Take more advice. It will help you.

In the last week I have written three blog posts that my editor told me are stupid. The first one was about the Olympics. April Ross, a silver medalist in beach volleyball, said that she quit playing indoor volleyball because the practices were too regimented. That made me realize that there are some professional sports that are entrepreneurial. Beach volleyball is one. The coach works for the players, instead of the other way around, and the players drum up their own money instead of receiving a paycheck from the team.

My editor said, “I hope you have a great photo for this post, because your readers generally don’t respond with much gusto when you write about entrepreneurship.”

This is true. So then I wrote a post titled, “I hate USA Today and I don’t fucking care if you’re sick of me ranting about how women cannot have it all. I’m still writing about it because I’m so pissed.”

I thought my editor would tell me to make the title shorter. But instead he told me that the only good thing about the post was the title. “You’ve said all this before,” he told me. Which is true. So  I got rid of the whole post, but I just want to tell you that what really pisses me off is USA Today has a front page article titled Tech Moms Say They Have It All! and in the photo of women who are examples of this is a women who is totally obese, and I just want to say that USA Today insults my intelligence when they think I’m going to believe that she has it all.

My editor got nervous that I was going to have another week with no post. I think he is feeling a little responsible at this point, since he keeps telling me my posts suck. He reminded me that people like when I tell stories.  He tried to write me some helpful emails where he suggests topics but I hate all his topics. I mean, I was a beach volleyball player because I don’t like to work for anyone, and that is true for writing, too. I never think other peoples’ ideas are good. And even if I do, I can somehow do mental gymnastics to believe the ideas are mine. Melissa reminds me of this all the time.

Like, I told her I have an idea for how to use Pinterest to drive traffic to my blog. And she said, “Yeah. That’s a good idea. It’s the idea I suggested to you a month ago and you said it was a bad idea.”

“Oh,” I said. “Well, it’s a good idea now. So will you do it?”

And she did. She is used to me taking her ideas and saying they are mine.

So I told my editor that I’d write a story about what happened in the last week. I said, “I think I’ll write about how you had a nervous breakdown and I told you to go on meds.”

He said, “Okay.”

It’s unclear if it’s really okay because he told me that his wife is sick of me, which I can understand. I mean, I did, at one point, tell him to quit his day job and come work at my startup and then I declared, in our office, and on 20/20 (yes,  on 20/20) that he was overpaid and then I fired him. So of course his wife hates me. And I don’t think she wants to hear that I told him to go on meds, but really I care about him so much. I mean, look, he’s the guy who can edit a story about me getting beaten up without asking me if I’m okay. I really love that about him.

So what happened this week is that things really felt like they were going to hell for me. First, I wanted my kids to see the Olympics, but we don’t have a TV. At this point, I’m not sure why we don’t have a TV except that I’ve never had one. My parents were pretty much just too negligent to get a TV. They just didn’t realize that every other family had one and also they just left me and my brother a credit card in the drawer in the dining room to buy whatever we wanted but we never thought of buying appliances. Which is what I think TVs were called in the 70’s.

So we don’t have a TV at my house now, but I want my kids to understand the importance of aiming high and specializing, so I wanted them to see the Olympics. So the Farmer suggested that we take them to the bar.

“What? What are you talking about?”

He reminded me that in Wisconsin, you can take your kids to any bar. It’s like owning a gun. It’s your god-given libertarian right to mess up your life with firearms or alcohol or whatever you want. As long as you don’t need an abortion.

I told the Farmer no. And that he’s insane to think we are going to the bar. I mean, the next thing you know the kids will grow up and run a meth lab.

You know where we saw US women’s soccer win? The bar.

I told my kids no Sprite. I let them drink soda on special occasions but I didn’t want them to associate bars with great drinks. That’s where I drew the line.

I have to say though that the bar was great. It turns out that all the games the drunkards like are games that kids like. And all the food that goes well with beer also goes well with TV.

Which brings me back to my editor. He is having a breakdown and he told me he needed a coaching session.

I said, “Okay. I charge $250 an hour.”

I told him I was just kidding. I told him he gets the friends and family discount (free) even though he tells me all my posts suck.

