Like all human beings, I’m an Amy Poehler fan. Parks and Recreation never fails to make me laugh out loud, and I admire Amy’s brash attitude and feminist outlook. So when her first book, ‘Yes Please,’ was recently released, I jumped at the opportunity to
read devour it.
I assumed that this book would fulfill the expectations of Amy that I already had in place. It didn’t. The more I read, the more I realized that Amy is genuinely, unapologetically herself, and she won’t fit into any archetype—even my own. I was surprised to discover that she certainly isn’t perfect, nor is she pretending to be.
I’d imagined Amy to be somehow different than the rest of us. Regardless of if we intend to or not, we create dialogues that surround our favorite celebrities, and that was the case for Amy and I. She epitomizes the rare breed of female celebrity who deserves fame. She challenges gender norms, pushes herself, and pokes fun at the world, all the while radiating positivity and graciousness. While Amy does touch upon some of her coveted secrets to becoming kick-ass in her book, there’s more than meets the eye.
‘Yes Please’ reveals the other side of Amy…the side we tend to forget about. She’s fallible. She’s human. She’s wise because of her age and her experience; not because she’s endowed with some kind of superhuman knowledge that the rest of us lack. Like everyone else, she’s learning as she goes. Here are my main takeaways from her book, which I recommend you read yourself.
- She’s harsher than I thought. That no-bull-shit attitude doesn’t simply surface during Leslie Knope rants. Amy won’t stop for anybody. She is stubborn and strong-willed. She owns every ounce of her success, unabashedly. This initially startled me. it’s not often that we hear women whole-heartedly, not-so-humbly claim their own achievements in this way. Amy isn’t soft spoken, and fuck you if you expect her to be.
- Ambivalence is important. Amy believes that indifference can help you succeed. She claims that by not caring too much about the outcome of her work, she was able to continue on her career path unencumbered by expectations. Hmm…I was a bit dubious about this at first. Working at Nike WHQ, it’s clear that wanting it is a prerequisite to success. But Amy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. She means you should do the best you can, and walk away at the end of the day. Don’t be attached to the outcome.
- The best way to build success is by living in the moment. I definitely agree with her perspective here. While change is the only constant in life, we can’t take full advantage of the present if we aren’t committed to exising in the here and now. The best way to build success is by seizing the moment. Living in the past or future will get you nowhere…and it’s a headache!
- At the root of true feminism is Amy’s mantra: “Good for her, not for me.” I know how easy it is to resort to criticizing the behavior and lifestyles of women who differ from your own. But when we judge and label other women, we’re doing a disservice to all women—including ourselves. By succumbing to this behavior, we’re continuing a cycle of women-bashing-women that dabilitizes us from building a better, fairer future for us all (men included). Sure, I may not understand why sliding down a stripper pole makes you feel empowered. Is it okay that you do? Yes.
- Life is hard and beautiful. If you know me, you understand. Life is certainly not easy. It can be dark and gloomy and strange and unexpected. But in the midst of all that, there is always beauty. There is always goodness. In the concluding paragraph of her book, Amy writes, “The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are.” It’s a pleasant reminder for us all. Now go hug your mom.