Single Mom Out Loud

The joys (and desperation) of raising a boy without a man

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Cold and Wet Nights 

When I think about the last 5 years of my life I remember it hurt. The memory of it hurts.

The guilt and the shame can be hard burdens to carry.

The rain that falls doesnt wash away the memories and bad feelings. Instead it brings ashore all I wish to forget.

It’s during cold and wet nights that the feeling of despair creeps up like a ghost that you can’t see but who makes every hair in your body stand up.

I don’t miss him necessarily. I don’t even miss us. But I miss the company. I miss the weight of his body warming me up. I miss the attention he showered me with. I miss the “I love you” every night as he adjusted his sleepy body next to mine.

Now I hear nothing. It’s brutally empty even though I am not alone. The distance is obvious, although I try hard to close the gap, unsuccessfully.

It’s during cold and wet nights that feelings of loneliness become even more palpable, reminding me that no matter how I much I lie to myself, I am still alone.

The battle to get him to see me is endless; His eyes focused on the rearview mirror.

The desire to continue is slowly being overtaken by the sadness of my own limitations and inability to make him stop chasing ghosts. Even though all I want is to untie him from his past.

It’s during cold and wet nights that our souls are washed and spirits replenished. As we sit alone we realize we can conquer the dark and the fears it brings. And it’s in the dark that we Learn to accept our defeats.

At some point our bodies exhaust and our feelings wear out.

It’s during cold and wet nights that we learn that letting go is not quitting.

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8 Ways of Raising An Asshole 

I just finished reading Amy McCready’s parenting book, The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic. In so doing, it’s occurred to me that this  generation of parents may be best remembered for their spectacular ability to give our children what they want when they want it.

I understand there are many different ways of parenting a child. Some parents are strict. Others are laid back. Some are controlling while others thrive on freedom. There one hundred and one ways of raising kids but only one way of actually raising a traditional good old asshole. 

Below are the 8 most important tips in how to do so:

1. Make sure your kids have access to all the best toys and all the latest iDevices anytime they want. If you take them to Target for a quick errand and they want the new box of Lego. Buy them! It’s definitely easier than having to deal with a tamper tantrum and being embarrassed when your bundle of joy puts up his show. Also, make sure you allow them to be playing games on an iPad in the car while you are chauffeuring them around and on the dinner table after you cooked them a lovely meal. That way, they won’t bother you and they will never be bored or antsy. 

2. Do everything within your power to prevent your kids from feeling pain. This includes any sort of discomfort, difficulty, disappointment, guilt or shame. Make up excuses for them when they make mistakes. Don’t force them to apologize and don’t allow them to feel guilt when they do something wrong. Insist teachers raise bad grades. That way, kids won’t learn how to rise to challenges or handle their mistakes themselves, and they will feel entitled to a life free from discomfort or disappointment. 

3. When things aren’t going your way, point to the shortcomings of other people. You are entitled to good service from the dry cleaners, waitress, uber driver, etc. Since your kids will never have one of these jobs (see tip # 7), there is really no need to show empathy or compassion towards underperforming service workers. Similarly, when your kids bring home bad grades or negative notes from teachers, listen earnestly to their accusations about how bad their teachers are. Consider complaining to the Principal or School Head, or at least send an angry email! 

4. Give them money whenever they want it. There is no need to make them earn it. After all, who has time to teach them the value of Things? This is definitely easier than enforcing chores, keeping track of what they earned or failed to earn or dealing with their outbursts after hearing a simple NO. 

5. Refuse to consistently enforce bedtimes. One night, nag them until they go to bed. The next night, you’ll likely  be tired from the previous night’s effort, so just let them choose their own bedtime, or ignore them until they fall asleep on their own. That way they will realize that, actually, they are in control of their bedtimes. If their attention or impulse control at school suffers because they are tired, excellent stimulants, like Ritalin, are widely available. 

6. Allow them to eat whatever they want and reject what they don’t want. Who needs vegetables and fruits anyways? Allow your children to dictate the meals at home. This will surely teach them that all their needs must be met and that the family (and the world) revolves around them. 

7. Make sure they never have to do any chores around the house, internships or an entry-level or minimum wage job. Boredom is uncomfortable and unnecessary (see tip 2). Working their way up in an organization is a waste of time if you can use your connections to help them start at the top. I am sure they will learn ethics and hard work by just watching others. There is absolutely no need to make them learn the lessons themselves. 

