On My Dream
Today at the office, we got a fat stack of new magazine issues. I started browsing and realized that women’s titles did an exceptional job with February content. I promptly lost myself in them until I glanced up and realized it was way past time to go, so I rushed to the subway, knowing the stories would reduce the usual jarring clanks of the train to an insignificant hum.
I’ve always loved magazines. When I was a preteen, I would pore over CosmoGirl every month, devouring embarrassing stories, revelatory kissing tips, and most important, techniques to boost my self-esteem. I still remember a story about confidence that so deeply touched, then somehow stabilized, my ever-shaky adolescent sense of self-worth. I ripped it out and read it so many times that the page got tattered and worn.
As I got older, I would read magazines for the “I can do absolutely ANYTHING” rush I’d get as soon as I put them down. They made me feel like I could design my life to make it exactly what I wanted. Everything seemed possible in those pages.
Now that I work at a magazine, it’s harder to fully immerse myself in that world as an objective observer. I can’t quite achieve the distance. Instead of just taking a story at face value, I’ll imagine what was going on behind the scenes, question editorial choices, and try to catch all the missed opportunities to make puns that straddle the line between eyeroll-inducing and clever. But today, the magic was back.
As I read, I was flooded with tingles of excitement about my life that left quiet chills in their wake. I felt like my potential was coursing through my veins in the form of electric jolts. So impatient to see what else was in store, I’d quit a story in the middle and flip the page, only to go right back because I couldn’t bear not finishing. Have you ever had a hot buttered rum? Reading the magazines was like drinking one, only topped off with honey. I felt warmed from the inside and like I was guaranteed to fall asleep to very sweet, deep dreams. I was blissed out.
Today vividly reminded me why I once ached to get into this industry. I want to give other women the gift of feeling like the world is ours for the taking. I’m obsessed with women’s rights, so I know our current standing leaves much to be desired. There is a lot of work to do. But when I read those magazines, I felt so drunk with promise and love and power that I was tempted to run through the streets screaming, “I AM A WOMAN, THEREFORE I AM FUNDAMENTALLY AMAZING!”
This quote from Helen Gurley Brown is in the middle my vision board (if you hate vision boards, don’t even start. I unabashedly love them. I painted mine coral and wrapped the frame in gold tape, which is the Pinterest-iest thing I’ve ever done in my life). Over the holidays, I read a profile of Gurley Brown in The Most of Nora Ephron, an upcoming anthology of Ephron’s work. In a February 1970 piece in Esquire, Ephron homed in on what fueled Gurley Brown’s passion to change women’s lives, which I humbly admit is also my own: “She’s just worried that somewhere out there is a mouseburger who doesn’t realize she has the capability of becoming anything, anything at all, anything she wants to…”
I’m going to end this in the cheesiest way possible because Beyoncé just gets me and my mission, okay? While you jam, tell me, what’s your dream?