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Good Times Never Seem So Good

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Welcome to my blog!

This is a place where I want to share my take on three of the most important things in my life: theatre, body positivity, and creativity. It’s named after a lyric in “Sweet Caroline”: “Good times never seem so good” because I want to share the good times in my life with all of you.

About me: My name is Caroline and I’m a recent graduate of DeSales University and I earned my bachelors in Theatre Design/Technology with a focus in stage management. I love theatre, body positivity, and being creative which is what I’m here to share.

Changing Your Outlook on Health and Exercising

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Changing Your Outlook On Health and Exercising

Don’t let your mind bully your body.

June Tomaso Wood

I never in my life imagined that I would become a regular gym goer. I would rather stay at home and read or watch Netflix than take the time to go to the gym and exercise. I hated gym class in school and I would rather be anywhere else. As 2019 came to an end, I was thinking about what kind of resolutions I should make for the new year. I could go for losing weight, socializing more, improve my finances, get a promotion… the list is endless. There were so many things going through my brain before I realized what I wanted to do. I decided for 2020, I was going to love myself more. This can mean so many things. It can be eating healthier, exercising regularly, meditating, doing things to reduce anxiety and stress, spending time with people and activities that make me happy. The toughest one of these for me to achieve would be exercising regularly. Not that I physically couldn’t do it but psychologically, I put so much negativity on exercise and my body and associated it with feeling embarrassed about my size and didn’t want anyone to judge me. But part of loving myself more is breaking through these self-made barriers and exploring the world and myself beyond my own personal limitations.

Once I was a week into 2020, I decided to map out how to make all of these self-loving activities more realistic. What exactly would I do to put this plan into action? Step one: sign up for a gym. With spending the money as an extra incentive to go regularly, I went to a local gym and handed over my debit card. I was a little nervous at first but I needed to remind myself that everyone starts somewhere. I need to ease myself into my workouts to really get the hang of it. And before I knew it, my sessions were getting longer, I was going almost every day, and I was beginning to see results. I was so motivated. And it all came from looking to love myself more. And then came another incentive. The show I was working on had a giant turn-table as a set with two kitchens and a second-story bedroom and I was the primary operator of this. The more that got added to it, the heavier it got. I was so worried about making sure the show could happen smoothly and my fitness actually became a big part of this. The more I worked on my body, the easier turning the set became. And sometimes I didn’t realize how impressive this was until others tried to move it and were shocked at “how easy I made it look”.

This new confidence really pushed me to keep going until my gym and all others in the area were closed due to the coronavirus. It’s been hard to maintain staying physical at home because I didn’t realize how much I relied on the equipment and atmosphere of the gym to get me in the right spirit. I didn’t realize how much I would struggle to adapt to life and exercising during quarantine, so every new thing I try, I do with the hopes of distracting myself from the struggles of this time in the world and in that way, I am loving myself too. Being in quarantine isn’t fun and is pretty depressing. No wonder myself and so many people are struggling to find ways to stay active when the world is in such a dark place. That being said, I try to make sure I am doing as much at home as possible. I have been going for walks around my neighborhood, doing core and strength exercises that don’t require any equipment, and I have even tried my hand at yoga! I have a lot to learn in terms of keeping up with the strength and balance of yoga but I am looking forward to improving. I really do miss the gym but I love staying safe and healthy even more.

Regardless of the highs and lows of life, we need to take care of our bodies and love ourselves. I learned that in trying to love myself more, the gym stopped being a chore. I stopped seeing exercise as a miserable activity and that I needed to lose weight asap. While the goal still is to lose weight, I noticed that there is so much more to exercise than losing weight. In taking the approach of loving myself, I saw each step on the treadmill as a step towards outrunning any anxieties I had in the past. I saw each strength exercise as an opportunity to build up my strength and push passed any barriers life brought my way. I am so grateful for this new mindset towards health and as soon as the health crisis has ended and the gyms are open again, I will be back on track to continuing my journey.

You deserve to feel good as hell. We all deserve to feel good as hell.