8. Above all, let them talk to you and others with disrespect. This is normal. Kids are meant to yell at your face, call you names, storm off and bang their bedroom doors. There is absolutely no need to ground them or correct their disrespectful behavior. We all know that disrespectful children eventually grow out of it and learn on their own how to be decent human beings. There is absolutely no need for you to teach them this. 

If you follow any or all of the above 8 steps congratulations! You are on your way to successfully raising loving asshole children! 

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Modern Love and the Infinite Menu of Options 

Modern dating is difficult—at least that’s what I’m finding.
These days it compares more closely to ordering fast food. It’s all too simplified.
We tend to polish ourselves up to look great online (“the menu”), but what about the quality of self (“the food”) we are presenting to a potential mate?

I put myself out there and when it seems as though I’ve possibly connected with someone, it turns out my “milkshake” isn’t sustaining enough. He could have been having a candlelight dinner with me, drinking wine while Sinatra plays in the background—instead he decides he wants fries.
We all need something deeper than what is on the surface to make a connection. So why do we leave out the not-so-desirable? I want to be brave and tell someone about my scars. Show them my imperfections.

What makes us perfectly imperfect? The parts we keep disguised may very well be what makes someone fall in love with us. I long to find someone worth removing the mask for, but every time I think I can he reminds me I shouldn’t. 

We have also somehow forgotten the art of cooking a delicious homemade meal, how healthy and wholesome self-care can be. We must make the effort to care for and love ourselves before we can allow someone close enough to love and accept us as we are.
We fill our voids (both romantically and emotionally) with greasy, senseless and hard to digest pseudo-romance via online/social media interaction. This kind of “dating” isn’t built to last because it has no solid foundation.

These days it’s easier to swipe right or left, send a wink, like a photo or send an instant message than to have a real, in-depth conversation with a potential mate. Remember the kind of stimulating conversation where you actually listen without distraction and look into someone’s eyes?

The problem is: we have a full menu at our fingertips anytime we feel the slightest hint of a “hunger pang.”

But I think it goes much deeper than that. Times have changed and with that change came the evolution of dating. It’s a dying art. We have forgotten the rules of courting developed by the men and women who came before us.

We’ve forgotten the art of gentle pauses, intelligent conversation and engaging interaction. We don’t even know what courting looks like anymore. Take note the next time you go out to dine and see how many couples are looking at their phones instead of each other.

We’ve also forgotten the anticipation of that anxiously awaited phone call. Instead we usually opt-out and send a generic text. But why?

Because it’s become easier to disconnect if we’re not totally feeling it. We are constantly looking for something better instead of building on what we already potentially have within our grasp.

Hell no we won’t pick the phone to call each other anymore. And if we aren’t immediately available when a potential love interest texts us? No worries, all they need to do is take a quick peek at social media to see who else is available on “the menu.”

This is fast food dating after all.

I never imagined at nearly 30 years old that I would be in the middle of this dating shuffle again. But here I am.
And I’ve realized that I just want to find something more sustaining than a greasy burger and fries. I don’t want fast food. I need something wholesome and real that won’t be so difficult for my heart to digest. 


Why I Love Broken Men 

He looks at me with those eyes that have seen so much, although he doesn’t see me. But I feel held. I feel safe.

Not physically, necessarily, nor even financially. At this stage, I can pretty much look after myself. I don’t need a father figure, a knight on a horse or even reciprocated feelings—although from time to time I wonder if he will eventually like me too.

What I want is to feel held at that moment. What I want is to feel wanted. I need to be seen for who I am and appreciated for the journey I’ve had and will continue to have. I appreciate what I’ve come through and who I have become as a result—and I appreciate others who can see the value in that.

I’m in my late twenties and at some stage in the last few years I realized I was no longer all that attracted to “perfect” men. By perfect I mean men whose credentials is everything your mom ever dreamed for you: Masters holder, Successful career, mortgage, money, stable family.

It wasn’t that I didn’t find them physically attractive; I have met my share of gorgeous perfect men in the last year.  But I have learned that I am more attracted to flaws and imperfections and the beauty that involves a life of struggles and pain and losses and victories.

After the birth of my son my values seem to have shifted. I began to feel as if I had travelled a long journey. I had a child and a troubled relationship and I was digging deep into my own stuff, finding out who I was, what I really valued and needed, and what I wanted from life.

