Last week I took a friend out to celebrate her birthday. This friend is the kind of woman that you would all be blessed to know; she is kind, selfless, brilliant, and one of the funniest people I've ever met. Because of her predilection for humor, we were discussing the summer’s comedic films including the Judd Apatow film Trainwreck starring Amy Schumer and Bill Hader. Now, I’m not sure if you know this, but this movie was written by Amy Schumer, starred Amy Schumer, and was produced by (you guessed it) Amy Schumer. This movie also grossed over $30 million it’s opening weekend, and has grossed over $109 million to date. In a survey completed by Rentrak, 28% of respondents said they went to see the movie because of Amy Schumer. Oh my goodness, I want to be Amy Schumer. That was where the conversation with my friend started at least… with my wanting to be Amy Schumer. But then my intelligent, generous, insightful friend asked a very important question, “Why do you want to be Amy Schumer?” My response was immediate, with very little thought. I explained to my dear friend that although I was very happy with my life, Amy had completed everything I wanted to accomplish. She had made her dreams a reality, she had written, starred in, and produced a movie that was both critically and culturally well received. She was making a living doing what she loved, and because of her popularity as a comedian she had a platform to talk about what mattered to her. When Amy Schumer talks about the need for gun law reform, people write articles about her opinions. When Amy Schumer talks about gender identity and sexism, people listen.
My friend’s response to my impassioned love of Amy was not what I had anticipated. She said (and this is a paraphrase, but it was really close to this), “You shouldn’t be in awe of what Amy Schumer has done. It is utterly heartbreaking that as a young woman you have so few role models to look up to who have truly made their dreams come true. How many men can you name that have written in, starred, and produced their own films? How many men talk endlessly about what social issue seems relevant to them? We need more women like Amy Schumer, so that you aren’t so surprised when you encounter a woman like Amy Schumer.” I was dumbfounded. She had hit the nail on the head, when I didn’t even know there was a nail to be hit.
Here I was eating a salad talking about someone else pursuing their dreams, putting my energy into wanting to be someone else rather than focusing on what I could accomplish. As women, it is so easy to compare ourselves to one another. Sometimes these comparisons can lead to healthy competition, but at other times they can lead to jealousy, insecurities, or just wasted energies. As women we need to look around at the greatness being accomplished by people in general. Yes, Amy Schumer is awesome, but I can think of a hundred men who have done the same things she has. Serena Williams and and Ginni Rometty and Ronda Rousey and Coco Chanel and Arianna Huffington and Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon and Marissa Mayer are all awesome. But so are you, and so are we! Nothing is beyond our reach.
What is it you want to do with your life? Because whatever it is, there is at least one part of your dream that is completely feasible. For us at By Grace, we want to make a difference in the lives of women. We want to provide education and jobs for women throughout the world. We want to encourage women to look beyond their own walls, borders, and cultures, to see through deeper, to see limitless possibilities.
So for now, I’m okay with not being Amy Schumer. I have confidence that I too will achieve my dreams, that I am fully capable of making a difference, and that my voice will be heard. Our hope for you is that you can start to believe the same!
Until next time,