This week’s featured book is ‘Miss To Bitch To MA’AM’ by Robin Hesselgesser.
Robin Hesselgesser is an author, nationally recognized artist, reverend, podcast host, and motivational speaker and authenticator. An entrepreneur herself, she has guided female entrepreneurs helping them find what they want from their lives and their careers. Robin is also working on a business concept, HOWSE. (How Other Women Support & Empower.). The business will reach out and grow a community of women who wish to gather to support and encourage themselves and one another in their relationships, work, family and purpose. For more information: www.RJHesselgesser.com
This is her interview.
What is your book about?
Every woman has a secret and very often it is that secret that prevents a woman from getting what she wants. The book shares the secrets of extraordinary women revealed through stories of pain, fear, sexism, insecurity, and ageism that will inspire you to ask for and get what you want in your life. Behind every secret lies a broken dream. For example, my client Diana worked at the same company for over 20 years. One day she went to work like any other and she was called into HR and she was let go. She was fired. Suddenly everything had changed and what was she going to do when she got out of bed the next morning?
Diana’s secret was that she had always wanted to open her own bakery. But she never told anyone. She thought her husband and her friends would make fun of her.
So, the book helps you dig up that dream, and resurrect it. Diana opened her bakery and can’t believe she didn’t do it sooner. The book was written for everybody like Diana.
Why did you want to write this book?
I had to come to terms with how my secret had held me back from getting what I want. I started a group for women because I felt like if I was struggling getting what I wanted and needed and permission to ask for it, that I might not be alone. I found out I wasn’t. And then there’s the age thing. Older men are woodsy, full-bodied, aged, classic, refined, appreciated, and dating younger women. Women are curdled, gravity-ridden, older, bitter, devalued and sex-less. Or are we?
What I want people to realize is that some think that once you realize your secret and tell it, that the clouds will part, the sun will shine, and dreams will automatically happen. Maybe you want to go to Africa, open a bakery, be a writer, or be a movie star so you move to Hollywood, plant yourself on the corner waiting to get discovered. Things won’t magically happen. There is a system. There are steps and that is why I wrote the book.
What was the most difficult part about writing the book? The most rewarding?
Surprisingly, the answer for both is the same. Life tends to be that way doesn’t it? Even through lots of crap great opportunities can present themselves. The most difficult part was sharing my story. Someone once said, “There are lots of ways to get into a pool, but using the stairs isn’t one of them.” I knew I had to jump in if my book was going to be effective. Women had to know that I am someone they can relate to because I have been through a lot of what they have. I know what it’s like to experience pain, doubt, and insecurity. I know what it feels like to have been abused…by someone I was supposed to be able to trust. I have failed. I have been in some dark places but through insight and authenticity I had to admit that every chapter of my story was important and got me here. I like here. But sometimes when we feel like we tell our secret that suddenly we will get what we need but that doesn’t always happen. It isn’t always welcome. I am human just like you. I want to be heard, understood, and accepted. So, sharing my secret has been far from easy, but it has been the most rewarding.
What do you hope other people will take away from reading your book?
Women…we can be our own worst enemy. We can be catty and judgmental and hard on ourselves and one another. We hold ourselves to impossible standards, hold on to guilt and often make decisions based on insecurities. We become so many things to other people…wives, mothers, friends, caretakers, girlfriends, bosses, employees, etc. But as we age, it is easy to lose our authentic selves. We blink and realize it’s been a long time since someone has checked in to see how we’re doing, and we aren’t good at checking in with ourselves. However, by that time we might be starting to come to terms with the perceptions of society and aging women. Who will want us? What can we do? This society is all about the youth and beauty, desirability, influence, and usefulness are unfortunately attached to youth. But it doesn’t have to be that way. So, I hope that after reading the book, women can give themselves permission to be and do whatever they want. To pick up the broken dreams and go for it EVEN if they don’t find permission, support, and encouragement from the people they wish they would. They can start a new tribe and I’ll always be a part of it.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I believe in the validity of all the wrong turns as much as I do the right ones. So, I would just tell myself not to be afraid of the journey and that what I feel and what I know are not always the same thing.
What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
Don’t be critical as you go. Just start writing and if you let your heart and gut do the writing, that’s the story.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the beginning of your writing journey?
Gosh, I’m still learning but I guess that the most important thing is to practice faith. Sometimes it doesn’t come naturally, and I tend to want to control an outcome.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I have my ‘Curdled Milk’ podcast that I do twice a week. I am a minister and perform weddings and life ceremonies. I also am a nationally recognized artist and love creating paintings. Because of the pandemic I am not traveling right now but I miss the events where I was a motivational speaker or showing my work at an art show. I also am an authenticator and have a busy coaching business. Oh, AND I’m enjoying being a first-time grandma…my grandson is just two months old!
What’s next for you?
I am working on a sequel for the book Miss To Bitch To MA’AM. I also am ready to launch a brand-new business called HOWSE (How Other Women Support and Empower) which hosts experiential workshops nationwide to bring women together to learn new skills, and thrive in a social, creative, and empowering lifestyle.
How can our readers get a copy of your book?
It’s available on Amazon and on my website, rjhesselgesser.com
What is the best way for our readers to connect with you?
The best way is probably through my website rjhesselgesser.com. The links to my social media pages as well as the Curdled Milk podcast are all there.
Excerpts from book
We have been conditioned to appreciate a woman who is feminine, soft, sweet and gentile. She should be smaller than her male counterpart both physically and in her personality. If she is sexy, she isn’t necessarily smart. If she is intelligent, she is a prude. If she can work with her hands, she is butch. She is the one to make impossible choices, trying to balance and juggle the needs of her home and her work until one day, she very well may have sacrificed herself right out of her own dreams and desires.
I have met women who say they are okay with being a bitch. They say if that is what it takes then they will gladly be a bitch to get what they want when they want it. To them being a bitch means they are secure, powerful, and successful. It means they are intimidating and not afraid to stand up for themselves regardless of who is questioning what they are doing or where they are going.
I do not believe it. I think it is a facade. I think it is a protective mechanism. I think it is learned behavior, so it doesn’t hurt so much because she’s had to try so hard. I think it is part of the facade and in her gut, she is pretending that it does not have a hurtful effect.
We are still living in a world where people that are perceived as different are judged, bullied, and picked on from those that believe they have some right to do so. There are trends. Trends in fashion, hairstyles, makeup, interior paint colors, furniture, automobiles, and list go on. If you are not ‘on trend’ then you have to stay on the outside fray of being cool, accepted or liked. You don’t belong and you are weird.”
Learn more about Robin and purchase her book here: https://rjhesselgesser.com/summary