Lizzo

Post-Grad Life: What I Wish I Knew Before Graduating

I was in school for eighteen years of my life. Eighteen f***ing years. In that time I grew up a lot and learn many things about myself. However, despite how prepared I thought I was when I finished my time in academia, life after graduation was a huge slap in the face. Here is what I have learned over the last several months of “the real world”.

The realities of budgeting money

It didn’t occur to me until I graduated that how hard it would be to responsibly budget my money and stick to it. Something I’ve been doing to force me to stay on a strict budget is to keep a money diary which is a feature offered by my bank. Something that I really wish had been an integral part of my college, or even high school, experience is a realistic idea of how to stick to a budget. This is something where unless you’re trying to get a degree related to finance, this may never be something you are ever exposed to. Luckily I was able to take a one credit online course during my senior year, but despite how that helped, having a regularly scheduled class in person would have been a better option for me. If you are still receiving an education and you have an option to take some sort of finance class, I highly recommend it. This can help open your eyes to what you should expect for yourself when you graduate and can help cushion the blow of sticking to a tight budget.

Student Loans

It doesn’t matter what stage of college you are in. You need to remind yourself of the realities of your student loan debt and how you are going to budget that into your life once you graduate. One thing that I’m really angry about is how little my university did to prepare students for the reality of paying back student loans. It wasn’t until I was having a casual conversation with my boyfriend about student loans less than a month before the first payment was due that I even realized there were certain options available for me for how to pay back student loans. My university had the students complete a “loan counseling” program but this could only help so much. Although it provides helpful information about student loans, I feel like my professors, especially those directly associated with my major, never had a real talk with us about student loans and what we could expect. My student loans are being paid back through an organization called MOHELA. I selected the option to pay back my loans in increments that would mean I will be debt free in ten years as long as I can keep up with all of my payments. It’s great that I won’t be in debt for the rest of my life but that’s still over $30,000 that I have to pay back. (it also doesn’t help that I’m not very satisfied with the education I received so……).

Theatre isn’t the highest paying job so the idea of paying back student loans is especially scary. I can honestly tell everyone that the thought of paying back my student loans makes me nauseous and has unfortunately driven me to one too many panic attacks because again, I am over $30,000 in debt at the ripe age of 23. No wonder people decide not to go to college so they can avoid this huge financial burden. I know I will be okay, but right now, the light at the end of the tunnel is hard to see. So far, everything has been going just fine, but it’s a huge thing to take on at such a young age.

Post-Grad anxiety

I freak out about being an actual adult about seven times an hour. I am always wondering if I picked the right major or whether or not I made a mistake. I wonder if I need to go back to school so I can be qualified for other work that will pay more money. At the end of the day, I was born to work in the performing and fine arts in some way. I’ve been involved with this since I was three and I can’t realistically see me doing anything else and being truly content. This is something that is very real and I don’t think enough people are open about it. Your life just went through a major change. You are no longer surrounded by your friends, you might be living in a different area, you are now in debt, and you have to figure out how to navigate jobs and other aspects of life. This is a huge lifestyle change and it is a huge adjustment. Yeah, I had a job right away but suddenly I was working with different people, in a different environment, with a ton of new responsibility I wasnt used to and I was scared. It’s something that weighed on me for a long time. Now that many months have gone by, I’m a lot more used to my life but I still have a long way to go. It’s going to be very scary but everyone goes through that. Your parents, siblings, grandparents, everyone has going through life feeling uncertain at times. You need to be open with yourself and others about what you’re feeling and never be afraid to ask for advice or what other people did to get through these feelings. You are not alone and you should never let yourself feel that way.

Job hunting

So I REALLY REALLY REALLY lucked out when it came to finding a job for after college. I was very fortunate to have a wonderful friend who advocated for me and helped me get an interview for the theatre at which I am currently working. On the subject of summer work, it has become clear to me that my university did a terrible job helping students think of and try to find jobs that weren’t at the summer theatre festival that is closely linked with the school. It wasn’t until my final year there that some professors actually took the time to introduce us to programs and theatre beyond our small bubble that we should consider. I didn’t branch out enough during college and looking back, I really wish i had. Everything happens for a reason and I am very blessed to have had the opportunities that built me into the stage manager today. However you need to take a chance on yourself and apply for multiple summer jobs. And this isn’t just for anyone who is in theatre reading this. Anyone going for any field needs to take this advice into consideration. Don’t do what I did and go the safe route. You are your own business and it’s up to you to take a chance on yourself. I will be the first to admit that I really lucked out with knowing the right people who have helped me get jobs so far. That’s what happened with my first professional job which then branched to my next summer job.