(Wait. Please, before 500 of you email me asking for the friends and family discount, unless I have been to a bar mitzvah that you either chanted in or paid for then you don’t count as family or my friend and you don’t get a discount.)

So he tells me that he hates his job.

“How can you hate your job? You are a compliance enforcer, which is perfect for your controlling nature. And you have tons of time to edit my posts during the day.”

“I don’t try at anything I do.”

“Really? I thought the only time you did that was when you worked for me.”

“No. It’s just that you were the only boss who ever noticed.”

“Why don’t you try harder?”

“I don’t know. I’ve been telling myself I have to care, that I should be able to care. I’ve been telling myself not to check out just because I can.”

Now there is a big part of the conversation I am not writing, where he talks about his home life falling apart because, basically, he is an asshole to his wife, inadvertently, because he checks out every time marriage gets even a little bit hard.

So I say, “Why are you such an asshole to her?”

He says, “I don’t know. I’ve tried talk therapy. I know I don’t want to be like this. I want to care more. I love her so much.”

That’s my cue. I know that if you want to care and you can’t care it’s probably depression. So I told him to get medication. It turns out that I was not the first person to suggest medication. He had a mother with a mental disorder (example: she left him alone in the house for whole days at a time when he was four). And a lot of people with very poor parenting are chronically depressed.

So he finally took the advice he’d been getting for a while. And he says he is happier. And although he has not expressed that in the editing of my posts, I believe him. Because in five years I have never heard him so upbeat about himself or the future.

We have a rule with my blog posts that if they are not useful to the reader then they go in my diary, not on the blog. The blog is a conversation where I am useful to the reader in exchange for me having someone to talk to.

So my editor is going to ding this post if I don’t get useful right now: You have to take advice. A lot of people want to do things alone, they know everything. Other peoples’ ideas are stupid. But I have to tell you that the reason I do so well in life even though I’m not always conventional or tolerable or right. I take advice really well.

I let my editor cut my posts.

I let Melissa tell me how to use Pinterest.

I let the Farmer tell me when I’m acting like a rich-kid snot-face and I should get off my high horse.

And it’s not just me. Everyone can benefit from listening to other people’s advice. Look: My editor is happy and he’s letting me run my post.



96 replies
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  1. my honest answer
    my honest answer says:

    “the reason I do so well in life even though I’m not always conventional or tolerable or right. I take advice really well.”

    I have to disagree with this. You do well in business, sure. But given the state of your relationship I don’t think you can claim to be doing well in life. This post contains a link to a recent article about violence in your home.

    If you would take my advice the least of your problems is your kids going to a bar to watch the Olympics (I really see nothing wrong with this). It’s the relationships they see being modelled at home that will cause issues (I see a lot wrong with this).

    And I’m sorry for being negative, but like you say, sometimes people need to tell us straight.

  2. Rachel D.
    Rachel D. says:

    Change is the answer….not meds

    Meds prevent you from using your emotions to work things out and change things that need changing. They just numb the truth, and then a lot of people become suicidal.

    Figure out what needs changing and change it. This is scarier than meds, so people take the meds.

    I’ve also seen people drink themselves to death for the same reasons. They start numbing the pain with booze, instead of working life with their emotions as a guide. They never change, just keep drinking, and die in their own filth and insanity…..all because they didn’t want to face change.

    • D
      D says:

      This is such nonsense. When you suffer from depression, the “things that need changing” are that you have no interest in life. You’re not sad, it’s just that everything is boring and you aren’t motivated to even get out of bed.

      Your ability to perceive the world is severely compromised. Would you tell a schizophrenic to go off meds?

      • Rachel D.
        Rachel D. says:

        My comments are only based on personal experience and what I have witnessed in others in my own life.

        After seeing the destructive nature of self-medicating and prescribed meds in people I know personally, I promised myself to always try change first. So far that has brought about the best results for me.

        Some of us are raised to avoid feelings and change by our parents, and then we’re led to believe there is a psychological imbalance, when, in fact, it was just bad role models growing up.

        Instead of medicine, I think learning how to face your feelings, acknowledging that what we’ve been told growing up is all wrong, and then being empowered to change would be more useful for most people.

        Also, some people would rather be told they are mentally ill, than to have to actually participate in controlling their own lives.

