Note to self:

If you’re feeling frightened about what comes, don’t be. Embrace the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenges you to exercise both your heart and your mind as you create your own path towards happiness; don’t waste time with regret. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present, each moment, as it comes, because you’ll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart… where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again

Just keep going.

On ‘shattering glass ceilings’

I remember the excitement I felt when my nephew was born. While my sister-in-law was pregnant, we had been told while my that he was going to be born with some pretty serious health issues, so the day he was born a healthy, happy baby boy with ten fingers and ten toes and seemingly, perfectly healthy, I couldn’t help but think we had been given a gift from the universe.

I promised myself that kid was going to know everything good in life. I wanted to share with him a love for things like Frank Sinatra, the smell of old books and the feeling you get when you walk in the rain. More than that, though, I wanted to share with him a desire. A desire for what he loved, for what he wanted, or for more. Always more. See, if I could teach my nephew just one thing, it would be that he never settle. He’s capable of so very much, and I say that in part being a biased Auntie and in part being an optimist who believes, with the right motivation, he can be whatever and whoever he wants to be in this life.

I remember the excitement I felt when my niece was born. I was over-the-moon at the prospect of a little girl gracing this family of boys that I’d been living in for so long. (The female gender is grossly underrepresented in my family) The day that I held her in my arms for the very first time, I remember thinking that I’d never seen anyone on earth more beautiful than she.

I promised myself that she was going to know everything good in life. I wanted to ensure that, as a girl growing up in a family filled with men, she was given every opportunity to be whomever she wanted to be – whether that girly and dainty, or rugged and strong (or all of the above). More than that though, I couldn’t help but think about how different her life was going to be from that of my nephew. See, if I could teach my niece just one thing, it would be that she seek to shatter glass ceilings and not fit into glass slippers. There’s no need to fit in to a world in which she’s born to stand out, stand up and create her own kind of incredible. She’s capable of so very much, and I say that in part being a biased Auntie and in part being an optimist who believes, with the right motivation, she can be whatever and whomever she wants to be in this life.

This year I’m soon to have another niece. I’m also going to have one more niece or nephew (we won’t know which until that baby is born, as my brother wishes to be surprised by the gender. I think it’s a girl. Cough. Totally a girl. Cough). My brother, Aaron, has asked me to write something for his baby-to-be. He said, if I could teach his soon-to-be little girl just one thing, what would I teach her? Honestly, I think if I could teach her anything it would be that she seek to shatter glass ceilings, not fit into glass slippers. I know that it’s cliche, but I stand by the statement.

Girls are raised differently than boys. We’re taught to be quiet, to not be too opinionated and to worry more about how we’re perceived on the outside than how we’re perceived on the inside. Boys are raised to be strong, opinionated and with the notion that the world is at their fingertips. It’s just a fact of life. I think if I could only give one thing to my nieces it would be that they know they’re strong, can be opinionated if they want to be and that the world is also at their fingertips.

I have no worries for my nephew. He’s growing up to be one hell-of-a kid. He’s articulate, intelligent, strong, loves sports and all the good music, he thinks it’s cool to dye his hair purple. He knows the world is his oyster. Presently he’s talking about wanting to be an astronaut and go to space when he grows up. And, if he still wants to in ten years, I have no doubt he will.

I worry about my niece, and my niece to be. While my niece is one hell-of-a kid, I can’t help but feel as though we’re sending the wrong message as a society when she tells me she’s not allowed to play hockey because it would make her too manly. How does an eight year old come to these conclusions? They’re taught to her. They’re taught to too many girls and I don’t think it’s right. In 2019 a girl should be able to be whomever she wants to be, and it’s time we start teaching that to the female gender.

And if, in time, she decides that the glass slipper is what she wants to wear, I’d be more than happy with that fact. So long as I know she’s not settling for it, and that it’s her choice, her desire and her dream.

The world is your oyster, my dear. All you have to do is believe.

7 Rules for Life

  1. Make peace with your past so it doesn’t disturb your future.
  2. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  3. The only person in charge of your happiness is you.
  4. Don’t compare your life to anyone else. Comparison is the thief of joy.
  5. Time heals almost everything. Always give it some time.
  6. Stop thinking so much. It’s completely okay to not know all of the answers.
  7. Smile! You don’t own the world’s problems.

Do not let your fire go out.

A lonely, naive, younger version of myself once read a quote in a book that has been turning over in my mind ever since.