For all my friends still in college, I hope this one helps. Cheers!

How To Keep Yourself From Going Absolutely BONKERS During A Pandemic

Is it me or is COVID-19 a HUGE PAIN IN THE M*THER F***ING A**?!?! (Sorry, Grammie for cursing…) It’s so important to stay informed and follow the guidance of the CDC and WHO, but it’s important not to compromise your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health. This is a time where we all need to get be aware of our surroundings and who we are with and it often feels like being in quarantine, and we are giving up everything that we enjoy. There are a few things I truly miss doing and I didn’t realize how much they mean to me until now. I don’t feel comfortable going to my gym at the moment so I am currently sticking to neighborhood walks and doing old-fashioned crunches and push-ups instead of the machines that help you shape your muscle. I miss the routine I was starting to have. I miss feeling like I’m really taking care of myself. I miss feeling like I’m challenging myself to be a better version of me. While i still feel the motivation to exercise, it just isn’t the same. I also miss going to get coffee. I miss the smell of the local coffee shop, the atmosphere of hanging out and getting some work done on my laptop while I sip my drink. I miss wandering around a book store, smelling the scent of freshly printed pages and feeling the wonder of a world I might dive into. And despite how much I miss all these things, I have to remind myself of all of the things I can do to entertain myself while maintaining a healthy social distance. Here are some ideas for how to maintain your sanity during this time of quarantine:

Challenge yourself to read more

Do you have a collection of books in your home? Do you have access to works in the public domain (i.e. Shakespeare) that can be easily found online? Is there an online comic that you’re a fan of? One of the biggest joys of reading is getting away from real life for a while to escape to the world of your book. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, anime, there’s a world for you to discover in these books and this world can serve as a great distraction from the one we currently live in. Find something that sparks your interest and give in to the narrative.

Treat yourself to a movie marathon

Movies are a great distraction from the world right now. But not only should you find a movie you love, why not go through an entire series. It could be Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel. It doesn’t even need to be in the same series. Do you like Jane Austen Novels? There are so many on netflix and amazon! Is there a specific actor you like? Well get ready to watch 12 straight hours of Johnny Depp or Reese Witherspoon because they are fabulous and their films are just waiting to be watched. Whatever it is that excites you, watch it! Why not download Netflix Party and watch with friends who you would normally be watching with in the same room. Just make sure you’re having fun!

Try to exercise for 30 minutes a day

Once the announcement was made that COVID- 19 was a global pandemic and I knew the disease was in my area, I decided to take a break from going to my regular gym. It’s not that I don’t trust the incredible gym staff, it’s just that I feel safer when I am in control of my environment and I can be more on top of my home’s overall cleanliness than my gym’s. That being said, I still have he urge to exercise every day, but I miss the machines at my gym so much. It makes it seem harder to get a thirty minute workout in every day. But then I stopped over thinking (as usual) and realized how much you can do in just thirty minutes. All I need is a plan. For working out without a gym, you can set a timer and go for a walk around your neighborhood. Don’t want to leave your house? Get creative with what you have in your home. Full water bottles can act as weights if you normally use those in your gym exercises. Do some yoga in your living room. Attempt to do crunches or sit ups or even a plank while your pets are confused and swarm you the second you get on the floor. Whatever works for you is the workout for you.

Write Something

Do you like to write stories? Do you like to journal? Do you like to write music/songs? Take half an hour to an hour each day to write and exerpt of a story or write a detailed journal entree. Now that the world feels like it’s on lockdown, the arts are more important to us than ever. Imagine how silent and lonely your quarantine would be without music. Write down some lyrics to help descipher exactly how you feel. The power of music is great for releasing emotions deep inside that you’re desperate to get out. Let whatever you’re feeling pour out into the page. You’re not along and you shouldn’t have to keep everything bottled up.