        • D
          D says:

          No ones’ advocating self-medication. I’ve gotten great results from anti-depressants. The idea that they “prevent you from using your emotions to work things out” has not been my experience at all. I’m much more emotionally self-aware on SSRIs.

          Depression is more about the absence of emotion than repression of emotions. If nothing is fulfilling to you, why bother?

  3. Stephen Dedalus
    Stephen Dedalus says:

    “…in the photo of women who are examples of this is a women who is totally obese, and I just want to say that USA Today insults my intelligence when they think I’m going to believe that she has it all.”

    First of all, no one in the photo is visibly obese. Second of all, even if one woman out of the ten in the photo is obese, how could that possible generalize? Third of all, do you honestly believe a woman with a great career and family life doesn’t “have it all” if her body isn’t a certain shape?

      • Kerry
        Kerry says:

        I see some pregnant women in that photo. I don’t see any obese women.

        Even if there were obese woman, I think pointing it out is kind of a cheap shot…and normally I look to this blog for expensive shots, not cheap ones.

        • karelys
          karelys says:

          This part just take from the perspective that Penelope is very preoccupied with weight.

          Other than that, yeah, you can’t have it all still. But if you convince yourself that there are 4 most important things you want and your lifestyle provides for those things then it feels like you have it all.

          • redrock
            redrock says:

            really? How do you know? They are sitting around a table and for most of them their body shapes can at most be guessed at because they are not seen in the photo.

          • Lilly26
            Lilly26 says:

            Hi Redrock,

            Thank you for your comment. I carefully considered it. I also carefully considered the picture. Let me clarify: based on what I can see, I would not want a body of any of the women, based on what I can see, from the waist up. Thank you for respecting my opinion about what I want for myself.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        Thanks for the link, Stephen. That’s the photo. I should have linked to it the first time. So I added it into the post now.

        That said, I think it is absolutely ridiculous that we are discussing whether or not fat women “have it all”. We do not have a clear definition of “have it all” of course. But I think it’s safe to say that no woman in the world wants to be fat. So when a woman thinks about having everything in her life that she really wants, not being fat is really high up there.

        Being fat is a big problem in our culture because we discriminate against fat people in a big way. We are not going to debate here if that’s okay. It’s a moot point. Because you cannot “have it all” if you are a person who is widely discriminated against for something people *perceive* that you can change.

        Also, while I’m ranting about fat women, don’t tell me that this fat woman in the photo is pregnant. Because whatever the definition of “having it all” means, it definitely includes having the number of kids you want and the career you want. And if you are pregnant you have not done that. You are in the middle of trying. You don’t actually know if you are capable of keeping the job you want when you have the number of kids you want. So if she’s pregnant she is not appropriate as an example of women who “have it all”.


        • jane
          jane says:

          A woman doesn’t have to look a certain way to “have it all’. In fact, it is a very sexist and discriminatory idea that in order be successful and/or “have it all”, whatever that means, a woman has to be stick-thin and beautiful.

          While no woman in this society actively wants to be fat, for many women being thin isn’t that important – and not a significant impediment to “having it all”.

          • Kelly
            Kelly says:

            I truly appreciate your ability to write exactly what you think and be “naked”.

            I usually lose interest in blog posts quickly and this is the only one I eagerly open up to read what controversial statement will be made and debated this week.

            Love Love- keep it up.
            BTW- some people do choose to be fat. Some people are more comfortable being discriminated against than to put themselves out there and actually attempt to be themselves and accomplish something and be uncomfortable.

          • Lilly26
            Lilly26 says:

            Men and women, friends and strangers, treat me substantially differently if I am heading towards being slightly overweight or looking really good (thinner).

        • hsg
          hsg says:

          I really think you are projecting your own obsession and insecurity with weight here. If you think that simply being fat is a failure of such proportions that it can cancel out every other happiness or success in a woman’s life… well, that a) wrong, and b) more of a problem for you than for the successful, happy fat women.

          • Penelope Trunk
            Penelope Trunk says:

            The discussion of “having it all” requires a common definition of what that is. For example, as many women can be happy not having kids as can be happy being overweight.

            The discussion of “having it all” is having all the things most women want instead of having to give some of them up. Most women want to be thin.

