I’ve always been able to tell a lot about people by whether they ask me about my scar. Most people never ask, but if it comes up naturally somehow and I offer up the story, they are quite interested. Some people are just dumb: 'Did a cat scratch you?' God bless. Those sweet dumdums I never mind. Sometimes it is a fun sociology litmus test, like when my friend Ricky asked me, 'Did they ever catch the black guy that did that to you?' Hmmm. It was not a black guy, Ricky, and I never said it was.
How do you juggle it all?’ people constantly ask me, with an accusatory look in their eyes. ‘You’re screwing it all up, aren’t you?’ their eyes say. My standard answer is that I have the same struggle as any working parent but with the good fortune to be working at my dream job. Or sometimes I just hand them a juicy red apple I’ve poisoned in my working-mother witch cauldron and fly away.
If you watch [The] Search for Signs of Intelligent Life [in the Universe], or The Incredible Shrinking Woman, or 9 to 5, there is a lot of gender politics at the forefront of Lily Tomlin work, which was kind of thrilling for me to be watching as a 10-, 11-, 12-year-old kid.
This is what I tell young women who ask me for career advice. People are going to try to trick you. To make you feel that you are in competition with one another. You're up for a promotion. If they go for a woman, it'll be between you and Barbara. Don't be fooled. You're not in competition with other women. You're in competition with everyone.
So, my unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism, or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.
Read! When your baby is finally down for the night, pick up a juicy book like Eat, Pray, Love or Pride and Prejudice or my personal favorite,Understanding Sleep Disorders: Narcolepsy and Apnea; A Clinical Study. Taking some time to read each night really taught me how to feign narcolepsy when my husband asked me what my "plan" was for taking down the Christmas tree.
I feel like there is a lot of inherent humor in the stress and insanity surrounding that process. People lose their minds, trying to prove their parental worth by getting their children into one of five colleges; when there are thousands of good colleges across the United States - and elsewhere.