Do some crafting

Is there a creative project you’ve been dying to do? Some drawing, sewing, or pottery perhaps? If you have any supplies available, set aside some time to be creative. Do you want to film a video? Do it! Do you have painting supplies and access to the internet? Why not watch Bob Ross and not only will you have a beautiful work of art, you wil have the calming presence of Bob Ross and who are we kidding if we said that he wouldn’t be immensely helpful in times like these? Getting creative can be a great distraction from all you may not be able to do while practicing social distancing.

Take time to talk with friends and family

Talking with your loved ones can really help the feeling of isolation. For me, personally, something that always gets me through a hard time are my family, my boyfriend, and my friends. I know it’s hard that you can’t go out to eat with them right now, but it’s important to stay in contact. Be sure to take advantage of FaceTime, text, and phone calls. It’s frustrating to not be with your loved ones in person but that doesn’t mean we can’t be connected with them.

Try to put on actual pants as much as you can

I know that if you’re working from home or if your job is currently non-existant due to this global pandemic, it’s easy to get yourself into a rut of just being in your pajamas all day. Making an effort to look good can really help you to feel good. I recently joined a FaceBook group called “I Put On Pants Today” and it’s a bunch of great people showing how they’re coping with the state of the world right now. They are sharing pictures of them dressed in street clothes, asking for and sharing ideas to keep busy, and it’s a very positive environment to be around. I’ve been making sure I get dressed in something I would normally wear to work or to run errands and it helps me to feel like I’m not moping. Yeah I wish I could go out right now, but the less we practice social distancing, the worse off we will be in the future.

These are scary times, friends. There’s a lot to be wary of but it’s important to keep yourself positive and motivated. What have you done to keep yourself from going bonkers during this pandemic? Leave a comment and let me know!

Days On The Island…

I’ve started a snapchat series to log my life while practicing social distancing and here’s some of what I’ve come up with so far. I will continue to update as we go along with this pandemic. This series has been bringing a lot of joy to me and I hope it can bring some to you too.

March 18, 2020
March 18, 2020
I begin to lose it from lack of sleep
March 19, 2020
March 20, 2020
March 20, 2020
March 21, 2020

My Quote Journal

In relation to my last post about Pinterest and mental health, I wanted to share more information about my latest coping mechanism: my quote journal. I love reading and writing and words in general and I didn’t discover until a few months ago that there was more than one way to journal. I always assumed that journaling was just keeping a diary, but it can be anything you want it to be.

I got the idea to start a quote journal from this really awesome YouTuber named Jordan Clark from a video where she showcases all of the different types of journals she keeps, one of which being a quote journal. (A link to her video will be at the end of the post!) I loved the idea of having a small book filled with quotes that were catered to my wants and needs. I could flip to any page and it would be something I’d need to hear. It isn’t super full just yet but I’ve been having so much fun making it. It’s nice to just sit down for 15 minutes and think of topics that I really need to think about and fill up a page or two. Some quotes make me laugh, some remind me to love myself, others are about being confident, the list goes on and on. What’s so great about a quote journal is you’re creating a book that can help guide you in any situation. A few weeks ago, I was feeling particularly anxious about work so I decided to fill up a page with quotes about confidence, beings working girl, or anything else that would help me feel better. Now I can go back when I feel like that and get the same comfort I did on that day. As someone who is particularly anxious, I find that actively seeking words and sayings to fill my journal is quite therapeutic and that action in and of itself is just as helpful as the quotes themselves. There are really no negatives when it comes to curating your quote journal.

Here are some sample pages from my book:

Now that COVID-19 has been making its way through the united states, I have been feeling a lot of anxiety about the uncertainty of my future and this quote journal is more important to me now than it ever was. I am so thankful that I was inspired to start this project and it really is helping.

Do you enjou journaling? What kinds of journals do you like to keep?