            So the discussion of “having it all” is about having kids. And the discussion of having it all is about not being fat.


          • Advisor
            Advisor says:

            No, the discussion of ‘having it all’ is about not having to choose between work and family, not some mythological idea of things most people think it’d be nice to have.

          • Helene K
            Helene K says:

            The discussion about having it all is pointless. Nobody have it all. Its such a huge generalization that it becomes pointless using it as an argument.

            Futhermore, putting “having it all” in the same (garbage) bin as being tech mom and having weight issues is uninteresting.

            Those two issues is unrelated, and if they are related, they are private and subjective and will only apply for that specific person.

        • ED
          ED says:

          “Because whatever the definition of “having it all” means, it definitely includes having the number of kids you want and the career you want. And if you are pregnant you have not done that. You are in the middle of trying.”

          The logic in this passage verges on the bizarre. Ms. Trunk, you’ve written some truly brilliant posts recently (the one on leadership and on the new publishing landscape, especially), but I encourage you to stay away from these kinds of posts. They are, to be blunt, abusive to your readers (and like I said, somewhat bizarre). I don’t know if kindness figures into your definition of “having it all” or if it is even a value for you at all, but if not, you should consider looking into it. Please do not blog in such an intimate manner about your editor EVEN IF HE SAYS IT IS OK, as it is disturbing and unkind.

  4. Theresa Kraft
    Theresa Kraft says:

    Hi Penelope, Must tell you again I LOVE READING YOUR STUFF you crack me up… in a good way. And love how you wrote – how you have a hate / hate relationship with your editor, your on a roll. I too despise it when women say, “they have and do it all” they’re liars especially to themselves. Tell Melissa to add those logo icons on your Pinterest header so that it really does link back to your
    blog/website. TGIF

  5. Harriet May
    Harriet May says:

    I am learning to take advice, I think, but only just. My dad takes no advice, he can’t work for anyone but himself, he can’t even watch a documentary without making some rhetorical correction to the tv screen. Some of this has rubbed off on me, I think, but I am also paralyzed by the fact that I know so little. I mean, if anyone needs advice it’s me. But I still haven’t learned to ask questions, which I know is important skill number one because I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now. So I try to ask questions really slowly, so I can give myself time to form them in a coherent fashion and hope they make sense. It’s a lot of work, but if I do it right I can take a break and just listen for awhile– maybe even get some advice.

  6. Sarahnova
    Sarahnova says:

    Okay, now, I swear to God, you are just deliberately trolling. You announce that a woman can’t possibly feel she has it all because you have judged her obese?

    • Clinton
      Clinton says:

      I guess from my own experience I agree with Penelope.

      I overeat because it’s gives me pleasure.
      If I “had it all”, I guess I don’t think I would need food as a source of pleasure.
      So, my overeating means I don’t “have it all”.

      (I’ve often heard it described as, “overeating is a sign of stress in life”.)

      So, I agree. Obesity is a sign of not “having it all”.

      (Of course IMO “not having it all” is unrelated to value as a person.)

      • Stephen Dedalus
        Stephen Dedalus says:

        1. Not everyone who is obese overeats.

        2. It is ridiculous to say that people who “have it all” i.e., are successful in their professional and their domestic lives don’t eat as a “source of pleasure”. Many of them go to fancy restaurants!

    • Margaret
      Margaret says:

      When I see women who are overweight, I often see people who have taken very bad advice. Most people who are overweight have tried to lose that weight for years. They fail because most diet advice is horrible (eat less meat and fat, for instance, is bad but extremely common advice), and often makes people fatter and sicker. So maybe the moral of the story is to be discriminatory about the advice we take.

    • Hazel
      Hazel says:

      Trolling or her editor was so distracted by being the focus of the end of the post, he forgot to edit out the obviously inappropriate comment.

      Penelope, can you imagine how you would feel about a blogger who said something so judgmental about a video clip of someone with Asperger’s?

      • jennie
        jennie says:

        This is a good point. If obesity means a woman can’t “have it all” surely any other health issue like aspergers, cancer, IBS, or anything that infringes on health and happiness means a woman doesn’t have it all. That probably discounts most people from ever having it all, but it doesn’t prevent them from balancing work and family life effectively.

