As she hurtled through the last meters of the New York City marathon, the cameras focused on elite American runner Shalane Flanagan’s face. While fist bumping the air and running at her famous breakneck speed, on her way to being the first American woman to win the New York City Marathon in 40 years, she yelled in excitement to the crowd.
Her lips could be seen forming “FUCK YEAH!” as her face showed fierce determination and pride for a job well done.
And my heart soared.
Years of training came together for her that day and she owned the course, after having come in second in the same race in 2010.
When she rounded that last corner and saw the finish line, she did what we all secretly want to do when we achieve a major goal.
She wasn’t humble.
She didn’t downplay her accomplishment.
She wasn’t coming in second today, bitches.
Flanagan unabashedly enjoyed the fuck out her moment, and it found me screaming with delight when I watched the replay (over and over again) in my family room.
I watched the video 10 more times (okay, 20) because it filled me with such elation.
Women do amazing things every day.
We grow humans and raise them not to be assholes.
We figure out Common Core math, sew last-minute Halloween costumes, and manage complicated carpool logistics while organizing the PTA carnival.
We harness our strength and speak loudly about sexual assault in order to bring down narcissistic kings of Hollywood, and hopefully overturn rape culture for the next generation.
We do the fighting for maternity leave and health care and gun control.
We take on the mean moms who judge us for everything, from what we feed our kids to where they sleep at night.
Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding? Co-sleeping or cry it out method? Cloth diapers or disposable? It doesn’t fucking matter because women spend their days making the decisions that are best for their families, and we stick to our convictions when people try to make us feel bad about our parenting.
We are tired. And yet we keep going, no matter what life throws at us.
We haven’t slept in years, we haven’t purchased new lipstick in who knows how long and our messy buns disguise the fact that we could desperately use a spa day. Yet, we show up to carpool, we attend PTA meetings, and we do the heavy lifting of motherhood.
Fuck, yes we do.
We juggle our families, relationships, and our careers.
Women are the pulse of this country, of our families, of our communities.
We do all the things on little more than a Venti Starbucks and dry shampoo.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure women everywhere deserve to bask in our awesomeness with a fist bump and a loud “FUCK YEAH!”
We all need to celebrate our accomplishments Shalane style, ladies.
And I’m talking all of our accomplishments, big, small, and everything in between.
Did you just get a promotion after months of soul-sucking work?
Did you finally figure out how to distract your toddler so you can shower in peace?
You get a fist bump and a “FUCK YEAH!” mama.
Did you manage to get your teenager to open up about his social life with minimal eye-rolling?
A big “FUCK YEAH!” goes out to you, girlfriend.
Why is it so hard for us to celebrate what we work hard for every day?
Last year, I was given a promotion at work, a role I was pretty excited to take on. As I left the meeting, I called a friend to meet me for celebratory drinks.
As I came up the stairs from the subway platform, my friend’s face immediately lit up, and he started yelling to everyone on the crowded New York City street that I’d gotten a promotion.
My first instinct was to shush him, to make him stop embarrassing me in the middle of rush hour on a weekday.
It was New York, for God’s sake. New Yorkers can’t stand that shit, right?
Or so I thought.
Whether it was his exuberance or just the right strangers at the right time, people started applauding and whooping for me right there on the sidewalk.
Complete strangers were willing to give my accomplishment a high five and a “FUCK YEAH!” and yet I was almost willing to let the moment pass with a humble shrug of my shoulders and a martini.
Let me tell you something, ladies: Accomplishments feel a whole lot more awesome when you celebrate them out loud, Shalane style. Let Shalane set the tone for our celebrations going forward.
So go ahead.
Yell “FUCK YEAH!” right there in the grocery aisle because you managed to get your shopping done before preschool pickup.
Go ahead and give yourself a fist bump a la Judd Nelson at the end of The Breakfast Club.
You are Shalane-ing the fuck out of this race we call motherhood, mama.
You deserve to yell “FUCK YEAH”every single day.
Even if it’s in the privacy of your closet as you are hiding from your toddler.