Here’s the link to Jordan Clark’s video about different journals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTWWsD1gYfc

Pinterest’s Mental Health Help

This post is in no way sponsored by Pinterest, a site which I know and love very much, but I stumpled across something the other day that increased my appreciation for Pinterest so much. Something I have been struggling with for the last four years is my mental health, mainly dealing with stress and anxiety. As I have been navigating how to deal with these feelings, I have actively searched for ways to bring myself ease. One thing that has been theraputic for me is to create a quote journal with quotes covering various topics by different people. One topic I was trying to include more was anxiety and quotes that I thought could calm me when I looked back on it in a time of struggle. I have found most of my quotes through pinterest and with one search, all I wrote was “anxiety”. I was doing this on my phone and this is the first thing that came up with my search:

I clicked on this link and found a small forum with advice on how to handle your stress and anxiety. I clicked on the first self-help option – Make A Plan – and saw that it was a great reminder of ways to push yourself to take time to think of things that can help pull you away from any anxious thoughts. I am so grateful that I found this and I am very happy that Pinterest is playing a part to help its users who struggle with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issues. Please keep these in mind if you need a little extra help guiding yourself away from any anxious thoughts or feelings.

There are so many other great options for you to look into, and it provides diversity for what you may need in any given situation. A lot of people cope with their emotions differently, and I feel like there is a wide variety of options for people to choose what may work best for them.

Thank you so much to Pinterest for providing this for its users!

Just a heads up, I could only access this through the Pinterest app on my phone. I was unable to access this through my computer. But if you are ever in need of help and aren’t sure where to start, Pinterest could just be it.

I Wore A Bikini To The Beach

So a few months ago, I did something I never EVER thought I would do… I wore a bikini when I went to the beach with my friends. I’d had the swimsuit for over a year but I never had a chance to wear it and when my friends and I decided to spend a day at the beach, I knew it was time to bust it out.

Before this time, I only wore one piece suits or tankinis that covered my entire stomach, but never a bikini that left my midriff exposed to the world. If I was ever in the market for a new swim suit, I would immediately look for a more conservative option. Not necessarily because it was a style I liked, but I assumed that people who look like me should never wear a bikini. I assumed that if I ever dared to wear one that people would stare at me, people would whisper as the passed me in judgement.

When we got to the beach and set up our spot, I suddenly remembered that when I took off my cover up, I would be in a bikini in front of a lot of people… and I was suddenly terrified. But I wanted to have fun and go in the water and not have to worry about anything so I ripped off the bandaid and took off the cover up and I felt okay, but still nervous. Suddenly my friends were exclaiming about how cute I looked and were asking where I bought it. So far, so good. No judgement and I was getting used to the sensation of being more exposed in public.

Every now and then I would hear people laughing and immediatly fear that they were looking at me and laughing that a curvy girl was in a bikini, but I’d look around and it was just friends laughing as they played frisbee, or parents laughing with their young children making sand castles, or the people laughing in bliss as they played in the water. One of my friends and I decided to go for a nice long walk on the beach and just catch up and I started to forget about my fears about being judged. If anyone did judge me, I never noticed.

In the end, I guess what I’m trying to say is try to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while.

So, I Graduated College

I can’t believe this day finally happened. I have been in school for the last sixteen years, SIXTEEN, and that is so crazy to think about. College really changed who I am. I met so many incredible and important people in the last four years who have helped to shape me into the person I am today. I guess what I want to do is share some wisdom that I have taken in over the last four years to those who have yet to graduate.

It’s okay if college isn’t for you

I have met so many people who only completed one semester or one year and realized that school isn’t for them, and that’s okay! There is no shame in not wanting to go to college because it is something that just isn’t for everyone. College is not the only key to success and it’s iimportant to let life guide you to where you need to be in order to feel fulfilled. I have found that during my time in college, but that doesn’t mean that all people will.

Take time for yourself

I realized about a month into my freshman year of college that I really value taking time to be alone. That’s hard to have in college because you have roommates and there’s so many people everywhere. I felt like the only time I had to be alone was in my car and that sucked. If you realize that you are someone who needs to get away from people every now and then, find how you can make that happen and take advantage. Is it going for a long walk or bike ride? Is it getting away in your car and finding somewhere new to explore? Is it finding a quiet corner of the library and diving into a book you’ve been desperately wanting to read? Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to take advantage.

Take your grades seriously

College is a time to have fun, but you want to know what isn’t fun? Realizing that it’s the end of the semester and there is barely any hope for you to pass classes. That results in so much stress and a lot of money wasted. Luckily i never ran into this issue, but I know some people who did and they were miserable when it came time to get their act together and try to save their grades.  College is a time to have fun, meet new people, and try new things, but those happy times shouldn’t keep you from what you actually came to college to do- get an education and a degree!!!