  7. Clinton
    Clinton says:

    I want to “be right” so badly it threatens to ruin my life.
    ha – Sometimes I think I should tattoo “Be dumb like a fox” on my hand

  8. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Again, I love this post today! So true about depression, my ex-husband only got treatment for his depression after I left the relationship. For all those years I thought I did something wrong and wasn’t good enough. I was used to it as my parents both have depression and I did not ever feel good enough growing up! I also need to take more advice and just start asking for it! I get afraid to ask as I know it’s something I don’t want to hear, but growth is better than being stagnant!!

  9. Tzipporah
    Tzipporah says:

    “I never think other peoples’ ideas are good. And even if I do, I can somehow do mental gymnastics to believe the ideas are mine.”

    I thought I was the only one who did that!!

  10. karelys
    karelys says:

    your pinterest is breathtaking!!!

    and my brain feels massaged by the organization of topics with beautiful pictures!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Oh, hooray! I’m glad you like it. It takes me so long to figure out how to do something new with my blog. So it’s a big deal to me that you like it. Thanks. And, also, Melissa will be happy to hear that people like it. She is, after all, the Pintrest maven.


      • Helen W
        Helen W says:

        Can I pay Melissa to help me with Pinterest for my own business? The final frontier of social media….can people stop inventing new social media sites for God’s sake?

  11. My Virtual Neighbor
    My Virtual Neighbor says:

    It’s true about taking advice; some things have to be taken lightly but you have to be willing to listen.

    As for the depression, I’ve known some people who dealt with it and it can sneak up on you.

    It’s always great to have a community of people to talk to or a few people. It sounds like you were a good friend on top of being a colleague!

  12. downfromtheledge
    downfromtheledge says:

    I never could get used to working in small towns. The teachers go to the local bar and get served beer by students, who then watch them get in their car drunk and drive off!

    We just can’t overlook this gem, because it really is precious:

    “It’s like owning a gun. It’s your god-given libertarian right to mess up your life with firearms or alcohol or whatever you want. As long as you don’t need an abortion.”

  13. Lisa P
    Lisa P says:

    If you can’t stop talking about how women can’t have it all, maybe you should write a book about it. I would read it.

  14. Trey
    Trey says:

    So by definition, no fat woman can “have it all” because no woman chooses to be fat, and society discriminates against fat people. By that standard, no women who is short, gay, black, over 40, or anything less than drop-dead gorgeous can “have it all” either.

    These women, none of whom have harmed you, have the audacity to feel good about themselves. Why does that piss you off?

    • Charlotte
      Charlotte says:

      Society does not feel that these things – short, gay, black, over 40, or anything less than drop-dead gorgeous are an active choice therefore these women can have it all.

  15. Erica Peters
    Erica Peters says:

    I can see why you’re annoyed with USA Today. The article plays up the ridiculous claim that these women “have it all.” But really only Adi Tatarko made that claim.

    The other women took pride in how much they had accomplished, while recognizing that certain sacrifices or trade-offs were inevitable: “…just having a few minutes to ourselves”; “you can have two of the following three — friends, family and work;” the husbands who say how much they enjoy watching the children grow up (with the implication that their power-wives don’t get that joy).

    There’s such a thing as counting one’s blessings, and that’s a good thing. And there’s such a thing as trying to ride a manufactured controversy, and that’s what I see in the USA Today piece (and perhaps in the post your editor made you cut). But I liked the post you ended up with, so thank you!

    I would love if you would write about this:
    >> I can somehow do mental gymnastics to believe the ideas are mine >>

    I think that’s key for many of us — rephrasing or reconceptualizing any good advice so it feels like it was our own idea. Got any tips on how to do that consciously?

  16. redrock
    redrock says:

    It all depends on the definition of having it ALL. If you include super-gorgeous looks, rich husband, great high-powered job, 2 beautiful kids, nice well-kempt house in a great school district, and a hobby which fulfills your art or musical yearnings – yeah, then it might be cheaper to watch a movie. Nobody ever has it ALL.

  17. Cheryl Wahlheim
    Cheryl Wahlheim says:

    While I don’t disagree with premise of your article; I only just got the job I have always wanted at age 59, I do take exception with your portrayal of Julia Hartz as “obese”. Did you forget she just had a baby last December? I know it always took me a year to get rid of baby weight so give her break on that, please!

