Chelsea Handler is who I aspire to be. Seriously, #goals. Earlier this year, she led the Women's March at Sundance, and every week, she uses her voice on her show, Chelsea, to call out the insanity that is our country right now. On July 29th, Handler will debate Tomi Lahren at Politicon, in what is sure to be an epic debate.
And did I mention she's also just really funny and cool? Like when she demonstrated freedom of speech by calling Donald Trump “a whoopsie doodle shitsky mix” while wishing America a happy Fourth of July.
No matter where you stand politically, I think we can all agree there's something very inspiring about the way Handler says exactly what's on her mind, and she's sending a powerful message to women to do the same.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways I've learned from Handler:
1. Stand Up For Yourself
You should always speak your mind, and be bold, and be obnoxious, and do whatever you want, and don't let anybody tell you to stop it.
Now, this is easier said than done, but we each have a voice, and we shouldn't be be afraid to use it. This is still something I struggle with daily, but slowly the voice in my head is becoming my voice out loud.
2. Get Involved
Show up. Speak out.
In an interview with The Daily Beast in May, Handler explained, “when I was 18 and I was able to vote, I didn't participate in [politics], because I just thought about national elections.” Now, Handler is making a point to speak out politically and encourage young people to participate in local elections. She said,
I've been screaming and yelling my whole life, and now at least I have a reason to.
It's so important to get involved and let your voice be heard. Surprisingly, it's really easy to start making a difference. If you want to march or attend local town hall meetings — that's great, but if you don't, you can pick up the phone and tell your congressperson your opinion.
3. Ladies, We Are Stronger Together
Four weeks after the election, Handler wrote in an essay for Thrive,
Forget the jealousy. Forget the competitiveness. We are stronger together. Find a woman you have nothing in common with and give her a hug. Then hug yourself. Then roll up your sleeves and stop looking in the mirror.
It's easy to get caught up with competition, especially at work, but there's room for everyone. We have to stick together and help each other succeed. You know… girl power.
Last year, Handler told Elle a story about a stand-up showcase when she was 25. Handler had been doing stand-up for five years, and she convinced one of her girlfriends, who had only been doing stand-up for one year, to perform at the showcase. That friend got a call from an agency the next day, and Handler didn't.
Her sister gave her advice that stuck with her: jealously is a completely natural feeling, but you can never act on it. What you have, no one else has, so there will be a place for you. Don't think because someone got something, you're not going to get something else. Handler explained,
Whenever I have feelings like that I always tell one person, then I don't act on them. I never blow out someone else's candle to make mine brighter.
4. Vodka Is The Best Alcohol (Obvs)
This one had to be included, because it's a no-brainer.
5. Call People Out On Their Shit
What I admire most about Handler is that she owns how she feels without hesitation. If someone says something she doesn't agree with, they will know right away.
So, if someone says something that bothers you or hurts your feelings, tell them. Again, not easy, but you'll be stronger for saying something. Don't be afraid to say it, even if it's aimed at the president — I mean, the “whoopsie doodle shitsky mix."
6. Be Comfortable With Who You Are
Last year at DTLA's Create Cultivate Conference, Handler emphasized,
The important thing for women is to not use filters. I'm not filter friendly. I'm 41 now and I want to be a real person. And tell people, this is what it looks like, and that's how powerful I can be.
I can relate -- every day I wonder, did I say the right thing? Am I on the right path? Am I pretty enough? Am I smart enough?
With help from Handler, I've realized that whether it's a filter on Instagram or a filter on our thoughts, we should all to be true to who we are.
7. Laugh At Yourself
On the first page of her book, Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me, Handler writes,
Laugh loudly, laugh often, and most important, laugh at yourself.
Handler is a comedian, and she pokes fun at a lot of people, but she really makes fun of herself more than anyone. Part of being comfortable with who you are is being able to laugh and make fun of yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. Does it really matter what other people think?
Last year I had a job that I was miserable at, and a lot of awkward situations happened to me. With Handler as inspiration, I decided to use my voice and turn those stories into a comedy web series, where I laugh at myself all the time.
8. You Don't Have To Follow The Norm
I'm getting to that age where there's an expectation to get married and have kids. It's all over my Facebook feed -- every other picture on my Facebook feed is either a diamond ring or a baby bump selfie taken in a mirror. I'm truly happy for them, but TBH, I don't know if I ever want to have kids. Maybe that's selfish or maybe it's a millennial thing, but pushing a watermelon out of my 'pikachu' just doesn't sound that appealing…
But, as Handler says, it's OK to just do whatever makes you happy. In Chelsea's skit “Marriage: You Can Say No,” Handler says,
Sometimes in your 20s and 30s, people will try to trick you into having kids, but it's possible to remain childless and alone. You just have to want it.
9. Never Stop Learning
Now, I've heard of ghosting, but I had never heard of "cushioning" until one of her recent episodes, where her staffers were updating her on new dating terms.
If you've watched Handler's show, you know there's nothing stupid about asking questions. It's more embarrassing to pretend you know something that you don't. It doesn't matter what it's about -- politics, science, sports… or dating terms.
10. Live A Little
All of Handler's books have a common theme: Drink. Travel. Drink. Sleep around (if that's what you're into). Be vocal. Laugh. Have fun. Drink again.
These themes may not be right for everyone, but what I take from it is that life's too short, so do whatever makes you happy, and try not to overthink it.
Thank you, Chelsea Handler.