Take chances

College is a time to discover who you are. Don’t be afraid to take chances. Life is too short to play it safe. Taking chances in life can result in so many great opportunities but you are the only one who can get you there. Put yourself out there and see what life has to offer you. Nobody becomes successful by siting in their room all day and expecting an opportunity to fall on their lap. It is up to you to get your name and your abilities out there and show people the incredible and talented person you are and why you are the best person for the job.

Take changes on your personal life. Ask the cute person out who you’ve been crushing on for months. Go to the open mic night and let your voice shine. Publish something to the school paper and let your words inspire others. Start that youtube channel and share your story! The possibilities are endless. They only end if you let them.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance on yourself.

Don’t let anyone pressure you into anything you don’t want to do

When you’re in college, you’re meeting so many new people and making so many new memories. Never let anyone pressure into doing something that makes you uncomfortable. Whether that’s drinking, drugs, or doing something plain stupid, don’t do anything unless you want to. Nobody should judge you for not doing something you feel genuinely uneasy about. This is different from taking chances. Don’t take a chance on something that you are genuinely worried about. Take a chance on opportunities you genuinely want. And if anyone makes you feel bad for not partaking in anything you don’t want to do, then they aren’t worth having in your life.

Have fun!!!

I cannot stress this enough! College is a time to discover who you are! You are young and your future is bright. Meet new people, go to games, go to parties. Find people who you click with and take life by the horns and run with it. This is your time. This is your time to find your passion in life. If you don’t then that’s okay. At least you are discovering important things about yourself. Cherish the memories you make in college because before you know it, those four years fly by and you’re walking passed your loved ones in a cap and gown ready to recieve a piece of paper you have been working your ass off to get for the last sixteen years.

This is your time. Don’t waste it.

Sincerely,

A sentimental graduate

 

An Update on My Life

Hello Internet! It truly has been a while since I’ve last posted. A lot has happened in the last few months.

Firstly, I served as Production Manager for my class’s senior thesis project where we form a company and put on a children’s show. The show was called The Princess King and it was an incredible experience! We had many ips and downs along the way but we made it through! It was a show that taught us and the children so many important lessons about being yourself and never giving up on your dreams. We had such an amazing time putting this show on and it is something that I will remember as one of the best experiences of my life.

The Princess King Cast and Crew
Cast and Crew of The Princess King – DeSales Theatre Class of 2019

My classes this semester have taught me so much about life and myself. My favorite class, which is actuall one of the best classes I’ve ever taken is called Women in the World and it has taught me so much about being a strong woman and how to share my strengths with the world. We have been tackling the experiences of women through christianity, pre-christianity, and modern thought. It has been so enightening to see how throughout history, the notion of the fall of man from genesis is the precursor to poor treatment of women. Because this text has been taken literally, women have been thought of as lesser than men and have been at a disservice throughout history. It never hit me that this has been the case and really opened my eyes on how to educate myself and those around me on how we can achieve truer equality between the sexes.

I am on the Wardrobe crew for Pippin at DeSales and it is proving to be a very fun experience. I love the actors I am working with and they have made it great. I loved hanging out with some of my best friends every night and having an opportunity to work with costumes during a run. It also gives me more experience learning how to interract with different people backstage as a stage manager.

In the summer, I will be returning to the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival as a stage management intern for the REP shows. This will be my third season at the Festival, and I am really looking forward coming back again. This will be my first time working on shows that are rehearsing simultaneously and while it will be hard and stressful at times, it is an opportunity for me to learn about this type of process and to put my organizational skills to the test.

After the summer, I will have my first Post-Grad job as the Non-Equity Assistant Stage Manager at Delaware Theatre Company. I am so excited for this incredible opportunity to learn and hone my skills in my craft. I have been a little nervous lately over the thought of leaving school and not going back. I don’t think this will really hit me until I start my job at DTC. It is so strange to think that afterbeing in school for the last 18 years, I will finally be free, well at least of homework. Hello, debt! I am really dreading student loans but as long as I am smart with my money and keep working hard, I will eventually get through that.