And as I looked around, I found myself meeting the eyes of broken men, seeing a reflection of their own journeys and what they had become as a result.

By broken I don’t mean damaged or troubled, but rather strengthened. Men who have BEEN broken by life but somehow managed to put themselves back together.

They are what I call Kintsukuroi men. 

Kintsukuroi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer.  It understands that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken and it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

That’s how I see men.

I am attracted by the depth I see, the understanding and ability to accept life with all its ups and downs. I feel an understanding from them that was missing in so many of those perfect on paper men.

Not all broken men attract me, of course.
Some had closed down and retreated in response to the hurt they’ve had. Some just weren’t interested in looking inward. But my radar was set for those men who had lived a bit, explored life and their own inner world and who had come to a deeper understanding of themselves and what they valued about life.

It’s not that this depth can’t exist in a “perfect” man, but there is a wisdom that can come with years (what a cliché) of experiences and struggles, which can’t be faked. Depth and character are a result of how much of a fight you have put out in life. People who have never struggled, who have never been forced to move, who haven’t lost a job, or a family member or who haven’t had tiny pieces of their hearts handed to them in a platter, lack the light I am looking for.

The light of warriors, who have gone through war and survived. That light, those struggles, is what makes me want to rip their clothes and make love to them in the most intense way possible.

Broken men have been road tested. In the same way I’ve been road-tested—and I’m sure some of those who were involved in the road test would consider me to have failed miserably at times. So I like being able to compare battle scars with a man. How many have you got? How did you get them? How have they healed?

There’s no pretense at being perfect.There is an understanding, though, that we’ve both learned from our journeys and have a deeper awareness of, and compassion for, ourselves and others as a result.

It can be fun too, laughing over the highs and lows of previous relationships. Nothing is more sexy than two people who laugh out loud together. A friendship between two lovers is more than the cherry on top of the cake. Two friends laughing after a night of mind blowing sex is the cherry on top of a lava cake on top of a scoop of ice cream.

We might like different things but if he makes me laugh, I will fall for him, hoping that maybe, just maybe, he will fall for me too.

As a woman who has cried, laughed, loved, given birth, dreamed, works her ass off, soared and flunked through a whole decade, how could I feel fully held and seen by someone who hasn’t experienced how fast and hard life can kick you down?

Perhaps it’s possible, and if the odd time ever comes when I get disenchanted by the complexities of broken men I will entertain the idea of a more perfect one.

But not anytime soon.

For now, I see their emotional wounds. I admire their drive to succeed and I love the fact that they don’t  know where they are going.

Just like me.

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To The Women With Huge Hearts But Empty Beds

I don’t know how you like your coffee on cold mornings.

I don’t know on clear nights which rooftop you climb, what haunts your thoughts at night or what makes you want to stand up and fight.

But I do know you—and I know your heart.

You are the woman who zips her own dress up for work every morning. The woman who cooks dinner for one. The woman who runs around double checking locks before going to bed every night. The woman curled up under sheets, in the corner of a bed meant for two.

I know you because we share the same joys and the same pain.

We all arrived here through different roads, different highways and different dirt paths. Some of us are bruised. Some of us are spotless. How we got here doesn’t matter—only how we’re tied together.

We are the women who spend our sweatpants-wearing Sunday afternoons alone. The women who treat ourselves to fancy Valentine’s Day dinners. The women who buy ourselves jewelry after making mistakes.

We are the women who have great sex with sexy men but wake up every morning with no cute text messages or funny notes. 

We are the women who’ve decided to bravely put love on the back burner. We know we’ll one day be partners of wonderful wild men. We might never get married but we know there’ll come a time when we’ll look into someone’s eyes and see a man who loves us.

We never for a second doubt that we deserve all this but we know that now is not that time, and we accept it with grace and patience. And we enjoy the ride. 

Couples in black and white romantic movies make us smile without wincing. We sing along to love songs on radios knowing that one day, one of them will be sung for us. We go to sleep every night happy no one’s taken our minds hostage and that no one is cheating on our hearts. We aren’t waiting. We aren’t still, or frozen with hope. We are in a constant state of motion, dedicating everyday to ourselves and the professional goals we ache for.

We are the women with huge hearts and empty beds, occasionally fulfilled by good men who are interested in our bodies but not in our lives. Who wants to know what we are doing but not HOW we are doing. 

