I read today that Susan Jeffers died. If you are under the age of 40, you may have no idea who she is, however perhaps you have heard the term “Feel the fear and do it anyway“? You can be grateful for Susan Jeffers for this. Her book with the same title created quite a stir at the time of publication. For women it was a catchphrase that would haunt us for many years – no longer could we be afraid/uncertain, we were out there conquering our fears and doing it anyway! For some of us it was liberating, for others of us (myself included) it led to endless hours of introspection, wondering why I wasn’t out there doing it, but instead probably inside reading about it!
I read Jeffers alongside Gail Sheehy, Harriett Lerner and Nancy Friday. These authors were all at the forefront of the self-help book explosion, and it is hard to believe that they are now well into, or are hitting their 70s. In their heyday these books were passed from woman to woman in the same way that 50 shades of grey is now. “Have you read this” we would say, “it has changed my life!”, and they did in a way, we learnt that we didn’t have to be like our mothers, that we were allowed to be angry and that women could do anything. Reading of Susan Jeffers’ death had made me feel a bit nostalgic for the time when we were more excited about change and growth than reading about a man
tormented by inner demons, and consumed by the need to control. Aka 5o Shades of Grey.