Now that the semester is ending, I am hoping to get back into the swing of this blog and to get more of my story out there!

 

I Am Woman

To me, womanhood is embracing your strength, defying gender and social norms, shattering the class ceiling until nothing is left. As a gender, womanhood has been challenged since the earliest stories of creation and as a modern-day woman, I feel that it is my duty to further embrace these aspects of womanhood to inspire myself, others around me, and future generations of strong, badass women.

Websters Dictionary’s website has many definitions of the word “empower, and one of them is the verb to empower, explaining it as “to promote the self-actualization or influence of [something]” and uses its example as how the women’s march is inspiring and empowering to women. The word “empower” is being adopted into the culture of feminism and equality between all regardless of gender, gender identity, skin color, social standing, etc. “Empower” has become a very common word in my vocabulary lately and it has become a positive necessity in my life that touches everything I do. Everything I study for, every conversation, blog post, thought, has come from this place of empowerment that was once so deep inside me that I didn’t know it was there. Now, my empowerment has begun to grow and flourish within me and has taught me that I need to help other people grow.

I am currently taking one of the best classes I have ever taken in college called “Women in the World” and every day it inspires me to be a better woman and helps me to understand what it means to be female. I am very empowered by my gender and sexuality and I believe that it has given me a power and confidence in life. It gives me something to identify with and gives me a further understanding with the women around me. As women, we have been subject to the stories that our ancestors have been privy to which, when taken seriously, have been an integral part in shaping society’s standards of who women are to be in relation to themselves, other women, and men. The main one is the book of Genesis in the Bible. After the fall of man, the Bible states that Eve was to go from being in equal union to Adam to being beneath him and would have to follow his way instead of her own. I remember in grade school (which was a private catholic school) when the girls and boys would get into arguments with each other because of the whole Adam and Eve story. The boys would say that because Eve sinned first and convinced Adam to eat the fruit that girls are clearly inferior to boys. These gender barriors were present in us as young children and has fed a society where, although women are making amazing strides in the workforce, in sports, in the beauty community, and so many other places, we as an entire gender are still seen as inferior to men.

Inferior to men? FUCK THAT! Feminism is not about one gender being greater than the other. It is about each gender lifting the other up in all aspects of life. It’s about men not feeling emasculated if a woman is in a higher position than him. It’s about women supporting men who may take on responsibilities that were once considered too feminine.

I asked some of the people closest to me about what it means to them to be a woman and here’s some of their responses:

“Powerful yet flexible”

“Never letting others stop you from being who you are on the inside”

“Supporting other women, being proud of who you are. Women are real life superHERos!”

“Having the ability to nurture, love, adapt, support, cry, rage, calm and grow. We are a jumble of emotions and its our best attribute.”

 

My favorite quote comes from my beautiful mother: “I think empowerment means not sitting back and letting life happen to you, but tackling challenges head-on. I think it is also being unafraid to chase your dreams and do what you need to do in order to achieve those dreams, even if those dreams challenge society’s expectations and notions of womanhood. Keep doing what you are doing!” This is a woman who inspires me every day. I am never afraid to talk to her about anything and I know she has my back no matter what I do. My mom never followed what society expected of her. She did what felt right to her. Coming from a “traditional” family, her parents pushed her to get married right after high school but she wanted more out of life. She traveled, got a job, met my dad, and began her life her way. She worked while my sister and I were young and then decided to be a stay at home mom because she felt that it was best for her family. Then when I was 7, she went to college and finally got a degree she’d been wanting for so long. She worked her ass off with two small children, pets, a husband, and so many responsibilities to become an english teacher and inspire and mold the minds of the future. Sometimes I forget how much my mom has done to make her life the way she wants it and to also help my sister and I live up to our fullest potential and that selflessness is something I can only hope to come close to paying back.

To come to a conclusion to my rambling, being a woman is finding your path in your own way. It’s fighting to make a change fot the future that’s good for all. It’s finding your inner strength to accept and love yourself so that others can do the same. Being a woman means to empower. Take your strengths to empower yourself, those around you, and those you have yet to meet.

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