Solitude can get deafening sometimes, but self-sufficiency is a trait even warriors have trouble mastering. And we do it every day. 

Carry your pride flag with you and know you’ll never be alone.

Beside you stands an army of women marching to the same heartbeat in bedrooms that are oceans and countries away, carrying the same promises to themselves throughout their days.

Never allow anyone to tell you what you should have, or who you should need.

And never let anyone tell you who you are allowed to fall in love with, allowed to sexually crave or allowed to miss. 

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Fuck. I Am Finally Over It. 

Before you read this and think it’s for you, I’m sorry but it’s not yours. It was written for me.

Every letter, each word that you see here is mine.

The tears that fell hard on the keys of this computer are not yours to touch. They fell solely for me. The last drop that fell from my cheek has now dried. The cleansing is done.

I have washed my soul. 

My memories are cast and the wind has taken the thoughts that compulsively span around my mind. My eyes no longer seek to catch sight of a love we once shared.

Fuck. I survived. Thank fucking God.

Thank the hours that I trembled, thank the cold hard floors that held my bones and thank the aches that tore through my stomach when you left me empty and raw. Thank loneliness.

Thank you.

I experienced it all.

I learned to feel love. I learned to feel numb. And I stumbled and crumbled and fell into a hole so deep I thought I would never be able to crawl out. It was brutal and it chaotically ravaged my soul.

Some people drink. Some smoke. Some binge eat. And some, like myself, love blindly and desperately. I guess each person kills herself differently.

And that’s what happened. I died. 

I lived under your spell. I was enchanted.

But your rejection, not only towards me, but also towards him, dealt vicious blows and brought me down onto my knees.

I cried out your name. I screamed so loud but no sound came out. No one heard and no one came to the rescue.

So, I mourned alone your death.

I didn’t know what was there at the end of our line. I was terrified to let go of the memories. I felt as if I had to hold on for him.

Then it hit me harder. There was nothing to hold on.  The loss happened a year ago when you told me the most cruel things I have ever heard. Those words drove me to hell and left me there to burn. For way longer than I could take.

I had to stand up and open my eyes. I’ve carried this pain for too long. I’ve taken you with me, all because I couldn’t let go, even though you were never really there.

Time heals. It soothes old wounds and patches up scars.

Time is ironic. Time brings strangers together to heal each other. 

Time teaches there’s no need to hold. Holding is heavy. Holding is agony. Holding prolongs all the pain.

Time forgets the things I rather remember. Time remembers the things I’d rather forget.

Time is messy and always gets confused.

But, time clears. Eventually.

Thank fuck. I’ve suffered enough, though my most of my injuries were self-inflicted.

But now, this is the last drop. I’m empty of you. And I am ready for the twists and turns the future might hold. 

I guess every pain has a silver lining.

We lost you.
But I finally found myself.

I was temporarily weakened but I am now permanently strengthened. 


To The Women Who Are Trouble

I have a girl friend from San Francisco. She is a lot like me. Free spirited, unpredictable, impulsive, caring and a lover. We talk quite a lot about how the world doesn’t like women like us.  We both know the problem: passionate, free thinking women are very difficult to manipulate and almost impossible to control. We simply don’t fit in.

This post is not only for me, but its for her and for all the passionate women who have a hard time adjusting to a world meant for quiet ladies.

So let me backtrack….

About a week ago I was at a bar when a friend of a friend, who I never met before, approached me and said that he “had heard of me” and that I am trouble. Those words have been on the back of my mind since. This was not the first time I have heard a man say I am trouble but this was the first time I actually stopped to think about it. Maybe it was because it came from a friend of someone I actually care about, and I assume he heard I am trouble from him.

I pondered upon that comment for days, over analyzing every word in every context, trying to understand what exactly did he mean by them. Were they just some friendly words complimenting me on my outgoing personality? Or was it a criticism of it, formed by information provided by my friend?

That’s when it dawned upon me that his words had nothing to do with me really and that I shouldnt take his words as a criticism but as a HUGE compliment. Especially coming from a man. His comment was simply a reflection of his standards (or/and my friend’s standards) of what a “good non trouble woman” is supposed to be.

But I am not that woman.

I will never be the soft spoken girl with flowery dresses and no opinion.

