagine being 17 years old and listening to all of this?
Now, of course, do you think for one second I believed this friggin’ Dean of Admissions? Nope. I spent the next thirty-three years trying to prove him wrong. I did eventually make a university, on a trial basis for students less worthy than. I was 3 credits shy of getting my diploma when I was thrown out of the university. Why? Because my grade average (1.7) was so low, they didn’t want me to bring down the entire school ratings. No prob. I went to another city college and got my degree using the credits I got from the university.
My entire life after college was spent trying to prove that Dean wrong. I’ll get to the end of the story because at age 50, after several failed job careers, two failed business ventures, a bankruptcy in 1987, one brutal divorce and custody battle and at least 10 lawsuits, I came to the same conclusion as that Deal of Admissions did. The only thing I am good at and successful at is being a wife (2nd marriage) and a mother. At age 50 I decided to stop trying to prove others wrong. Sometimes professionals can see what we refuse or can not see. What is so wrong with accepting an educated, professional opinion of ourselves? At age 50 I decided to just be myself, whomever that was and now at age 68, I’m glad I never looked back. I’m just a regular person with tons of failed dreams and goals that now, I’ve come to realize, were meaningless.
I am who I was meant to be.
And what was it now that bothered my 41 year old daughter from so long ago (1996) that by reading Rachel Hollis’s new book, Girl Wash Your Face stirred up after twenty-two years? Apparently, I was buying my eldest daughter, a recent college graduate a studio condo in Brooklyn Heights so she could reside near her newly hired career in NYC. The purchase price was $80,000 and I had just cashed in an investment and had said investment money sitting prettily in my checking account. Knowing I was flush with cash, my sister calculated I owed her some money, that she thought she deserved and was entitled to. She took it upon herself to forge and cash one of my checks in the amount of $5,000 thus upsetting the down payment I had amassed for my daughter’s condo. Rather than press charges against my sister, I called my father but he was no help. I just let it go and didn’t speak to either one of them for three years. Needless to say, my daughter never got her condo. I was only able to help her secure a rental, as she started her new career.
Fast forward to 9 years later (13 years ago) and I once again had amassed an amount of money suitable for a down payment on another condo for my daughter. This time, I had $50,000 to put down on a $238,000 condo in a better neighborhood. My daughter still owns the condo to this day and last we looked, Zillow had it appraised at $600,000. It’s a much better investment than that $80K condo could have ever been. My daughter should be happy. Not still holding a grudge against my sister. My sister did what she did to ME. Not my daughter. I believe my daughter is wrong in ridding herself of her aunt. But, according to Rachel, dumping toxic people is all the rage right now.
I could go one by one and discredit each and every one of Hollis’s pathetic quotes. I won’t waste your time nor mine. Rachel tells women to stand up for themselves and not take any slack. And then, in the same breath, Hollis tells you to go wash your face, like a good little girl yo’ momma wants yo to be. If you really and truly need a daily pick-me-up or need to listen to encouraging words every day or whenever, may I recommend Joel Osteen. They call him the ‘smiling preacher’ for a reason. He gets his inspiration from God and Jesus.
God puts dreams and hopes into our heart. Only He can fulfill them. Not some greedy, money grabbing, fly girl.