  18. Daniel Baskin
    Daniel Baskin says:

    Hey. Actually, I agree with your article and like it. Props. Don’t stop making observations in a raw-as-daylight way. Disjointed is only bad if the thread of thought is unfollowable or strays in the off direction too long. It is a cool way to write sometimes in that the reader, I, saw it all synthesize in the end.

    And taking advice well is different from obeying advice well. It’s better to allow yourself to hear any advice than to force yourself into obeying advice. The latter only makes it more difficult to get advice in the future. (I’m saying this more for other commenters).

  19. Daniel Baskin
    Daniel Baskin says:

    Then again, to take advice well, you need to get in the habit of making those who give you ideas feel good about those ideas. (i.e., not make them feel like the idea is necessarily dumb). But of course, you need to be honest too, otherwise trying to be nice all the time will disincentivise yourself from being honest.

  20. Katelyn
    Katelyn says:

    Love this post, and it gives me (or, ahem, you) an idea for another potential post.

    Explain to idiots like me how you know mental illness exists. Depression and anxiety correlate with a number of nutritional deficiencies. Kids with autism who have GI symptoms tend to respond to special diets with significant behavioral improvements. How do you know what you’re calling mental illness isn’t (a) underlying physical illness, with mental symptoms, or (b) healthy rather than unhealthy response to an unhealthy world?

    If it’s (a) or (b), you want to treat the physical problem or change the world. Not take a pill to lower the volume on an alarm that’s going off as if to tell you something.

    • Lisa P
      Lisa P says:

      I think the men who try to “have it all”, are most likely to have “nuclear sanctions” put against them. Do they care? Yes, they would rather people be nice and just surrender already.

  21. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    Hi…I just wanted to invite you to my bar mitzvah…It’s really going to be awesome…I’ve paid for the whole thing and I have this chant I’ve written….


  22. Helene K
    Helene K says:

    None of the women in the tech article is obese. I think you are projecting your own issues on them (and I’m not saying you are obese, I’m saying you may have some unresolved issues/unhealthy views in regards to weight).

  23. Anna
    Anna says:

    The blog is a conversation where I am useful to the reader in exchange for me having someone to talk to.

    That’s a good phrase… That is exactly what a blog is.

  24. Rebecca@MidcenturyModernRemodel
    Rebecca@MidcenturyModernRemodel says:

    Well, I am not sure what I like more about this post:
    1) That it digressed into a huge discussion about weight, Penelope’s problems with weight and can fat people have it all considering they are fat and that is automatically not having it all?
    2) Pinterest: I really liked the way Melissa (or you or both) set up the Pinterest board. The comments are good and driving back to the post is excellent. I started playing around with it too and need to stay on top of it. I get some traffic from Pinterest so I know if I focused more it would work. Good example of how to do this! Thanks!

  25. Joselle
    Joselle says:

    Having it all is a myth so who cares if fat people (or, really, women) have it all? “Have it all” needs to be retired. It’s as lame as when people say “Think out of the box.” Puke.

    She seems to be doing okay: http://www.gabifresh.com/

    This is just your eating disorder talking, PT. PROJECTIONS times a million.

  26. Dannielle
    Dannielle says:


    Another great post, and very timely. I think you should let yourself write more. Do you need so much editing? You have an amazing gift.


  27. Joan
    Joan says:

    Um, too many American’s are overweight. Being overweight causes health issues, this puts pressure on your lifestyle, your family and your expenditure. Who wants that?

    Who cares about body image? (which is powerful, I love fashion mags and of course I would love to look better in clothes). I am happy. I am healthy, but if I was overweight and my health was affected that would be hugely depressing.

    Come on people the western world has a health epidemic here, don’t be delusional and say you’re happy to be that way, that’s just lazy and selfish.

  28. Anca
    Anca says:

    “You have to take advice.”

    I’m surprised your editor didn’t make you phrase that better. He didn’t take your advice to medicate because “You have to take advice.” He took it because he had a problem he finally wanted to solve and your advice was a reinforcement of previous advice he had gotten at times when he hadn’t been ready to receive it. So the take-away should have been something about being observant enough to notice when you become open to advice and when the advice is expressed in a way that really makes sense to you.