I will never be the girl with passive personality, who can wear white and not spill on it.

I will never be the girl who sits quietly in the back of the room and who is happy being the shadow of someone else.

I don’t don’t need permission when I act and I give out explanations because I want to, not because I owe them.

I will never choose a salad and a water over a steak and a scotch.

I will never be the girl who will settle for calm and quiet rather than passion and excitement.

I don’t want a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, boring Christmas cards and well groomed perfect children. I am perfectly content with my apartment in the city and being the single mother of a very wild child.

I will take single motherhood over an unhappy and submissive relationship any day.

I like long trips to exquisite destinations.

I like mind blowing sex and I am not afraid to ask for it.

I like deep intellectual conversations that heat up into a war of opinions. That’s my foreplay.

I am not looking for a rich man to support me. Stocks and luxury cars are for people who get boners from money.

And I would rather eat alone, than sit with women who bore me at “Wives’ Night.”

I am a lover.

I am wanderer.

I am questioner.

I am a feminist. An LGBT supporter. A political enthusiast.

I am an outspoken, LOUD,  free thinking, free spirited and free acting woman. I mean what I say and I do what I want. ALWAYS. And I am not looking for approval or validation.

And I get it that the world has little space for such women and that most guys lack the desire for such a relationship. But I am not here to please the world and I am not looking for most guys. I am here to pave the way and leave my footprints on the sands of time (yes, I just quoted Beyonce). And I am looking for a MAN who is not afraid of the challenge and who is excited to ride my troubled train and all the fun that the ride entitles.

Because in the end, I will never be a “good woman” by societal standards. I wasn’t born to be tamed or to fit into standard molds of womanhood. I was born to act according to my own set of rules.

And if that’s trouble, then I guess I am trouble as hell.


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No. My Son Will Not Date Models

This is not the first time this has happened. I was standing in line at the grocery store with my two year old son when the lady behind me looked at him and said: “He is so gorgeous. He is going to be a heart breaker.” She then turned to him and continued: “I bet you will only date models.”

I know most mothers would be flattered that a stranger thought her son was so adorable but I couldn’t help but feel insulted. Every bone in my body ached. As a woman and as his mother. No. I don’t want my son to be a heart breaker. No. I don’t think it’s cute to say that to a toddler. And I definitely don’t think it’s cute to say that he would only be interested in models.

I would like to make it clear that I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a model. Or any other career that revolves solely on one’s looks. There is also nothing wrong with being beautiful and caring about yourself. I would not be unhappy or disappointed if my son chose to marry a model. What would make me disappointed was if her looks or her modeling status were the reasons why he chose her.

To imply that it’s acceptable, and expected, for a man to be a heart breaker and choose women based on their looks is sexist to the infinite degree. It’s derogatory. It’s demeaning. And it’s ignorant. But her comments describe our society perfectly; and it’s not even her fault. That’s how she was raised to believe. That’s how most of us were all raised to believe. In her mind she was doing nothing but giving a cute baby a compliment. She failed to comprehend that her words fuel a society in which women are seen as disposable objects, categorized and valued by their looks rather than their IQ. This is particularly true in the city we live in.

The clueless grocery store lady also failed to comprehend that by referring to women with such little respect she was perpetuating a culture where women are meant to be conquests and trophies and where men are the selectors. Needless to say, the breaking of hearts and the selection of models are praised norms.

The moment that stranger said that I wanted to turn around and do nothing but scold her for her pejorative remarks. The 23 year old me would have said some pretty cold things right there and then. But I took a deep breath and I reminded myself that I was 28 going on 29. That I was a mother. And that it was only the first day of the month. Instead I just turned around and I said: “Actually, I am going to raise him so he grows up to be a man of substance and therefore will know how to choose women based on equal or higher qualities. Namaste.”

And I don’t even know why I said Namaste.

I don’t even like yoga.

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The Familar Stranger 

I met him in a beach town during a beach winter.

This was never our love story. It was MY love story. I lived it alone. Both the love and the pain.

I loved him unconditionally. I loved him desperately. I loved him purely.

But I was no angel.

My hands are dirty with all the mistakes I have made and all the unnecessary distress I have caused.

My shoulders are heavy with the weight of the guilt and the lessons I have painfully learned.

I was a wounded and damaged 23 year old child who know nothing about the real world. He already knew who he was and he had the experiences and the world in his hands.

