What Turns You On? (Hint—It’s Not Your Girly Thoughts)

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD




Many things probably turn you on, as they should. One thing that really turns me on is going to the Electric City. For those of you who do not know the lore of upstate New York, this city is also called Schenectady, and it’s the home of GE, aka General Electric.

It is also a place I fell in love with when I first left New York City. I almost moved there after having found the perfect home across the street from the Mohawk River in the famous Stockade section of Schenectady.

The Electric City’s Ups and Downs

Schenectady has seen its share of up and downs, like many cities—and like many of us. There was the glory of the city in its youth, much like it was in our own, its downturn in middle age as it gained weight and didn’t take care of itself . . . sound familiar?

But Schenectady is rediscovering its power as it matures, due in part to the arts. And like this great city, many of you in school, and many baby boomers, too, are discovering your power by moving beyond the box you feel you are in.

What Keeps Us in that Box?

We all get stuck. We all feel that if something worked once, it will work again. This may be true for cities, and it is certainly true for women who believe the answer to not being good enough is trying harder to do all the things they feel they couldn’t master in the first place.

Now many things may constrain us, but one in particular—girly thoughts, the name I’ve given to how we internalize those negative societal messages and use them to disempower ourselves—will be the focus of my next talk.

Breaking Out of Your Box and Anchoring in Your Creative Self

A city’s rebirth through the arts is a metaphor here. For Schenectady, this involved investing in venues like Proctor’s, a major performance art space in this upstate New York city and in supporting smaller venues like the Open Door Bookstore (don’t you just love the name?).

Join Me!

I will signing books at the Open Door on Saturday, April 18 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. And I will be joined by fellow author and friend Jane Collen, an intellectual property lawyer who writes children’s books.

We feel we represent the best mother-daughter gift available: our books help young girls see their power and help older girls and mothers not fall prey to internalizing and believing those nasty societal messages concerning how women should look and act that I’ve named girly thoughts.

Honoring Your Roots

The name Schenectady comes from Mohawk roots and means beyond the pines. And if a city like Schenectady can see its fair share of challenges and keep its tongue-twisting name, maybe there’s a message for all of us about staying close to our roots and feeling pride in how we see ourselves.

I hope you’ll join me for this fun event in Schenectady, New York, on Saturday, April 18.

Next stops:

  • Grand Island, NE: April 30: I’ll be giving a workshop on “Trauma” from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and a speech over dinner titled “Girly Thoughts from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • New York City, NY: May 17, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. “The Big Apple: Leadership and Girly Thoughts.
  • Worchester, MA: June 11, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. “Girly Thoughts and Addiction.”
  • Lake Placid, NY: July 11, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Book signing at Bookstore Plus.

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my latest book, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power