Pretty and Profane – The Time I Burned It All Down


I walked out to my mailbox recently to find a notecard that one of my blog readers had taken the time to write and send my way.

I love the gesture of a handwritten note, so I was happy to receive it; yet, once I read it, I felt a lot of different things, but happy wasn’t one of them.

This person began by pointing out what she felt were the strengths of my work and my message to women, and then she settled into letting me know that perhaps I should tame my language (swearing), as it might be what leads some people unsubscribe or stop following me.

She went on to advise me that all of the great speakers and leaders” do not use flagrant language to make their message heard, and that maybe I should take a lesson from that.

My presence and my message were too beautiful and I should stop making my “profane noise.”

Well, then.

I make my work public in order to reach people, and as a result, people offer opinions. I then get to decide how I will consider those opinions. In this case, I felt the writer was telling me:

“Laura Wagner, you’re smart, attractive and have important things to share; yet, I am uncomfortable with how you express yourself because of my own life experiences and/or cultural and social norms. Women who swear devalue their beauty and their message. You are doing this with your words, and I think that if you want to be more successful, you should stop doing that.”

About five years ago, a note like that would have sent me into hiding for quite awhile. I probably would have cried when I read it. I also would have dissected all of the things I was writing and saying and wondering if and how I should “clean it up.”

That’s not who I am today. That’s not what I would do today, and I’ve worked hard to get here.

When I get a message like that — and they keep coming the more I assert my voice and opinions — I consider it, remind myself of who I am, what I value, what drives me, and I move forward.

I do not bend.

I do not apologize.

I do not dial it back.

I may feel vulnerable, surprised, and a little hurt that someone doesn’t understand me, but I am so committed to be who I am and showing up in the world the way that I want to, that I will not back away from that.

I fought too hard to become the woman I am than to acquiesce to one person who tells me I could be immeasurably wealthy and successful if I didn’t say “fuck.” They have no idea who they’re dealing with — but I do…because I know me.

I kept the card for a couple of days, but made a decision that I wasn’t just going to tear it up or recycle it. I chose to burn it.

I wanted to burn it because it was irrelevant noise I didn’t need to hang onto it, and because it would be a visual ritual that would affirm my decision that my beauty, my profanity, my flaws and my brilliance can all co-exist because I want them to.

I define me.

I connect with women all of the time who ask me how they can be more brave about who they are. They want to express themselves on their terms, but worry about judgment or feeling isolated. And it’s not just the judgment of other people — it’s how they pick themselves apart, too.

In this month’s webinar, I will talk about this and share some valuable stories and tools that will help you connect with who you are, what you want to say, and then how to deal with the messages you might get from people who want to shut you down (whether it’s from a “well-meaning” friend or family member or the culture at large).


You admire women who embody glamour, grace and power.

You are also captivated when you see a woman speak her mind with confidence and passion.

Perhaps she possess a salty and sweet kind of moxie that alternately draws you in and has you taken aback.

Maybe that’s you, or how you aspire to show up in your life — in thought, words and actions.

But you’re afraid. Or you’ve gotten some cultural or personal messaging that tells you that certain ways to be who you are and express yourself are palatable and appealing, while others should be censored or hidden.

I’m here to tell you that you get to be and have all of that as a part of your womanhood — and embrace it with confidence and power.

In this webinar, I will teach you:

  • How I shed the weight of “shoulds” in my life (and subsequently lost physical weight and refined my style and appearance on my terms) and evolved in my opinions and forms of expression
  • How to take an inventory of cultural and your self-imposed shoulds and then define what freedom and confidence look like for you
  • How to examine your reactions to another person’s thoughts, words, or actions as a means of teaching yourself what is important to you
  • How to bring forth the parts of you that are tied into trepidation, embarrassment, shame or smallness and magnifying them in a way that feels freeing and genuine.

DATE: Friday, March 31st

TIME: 12:00 PM EST / 11:00 AM CST / 10:00 AM MST / 9:00 AM PCT



*** If you cannot attend the live webinar, you’ll get the recording sent to you via email later that day.

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