Thursday, August 13, 2015

You Keep Saying “Stay Unchained” Like I Know What The Fuck You Mean

We sure are bossy, aren’t we? We keep telling you to “Stay Unchained,” as if we are your mothers, dropping some hot wisdom like “never leave your purse in the car, dear” or “don’t walk down a dark alley at night by yourself, honey.” I mean, you’re grown, intelligent, badass women. You understand that doing those things isn’t even an option. But “Stay Unchained?” What the fuck does that even mean? And why should you “stay” that way? It might help if we explained what we are asking of you, right?

Sorry ‘bout that. We think you have a pretty good idea of what we are about here at Unchained Jane, but we should have explained our little motto sooner.  At this point, we think it’s critical that you get an understanding of what we are not-so-subtly reminding you to do so that you start to carry it with you everyday and remind yourself.


Above all else, being “unchained” is to be FREE. Free to be who you are, who you want to be, pursue whichever goals make you happy, fill whichever interpersonal roles you deem to be worthy of your time and energy. We want you to be free to be YOU. We want you to make a conscious decision at each and every turn about what you want your life to look like and what will, ultimately, make you happy.  “Staying Unchained” means resisting the artificial barriers, pushing yourself to jump the high hurdles, and breaking through imagined boundaries. It is precisely because these things exist that we feel it’s every woman’s obligation to help other women – we are all in the same boat, fighting the same-ish fight. We are all trying to find our voice, our passion, our happiness, our balance.

It could be a stay-at-mom thinking about using the oh-so-coveted nap time to paint or draw, but she feels like she can’t spend her free time “on her” when there are so many other things to get done. It could be a hard-working gas station attendant, who wants to go back to school, but is paralyzed by fear of failure or simply doesn’t have the means to pay for classes. It could be a single mom, who wants to start a business, but is too overwhelmed by the time and energy it might take away from her children. 

We want you to feel free to choose your life and understand that there is no “one way” to get where you want to be. However, playing a victim of circumstances has never bought anyone a golden ticket to self-confidence, self-acceptance, happiness, wealth, balance, or peace.  Don’t be a victim. Your life doesn’t’ just happen to you. You make the choices; you run your life (and, eventually, the world, but, you know, let’s start small). That being said, we ALL need three things in particular to exercise our freedom to choose our own path.

1. To Stay Authentic.

Step One is figuring out who you are, who you want to be, what you imagine for your life, and what your priorities are. We won’t shit you – this is hard work. And many times, you will have priorities that conflict with each other. Well, bust out that paper and pencil and rank those bitches because there is very little in this world that is more satisfying than being 150% unabashedly yourself, owning what is important to you, and having clarity about your priorities. The beautiful thing about being authentically YOU is that no one else on this green Earth can do it. You are the only you - so don’t waste it! And let’s just all agree right now that we don’t ever woman-bash other women for being their authentic selves either. Yes, you are a special snowflake. But so is every other woman you meet. Support that. Respect that. Love that.

2. To Stay Sassy. 

When we first started thinking about this article, we honestly kind of skipped over this one because our first thoughts were, “Hell, UJ and its readers got this one on LOCK. No sweat at all. We have sass coming out of our ears!” So this is the easy one, right? Right? Not so fast. 

“Staying Sassy” is not as simple as back-talking your spouse and children and being a dick to your girlfriends just for fun. Nor is it simply laughing at some smart-ass memes (although, I’m sure we can all agree that the UJ memes are the shit!). What we are telling you when we say “stay sassy” is that we want you to carry yourself like you’re a force to be reckoned with (because you are). We want you to speak up and speak out if you see something that doesn’t sit well with you (because you can). We want you to never feel trapped or cornered or bullied (because you always have options). We want you to strive for your goals, no matter the hurdles (because you’re worth it). And, in each of these instances, we want each and every one of you to have the self-confidence to live your authentic self OUT LOUD. In essence, this is the hardest one. Fear is everywhere. It’s all around you and within each of us (seriously, do some people-watching and see if you can pinpoint all the fear-driven decisions that folks make – it’s an incredible phenomena). It would be much easier to keep your authentic self tucked away internally – for fear of being judged or criticized or for fear of failure. There will be folks who will try to push you back into a box. When we tell you to “stay sassy,” it’s a boiled-down way of saying, “Fight for every single fucking inch you can get for yourself and for your fellow women. Push. Pull. Blast. Speak. Yield no ground. Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

3. To Stay Informed.

Good news!  This is the easy one! Thanks to the Internet Age, the vast majority of information that you could ever need or want in order to explore your options for happiness is available to you.  Literally, it’s all there. Need a grant or scholarship for school? Look it up! Need to know where UNICEF is based? Google to the rescue! Need to know how to buy materials from China? Look it up! Need to figure out if you should file Head of Household on your taxes? Scroll the IRS website at your leisure! Need to know what happened in women-related news this week? Look that shit up!  (And by “look that shit up,” we mean “come here to UJ and see what we’ve been up to.) There is virtually nothing off-limits to you. You can order groceries, clothes, shoes, school supplies and men online. You can look up ways to be more efficient at work and more organized at home. You can join online communities and get the support of other women going through similar life obstacles as you are. Information is the key to freedom. We cannot stress this enough: DON’T WAIT FOR INFORMATION TO COME TO YOU; SEEK OUT THE INFORMATION THAT YOU NEED. Importantly, also seek out information that other women need. In the process of helping yourself stay informed, you can also help other women stay informed. We think you’ll find that the more informed you become, the easier the authenticity and sassiness comes. So, please, give a damn about staying informed and share that knowledge with other women. When we support women in this way, we all win. And, most importantly, it creates a dynamic where all women are free to choose the path to fulfill their own happy life.

And so, we say to you now – with complete transparency – #STAYUNCHAINED.

- Saera Jane, Amelia Jane, Elisabeth Jane and Margaret Jane -

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