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.

My Progress So Far

Now that we are in the new year, part of my resolution was to bring myself to be the healthiest I can be so that I can be an organ donor for my dad. So far, I have been tracking my food and going for walks or using my parents’ elliptical every day and I am very proud of the work I have been putting in. I’ll admit that I haven’t been the absolute healthiest on this journey. I have indulged in some sweets almost every day and I need to exercise more self-control. I had a bad morning last week where I looked at myself in the mirror and I was so upset with the way I looked. Then I got even more upset because I was thinking so poorly of myself. It’s important that I feel confident in myself and put myself to a true and healthy routine. I have loved getting into the habit of taking a break from whatever laziness I have put myself to and taking a half an hour or so to be active. It’s a great way for me to feel productive, which I love, and I get to confidently say that I did something to improve my health and am closer to my goal of being healthy enough to be a donor.

I have been trying to phrase this journey as me trying to be healthier so I can be a donor and I avoid solely thinking about losing weight or becoming thinner. This has been helpful in shaping how I think about myself and my adjusting lifestyle. Pushing myself to be more positive has, so far, been the biggest thing making me continue. Instead of thinking, “ugh I have to go work out now…” I think about how nice it would be to go for a nice long walk in the fresh air, or I think about how nice it would be to go ham on the elliptical and then shower off all the sweat. If I go extra hard on a workout, I treat myself to some awesome skin care after just to keep up the pampering of my body. Working out in a way is pampering yourself because for me, when I’m done, it makes me feel better about myself. Even though I may regret it in the middle of it, I’ve never come down from a workout and regretted anything I did.

I can’t wait to see how I keep going throughout this month and the rest of this year. It hasn’t been long, but I really am proud of everything I’ve done. I hope this can inspire anyone else looking into a lifestyle change!

Looming Anxious Thoughts – My Senior Project

There are often times where I feel a small pang of anxiety looming over me because of thoughts of what I can’t control. For me, this is mainly the thought of everything that I have yet to do or the future that awaits me beyond college. One of the biggest things on my mind is this big senior project I have going on. It’s called Act 3 (technically it’s Integrating Experience) and for this class, the senior theatre majors must form a company put on an entire children’s show. This includes picking the show, electing people to positions, designing the show’s lights, sound, costumes, sets, and props, casting the show, and putting everything on its feet. I am the production manager for our show, which is called The Princess King. It is a charming tale about defying expectations and stereotypes regarding gender and status.

I have a big job, making sure that everythings stays organized, and it’s the first time I’ve had an opportunity to do this. To make matters worse, the faculty usually expects students to learn from their predecessors so I’ll have to rely on people who don’t even go to school any more to help me with odd questions… Or I’ll have to figure them out for my own. I am interested in production management as another career path but this role is of not the typical production manager so it is unfortunately not teaching me much in terms of what I should expect should I hope to take on more responsibilities in this type of role in a professional setting. ย It scares me knowing that I’m not confident in how I should do my job and I worry I’ll let people down. All I want in the world is to help put on a show that we will all be proud of and be a leader that my class can rely on and trust throughout the entire process. I want to be confident and I think to get me there, I must make a list of everything I can expect so that I don’t get overwhelmed when things come up. Making lists is a good way for me to get my anxiety together and I hope that will help with this.

I have an incredible support system within my senior class and outside and I know that I will have help. I just need to trust myself.

Feeling Lost

It’s easy to feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, like you’re lost in your own life. There have been times when I look at myself in the mirror and don’t even recognize myself and it’s times like this when I feel so small and scared. It’s times like now where my future is pretty vague and I have no idea where I’m going. This is a major factor that fuels my anxiety. It’s times when I feel like this where I feel the most doubt and fear in life and I don’t really know where to turn next. I wish that I didn’t have these feelings but this is a part of life- to question the next step. If we didn’t feel lost from time to time, we wouldn’t find our next path. Sometimes we need to dig deep in our hearts and minds to discover what we are meant to do next. I often forget to do this and assume that I’m headed toward a dark place. I often struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel because I’m scared of what will be on the other side. But that’s the beauty of life. We are never privy to the knowledge of what is yet to come. It is something that we must discover with each passing moment of each day. It is okay to question your next step, but you must trust that you will find your way. It’s like the verse in Amazing Grace, “I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see.” Don’t let yourself be blind to your future. Embrace it with confidence. This is an easy sentiment to write into a blog post and isn’t as easy to follow through with in life. I need to trust that I will find a way into a bright future despite feeling lost at the moment.

If anyone has any suggestions for bringing yourself out of dark thoughts, I’d love to hear about them.