I’m currently working a seasonal job repairing windshields. I’m the only female site operator in our territory, and I happen to be very good at what I do. This morning, I was setting up my tent with the help of my dad. A customer pulled up, and began inquiring about getting a repair done. I took control of the conversation, and answered his questions. Yet, 90% of the time he was trying to talk to my dad. I was wearing a uniform, my dad was not. He even told the customer at the beginning of the interaction that I was the one to talk to. My dad doesn’t even know how to do a repair. But the customer assumed that because my dad is a man, he was the better one to talk to.
Sexism may not be as prevelant as it once was, but it is still alive and well. If I’m experiencing this as someone with a great deal of privilege, just imagine what others without that must be going through. This is why International Womens Day is important.
During hard stressful situations, we don’t always handle everything in a perfect way. The important thing is that we do the best we can to get through it. So why do we look back on these situations and critique the way we handled things?
This past week my boss went through some terrible stuff. As someone who was there for her, I can say firsthand she was amazingly strong. She did what needed to be done, and moved on to the next hard thing. Yet, when talking to her about this, she told me she didn’t feel she had handled things well.
We as people need to start giving ourselves more credit. When you get through hard things, be kind to yourself. Celebrate your strength. Be gentle with yourself. Learn from the experience, and keep moving forward.
There was a two year period when my mental health was terrible. I was deep into a battle with crippling anxiety and depression, and I lost myself. Almost everything I had used to define myself was gone. I rarely left the house. Thankfully I managed to make it out the other side, but I was left with what felt like the shell of who I had been. Looking back now, I see this was a blessing in disguise. I hadn’t been left with an empty shell. I was left with a blank canvas.
I changed a lot after high school and into my early 20s. Some changes were good. I started to discover who I was in a lot of ways. On the other side, a lot of changes weren’t made for me. I met new people and tried so hard to fit into the box of their expectations. I became good at it too. I was a camelion of sorts, ready to be whatever people wanted me to be. I lost parts of myself doing this, which I didn’t even realize at the time. When I got sick, this was all washed away. I got to start over anew, and figure out exactly who I wanted to be. For that, I am grateful.
It’s been a long process, becoming the person I really am. I’m still working on it. This blog is the perfect example. I’ve always loved writing, but stopped to make way for other ‘more important’ things. Once you take away the things that don’t matter, you’re left with the things that do. I know I have a lot more work ahead of me, but I’m looking forward to it. I love the person I’m becoming, and can’t wait to know her more.
Being in my mid-20s, I’m at the stage in life where a lot of my peers are settling down. It feels like almost every day I see a new Facebook post announcing an engagement or pregnancy. I’ve noticed a lot of my fellow single ladies lamenting over all the weddings in particular. ‘When is it going to be my turn?’ they ask, while drowing their sorrows in wine and ice cream. The thing is, I don’t really feel that way. While it would be lovely to meet my person and live happily ever after, I’m not in a rush. Honestly, if it happens it happens. If not I really don’t mind being single. What I do spend my time being envious over is the babies.
I know I want to be a mom, partnered or not. The idea of single motherhood by choice doesn’t even really scare me. The problem is, it’s just not the right time in my life yet to embark on that journey. My ready in almost every way, but my bank account just isn’t there yet. It’s hard to come to peace with that fact, when you want something so desperately.
This evening I came across the profile of a little girl who was just listed for adoption. She turns 2 in May, has downs syndrome and is absolutely adorable. The headline of the posting read ‘Could you be her Mama?’ Yes, yes I could. I could see myself bringing this sweet girl home. If there was any possible way I could make it happen, I would in a heartbeat. But I’m not there, and I need to try to make peace with that.
I’ve had a complicated relationship with religion as an adult. I’ve always been very liberal minded in my views, which I’ve often felt competed my faith. The message I received from society was that I had to choose. I could either be Christian or liberal, but not both. I felt drawn to religion, but saw so many messages of hate and close mindedness. That wasn’t something I wanted any part of, so disassociated myself from Christianity. I still had a relationship with God, but knew in my heart it wasn’t as strong as it could be.
I knew I was at a crossroads. So I began to dive deep into myself to answer some important questions. What is God’s fundamental message? When it comes down to it, what above all is he trying to teach us? After much prayer and soul searching I finally realized, God is love. He wants us to show love in all areas of our lives. He wants us to be love. That was a message I could get behind.
Unfortunately I fear there always will be be people using religion as an excuse for hatred. But I truly believe the way to fight that is with love. That doesn’t mean we should just pray for these people and sit idly by. While prayer is great, we can also use our love in other ways. We can be champions for the people and organizations that need us. We can volunteer our time. We can show people on the other side that God is working through us.
Liberal Christians are out there, I’m one of them.
There’s an unspoken rule in society about how much of yourself others should be able to see. We’re supposed to portray an image of happiness and success. The darker side of the human experience needs to be hidden away from the rest of the world. It’s seen as something shameful, unfit for other people to consume. But the thing is, life is messy.
When I was in my early 20’s, I began what would be a long battle with anxiety and depression. At the time, I felt ashamed and alone. I was terrified to let anyone know what I going through, often making excuses and alternative explanations. Those were terrible years. But I found the light at the end of the tunnel, and finally got the courage to share my story. You know what happened then? People shared their stories with me in return. Sometimes they had similar struggles, sometimes completely different. But we all had a common bond in our knowledge that life doesn’t always go to plan, and that’s perfectly ok.
Let your messy out. You might just find you have more in common with others than you thought.
I’ve made many past forays into blogging, and none of them stuck. I think the most I ever wrote were 5 posts before it fell by the wayside. I wrote about things like makeup, and fashion. Things I thought others would be interested in. I was interested in these things too, to an extent. But that was my problem. I was interested, but not passionate. Interest will reel you in, but you need passion to sustain it.
I have learnt that life is a beautiful, messy, thrilling ride. The question is, how do I want to carry myself through this crazy thing called life. The way I see it, there are two options. Option one is what many people choose. They live a quiet life, doing what is expected of them. Their existence is confined to the cookie cutter society has placed around them. Then there’s option two. It’s a bit harder to pin down, since there is no mould to follow. It’s the idea of looking into the deepest spaces within your heart and using that to lead you. Doing things that make your soul dance, and your heart sing. I don’t know about you, but I choose option two.
Thinking about how to go about that led me to an idea: Living life with radical love. Love for yourself. Love for your family, friends and strangers. Love for the earth. Love for causes that speak to you. I want to live my life by leading with radical love, and I’d love to have you join me.