    I have a feeling this is a common phenomenon, and stories illustrating it would have made a much better post. (For example, I’ve never been concerned with dental health and no longer even felt guilty when the dentist tells me to floss since my teeth are fine. But I’m reading a book about how not to suck at being a raw foodist, such as avoiding the common horrible dental problems. I now finally understand plaque and I went out and bought an electric toothbrush and brush my teeth religiously and correctly.)

  29. Melita
    Melita says:

    Women can’t bloody have it all and I am pissed too! I know you have written about it before, but I only just did – yesterday, here (for anyone who gives a damn): http://bit.ly/Ny3WQU
    And I love advice. I always ask for advice – from friends, family, strangers even. Sometimes their advice sucks, but it always, somehow, helps me make my decisions.

    • amy
      amy says:

      Yes, I agree. I think by “obese” she means 15 pounds overweight. And everyone is so hidden behind the table in this picture, I’m not quite sure how one could even judge this. Bizarre is the right right word.

      It’s also just plain mean. But I guess Penelope has never aimed to be nice, gentle, whatever, so perhaps we shouldn’t hold her to a standard of niceness.

  30. Tulio
    Tulio says:

    Awesome post Penelope. Taking advice is a great example of Paretos principle. Being humble and learning from others who have been down a path will bring great achievements with very few effort.

  31. MA
    MA says:

    “I have a great job and a great family. I have it all.”

    “No you don’t. You weigh 140 pounds.”

    “But I’m happy!”

    “No you’re not. You’re a fat loser. You’re just too dumb to realize how miserable you are. That will be $250.”

    • Terry
      Terry says:

      It is so much more cynical that a reach for $250. This was the most ‘controversial’ (assuming that any sane person thinks that tormenting fat people is okay) item in the post, so of course it gets promoted to Tweet and hopefully will strike a spark somewhere else. Who knows? She may have hoped that taking kids to a bar or linking guns/alcohol/abortion (all legal in all states) would be the popular winner. At least her editor didn’t have to take another bullet for the team.

  32. amy
    amy says:

    …and, it goes without saying, you can’t be ugly either. So that means you, Ms. Trunk. Give up now, and save yourself a lot of misspent effort.

    this reader, has read this blog (which has been sometimes great) for the last time.

  33. Angie D
    Angie D says:

    Hi Penelope. Haven’t been here in a while. Glad to see you’re still coming up with some good advice AND provoking people at the same time. And I’m not being facetious in saying this.

    Listening to others’ whose opinion you value is generally a good idea. And when more than one of them says the same thing? A good time to prick up the ears and take heed.

    Thanks for an interesting post.

  34. thandi
    thandi says:

    I think depression is a symptom of other problems like self-hate/ self esteem issues. Those women are not fat let alone Obese just a bit overwight. And you’re right fat people get discriminated against mostly by Idiots and skinny women with their own self-hate and body image issues. What other people do or say should never affect your happiness all that much that’s what I believe. I also believe you’re hard on women and sometimes great and realistic like that article on being sure of yourself in your twenties. And I agree no-one can have it all. Atleas not at the same time.

  35. Sunny
    Sunny says:

    Your editor could benefit from skipping the meds.

    Try a change in diet – at least drop all the sugars and highly processed foods and increase brain boosting foods.

    A change in diet can solve a lot of problems.

  36. Ashley A
    Ashley A says:

    “This is true. So then I wrote a post titled, “I hate USA Today and I don’t fucking care if you’re sick of me ranting about how women cannot have it all. I’m still writing about it because I’m so pissed.”

    I thought my editor would tell me to make the title shorter. But instead he told me that the only good thing about the post was the title. “You’ve said all this before,” he told me. Which is true. So I got rid of the whole post, but I just want to tell you that what really pisses me off is USA Today has a front page article titled Tech Moms Say They Have It All! and in the photo of women who are examples of this is a women who is totally obese, and I just want to say that USA Today insults my intelligence when they think I’m going to believe that she has it all.”

    Penelope, women can have it all. You do! Children, husband, success, money, talent. How can you say you don’t and women can’t? You’re a role model to me!!!!!

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