Ambition is NOT a Dirty Word

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There's been a lot of talk about ambition lately. From Reese Witherspoon's essay in the October issue of Glamour to this article in The Cut about the so-called "ambition collision." There's even an Entrepreneur post about excessive ambition leading to shorter lives.

So what's an ambitious woman supposed to do? Hell if I know.

Having grown up in a family full of ambitious Black women, I didn't know "ambition" could be considered a dirty word until I got to high school and a well-meaning religion teacher told the class that men should be the primary breadwinners in the family, heads of the household. Did I mention I attended an all-girl Catholic high school? Needless to say, this particular teacher and I rarely saw eye-to-eye.

Then there was the time post-undergrad when I went on a "group date" with the 6'6 white soldier I'd been talking to on Facebook all summer while he was stationed overseas. We'd hit it off online, but upon meeting me IRL, he decided I was "too intimidating." That's guy speak for, "I'm not nearly man enough to handle you and your ambition is threatening to my masculinity." My response?

In her essay, Reese wrote, "Run away from a man who can't handle your ambition." But I'd dare to say that same rule applies to any romantic partner, friends, bosses, etc.

Ambition is not, despite what some people may say, a dirty word. And I'm going to proudly wear my "scarlet letter" until the end of days.