I have a bulletin board in my office on which I have posted pictures of women who inspire me. They are my “everybody”. I got this idea from Martha Beck (Finding Your North Star) who talked about how to get past being haunted by “everybody”, as in “everybody does that…” or “Everybody knows..” Create your own everybody” was her advice. She surrounded herself with other writers—living and dead—to create her own reference group.
On my wall are pictures of these women: Coco Chanel, Dorothy Day, Georgia O’Keefe, May Sarton, Wislawa Szymborska, Erma Bombeck, Helen Gurley Brown, Pema Chodron, Amelia Earhart and Audrey Tatou.
Each day when I look at those women I notice different things. Some days I am aware of their successes. Other days I might notice their creativity or their courage. Recently –struggling with a relationship question—I noticed that they had all had heartbreaks and big challenges in relationships—and survived. Today I noticed that these are women who defied what was expected, who risked—often quietly—what was expected of them by society and by those near to them.
These are my everybody. Who is yours?