I have a bone to pick with personal celebrations. I can’t be the only one feeling ornery every time I log into my social media pages only to be bombarded with announcements of classmates (both from school and university), childhood friends, acquaintances, frenemies and random neighbor #85 are either a) tying the knot, b) engaged or c) welcoming a child. Whenever I voice my annoyance out to a close friend, they assure me that no I’m not alone in my feelings, it’s quite disconcerting being harassed by surprise proposal photoshoots, engagement photoshoots (of couples who met a few months ago), or the random maternity shoot.
Maybe I’m feeling a tad bitter that I’m all alone.
Or maybe it’s because we never celebrate our professional milestones the way we do for our personal ones.
I apologize if I sound acerbic but I’m at this phase in my life where I can’t bring myself to care that another one of my classmate’s or a former friend has decided to tie the knot. While I am happy that they’ve found their life partner and thrilled to see where their marriage takes them, I’m not going to give someone a pat on their back for doing what society expects all women. I find it very hard to show my support for creative or quirky engagement photoshoots, baby showers and lovey-dovey Facebook status messages when I barely get a half-hearted good job for moving up professionally.
Maybe it’s the fact that while in university, I had to listen to people giggle about their wedding plans without thinking about where they see themselves professionally. Yes, some people aren’t ambitious or they’re okay being the way they are. But we’re in 2021, women have moved past having conversations that sound like Florence Pugh’s Oscar-nominated monologue in Little Women, on why marriage is an economic proposition.
Love or relationships aren’t the only milestones worthy of celebrations in our lives.
Which is why I can’t help but wonder every time I go through a former classmate’s wedding album on Facebook, where did life take you? Where did you end up before you had your wedding?
Why aren’t any of the STEM ladies shouting about how they were a few of the women who attended a prestigious institution?
I wish I saw more social media posts that celebrated winning a prize, getting the keys to your own home, completing that always talked about documentary film, or even completing a thesis. I, for one, would love to see a woman posting about graduating with an honors degree and then uploading a photo of the said degree onto her socials while we read a lengthy post on her journey.
I wish we had more celebrations for people who completed their one-year anniversary getting sober, moving up in a company or even landing that dream internship they took based on pure nerve. I wish we didn’t only have LinkedIn to toot our professional horns on and that too, it’s always curated in a wholesome way that makes us women come off as unthreatening in our ambition.
I would love to see that mini-Miranda Priestly (and no, I’m not talking about the toxic work culture she created but her perfectionist attitude that made her an industry titan) in the making’s professional journey.
Why don’t we boast about the power moves and games of strategy we play to get from point A to point Z?
This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be celebrating personal milestones, but we need to stop placing a higher value on them than professional accomplishments. The world would profit from women who were more honest about their ambition – I would have loved to see peers celebrating their dreams in a public way.
What is wrong with flexing those years of blood, sweat and tears? After all, if you don’t hype yourself up – no one else is going to.
So take this piece of advice from me, do that ‘Just Got Promoted’ photoshoot because why not, it would be great for your ego and my timeline would greatly appreciate it.
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