I wanted grand gestures and proof of an unconditional love I wasn’t willing to give myself. I wanted passionate and dramatic fights. I wanted an adrenaline life fueled by chaos, which I thought was an antidote to tedious routines and dull relationships.

I was broken and didn’t even know.

He just wanted to come home to a calm house and to feel at peace in my arms. He wanted to focus on his job and not worry that I would ruin it all.

I loved him way more than he was ever capable of loving me. And that love, uncontrollable at its core, destroyed everything I was always terrified of losing.

I loved him and I bled knowing he didn’t love me back.

I loved the way I used to look up to him.

I loved the way I would ask him questions expecting the most intelligent answer.

I loved the deep conversations about politics and life and how it used to feel whenever he taught me something new.

I loved his roughness. His beard. His gray hair. His wrinkles. They were like scars, reminding the world of the battles he had fought and all the pain he had endured.

I loved his masculinity. But I would  disappointedly hurt every time it wasn’t enough to stop him from running away from his responsibilities.

I loved his bright mind as well as his darkness. Although I knew one day both would destroy me.

I loved his simplicity and the softness of his shaved head.

I loved his basic white shirts and how he cuffed his jeans; Just as much as I loved him in a suit and how classy and sophisticated he would look.

I loved the dive bars and the way he used to get dirty working on this bike.

I loved his smile but hated the immature faces he would make for pictures.

Maybe he thought it was cool. He was already so cool in my eyes.

I loved that he hated pretentiousness. Pretentious is now his middle name.

I loved how he hated serving people and wanted nothing but to stop.

I loved his strength but hated that it wasn’t enough to control me. I needed to be saved from myself, so I loudly and desperately screamed for his help.  But in the perpetual state of fear I put him in, all he heard was craziness.

I now wonder if his inability to handle me was his ultimate gift; it forced me to learn to handle myself.

I loved our bike rides to the beach and the endless summer we lived in. I loved his toned body and his dark tan. This tan is long gone now. A reminder of his new colder Northern life.

I loved the dreams but hated that somehow I could never make them reality.

I loved the tiny dimples under his eyes whenever happiness would take over the seriousness of his face.

I loved our chemistry, the sex, and how we just couldn’t get enough of each other. Ever. but I hated the fights, although I was mostly responsible for them.

But most importantly, I loved who he once was and I miss how perfectly I used to see him.

I now spend my days reliving the past through the eyes of my future.

The tiny big hands.

The exact dimples.

Every gesture.

Every look.

It all brings me back to that time and that person.

It’s the part of him that will always be mine. Just like the permanent wound that doesn’t show on my body but its deeper and more painful than anything that bleeds.

What happened to him? Where did he go?

I do know who he was is no longer here.

I hurt for the tiny part of him who never got the chance to meet his past and who will only hear the stories I will always fondly tell….

Of a man who once existed but is now long gone.

A body so familiar but whose new soul I haven’t met before.

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Top 10 Books by Women that Every Woman Should Read

It is quite an ordeal to pick few outstanding books from a pool of, well, amazingly outstanding books.
But once the task of compiling the list of some must-read books is accomplished, we can be rest assured that we have a treasure. These are the books that we can reach out to in times when nothing seems attainable.These books are our mentor that lend a guiding light when we can’t see much beyond the obvious.

And what could be better and more inspiring than having a collection of masterpieces written by some of the literary powerhouses themselves?
Below is a list of must read books for women that have been written by women.

Note: The list is based on my personal preference of books that have touched me in more ways than one. I hope the list resonates with you too.

1. The Bluest Eye and Beloved by Toni Morrison

“Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another—physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion.” ~ The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison is a writer who weaves poetry in prose. Read The Bluest Eye and one does not realize how the narration swiftly shifts from one character to another. Read Beloved and one would quietly move from being sad to inspired, all in a matter of few hours as one reads through the pages.

When to read: I read it during the times when I need intensity and gravity in life for these two books are immensely intense.

2. I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing by Maya Angelou

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing

Who would call this a debut novel? Maya has written the book with such finesse that it seems like a novel from a pro who has published at least 40 books before writing this one.

Deserted by her parents at a young age to live with her momma, Maya deals with abandon-ment, racism and sexual violence. Powerful as she is, she soon finds her way in the world through a journey of few ups and several downs. Maya finally finds her true love: William Shakespeare and writing.
When to read: In those times when we are looking for love. Anything to love. I fall in love each time I read I Know Why Caged Birds Sing. If not with anything else, I fall in love with Maya writings.

3. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” ~ A Room of One’s Own

One time reading is not sufficient to grasp the thoughts that went into the writing of this strong, feminist book. This is probably the best work one could get to read on women and fiction. She notes that had the women had financial independence and the fullest of the worldly experiences, we would have had more women novelists.

When to read: Writing a book or penning an article for a feminist magazine? Read the book and notice the change in your writing. This is my “writing-inspiration” source.

4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” ~ Jane Eyre

This quote explains how inspiring and strong willed the protagonist of this book, Jane Eyre would be. It is about a woman who refuses to be hopeless despite all the odds that surround her. One of the most inspiring books ever written.

It’s difficult to pick one book among the many written by the Bronte sisters because all of the books are epic in their own ways. But Jane Eyre is remarkably prominent among all the works of those times. It is not just an autobiography which makes the book more real, it is about feminism, a woman’s strong sense of conviction and her courage that keeps her hopeful through her longing for true love.
When to read: The book is meant for those break-days when we need some push in our life. Read on before starting up a new venture or when embarking on something new.

5. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ~ Diary of a Young Girl

A 13-year-old goes into hiding during the Nazi occupation of her country. She lives in hiding for about two years and makes a best friend—her diary whom she fondly calls Kitty.
Second world war as seen by a 13-year-old, who later dies at the age of 15 in a concentration camp, is narrated extremely poignantly in this tiny book. A captivating book not because of the horror that her family goes through but for the tremendous hope this young girl harbors despite being in a state where she has to fight for survival every single day.
When to read: I can’t suggest a good time for this book to be read. No matter when or where I read it, it always leaves me in tears.

6. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” ~ Their Eyes Were Watching God
A novel published in 1937 but if I read it today in 2015, it still seems so relevant.

Janie Crawford is a woman every free-spirited woman would love to be. I would love to be like Janie Crawford—strong, in love with herself and in love with life.

Who Will You Marry? You Won’t Believe The Accuracy!

When to read: Best time to read? On a wintery night so that next morning we wake up drenched in feelings of love, not just for our loved ones but ourselves too!

7. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.” ~ Eat, Pray, Love

When I was reading Eat, Pray, Love, I was so besotted by the book that I didn’t want it to end. I stopped reading it for few days only because I didn’t want it to be over. This is the magic of good writing.
Eat, Pray, Love is like a song. It makes me smile. It shows me dreams and it lets me know that “a broken heart means I have tried for something.”
When to read: Best for days when I feel nothing in my life is going right and I need to find mates who are sailing in the same boat. I find that mate in Eat, Pray, Love.

8. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” ~ Lean In

That is the powerful question Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, asks in her book. She lets women explore their capacities and encourages them to fight for their place in their career, which she calls a jungle gym.

Lean In is a must read book for every woman who feels she can do more but is frightened to try.
When to read: Read the book to emerge at your courageous best.

9. Bossypants by Tina Fey

“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” ~ Bossypants

If most of the books on this list left me in tears, this one surely cracked me up. Tina Fey has her own style of subtle humor that motivated me to love myself the way I am while it took me through Tina’s journey of life.

When to read: It is a book perfect for a long flight just to be assured that I won’t land sloppy.

10. Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

“Women are their own worst enemies. And guilt is the main weapon of self-torture…Show me a woman who doesn’t feel guilty and I’ll show you a man.” ~ Fear of Flying

In 1973 when the book was first published, it immediately became a national sensation. And it well deserved the honor. Erica coined the term Zipless F*ck in the book that almost all the women can relate to.
A married woman trapped in a sexless marriage gets into a steamy affair with another man. It is in this affair that she explores her fantasies which she couldn’t experiment in her legal marriage. A feminist book, Fear of Flying, talked about those things five decades ago that are still not openly and comfortably discussed.

When to read: A perfect book for a weekend read. Anytime, anywhere.
These are my top ten.

I know and totally understand that if I were to list down all the great books by women authors, I would have to start a new blog to write about them as no list could ever do justice to the vastness of the splendid literary genius achieved by women.

This surely leaves me profoundly proud that if Virginia Wolf were alive, she would have written a new cult book noticing women author soaring high into the sky of world of words.