“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”

Les Brown

If ever there were motivation to lead a full life, to not question your capabilities and to chase your dreams, this is it. Reading this was just so sad. It’s absolutely true, which I think is why it’s so sad.

So many people don’t go after what they want in life because they’re conditioned to a life of security and conformity. They believe that what they have is all they will ever get. At the same time so many people don’t go after what they want in life because they’re afraid of the uncertain, the unknown and believe that all that could be out there for them is pain.

When I think of all of the reasons to not try – things that aren’t always within someone’s control, I can’t help but think there are so many more reasons to try.

There are days when my anxiety is absolutely debilitating, and I know I am not the only one to feel that way. And there are people in this world who are really suffering horrendous situations that I could not fathom, nor understand. But, they’re still trying. And me, I’m going to keep going. Even when my anxiety is telling me to not get out of bed. I don’t want to be one of those lost souls in the graveyard with the unwritten book. And I don’t want to think about all of the unmet potential laying in graveyards around the world. I want to be known for encouraging my friends and family to go after what they want in life.

So, to follow up one sad but true quote with a powerful and true quote, the moral of this story is:

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.

Ayn Rand

Einstein knows his stuff.

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

-Albert Einstein

Hopefully this quote goes without needing explanation. Just know that if you’re out there and you’re having a hard time, a hard day or a hard life, you are your own genius and you’re not alone.

The struggles of being male.

I’m not male. I think that’s obvious by the posts that I’ve made on this blog. That being said, following my ‘Struggles of being a girl’ posts, I was challenged to come up with what I believe are ‘Struggles of being male’.

If you’re a guy and you’re reading this – if I am way off here, please don’t get offended. Please feel free to teach me more of what it’s like to be a male in 2019. After all, I am all about learning and I would genuinely like to know more of what it’s like to ‘wear your shoes’ so to speak.

Without further adieu, here goes:

  1. Societal expectations of ‘manliness’. I definitely don’t think it’s easy to be a man in a world where societal definitions of ‘manliness’ is to always be tough and always be strong and always be the ant holding the world on his shoulders. While I’m sure that every man has inherent toughness to him, I don’t think it can be an easy feat to always be ‘on’ and never be allowed to be vulnerable, or to struggle, or to just have a bad day. A lot of men in this world don’t/won’t talk about their feelings because of the notion that it makes them look weak… and that is not fair.
  2. Being turned-on in public. While I don’t witness this frequently (due to the fact that I definitely don’t wander around looking at men’s crotch areas) I have witnessed this a few times in my life. I can imagine that it’s extremely uncomfortable and awkward when it happens, especially because it can quite often be something out of a guy’s control. I reckon it’s a definite struggle of being male.
  3. All guys being labeled as bad guys. There are absolutely some pretty horrendous human beings who are a part of the male gender in this world. Those particular bad guys tend to ruin things for the rest of the gender because it’s so easy to right off guys as bad when one treats you poorly. I don’t think it comes from a place of malice when a girl labels guys as bad (the broken-heart can cause some serious judgement), but I do believe it’s not fair to the nice-guys and the good guys of this world when it happens.
  4. You’re expected to pay for everything. I’m truly not sure where this notion comes from. Perhaps it’s partially due to wage disparity, but probably largely due to the ‘manliness looks after’ notion, either way, I don’t think that it’s fully fair to men that they’re required to pay for everything. Whether it a meal, or a manicure, or whatever the expense may be, I have friends who will make the men in their lives pay for it. They’re not their husbands, or boyfriends, or even relations – they’re just guys they expect to buy them things. I don’t think that’s fair, or right. You shouldn’t be required to buy a girl something just to remain in her orbit.
  5. Facial Hair. As a female, I complain a lot about shaving my legs. But, truth be told, if I don’t want to shave my legs, I can put on pants and no one will be the wiser. Facial hair, on the other hand, you cannot hide. To those of you who shave every day, I commend you. You’re amazing. It’s also amazing how fast facial hair can grow. To shave in the morning and feel that 5’o clock shadow by the end of the work day – that has got to be annoying. And I’m bet that girls heckling you about the equivalence of kissing a chia-pet only makes shaving that much more annoying. Facial hair just seems as though it would be a massive annoyance.
  6. Double standards. I can’t imagine how frustrating it is when a man suffers or struggles with a very real issue that women deal with every day and, as a man, he’s treated as though it doesn’t matter. Men can be sexually harassed, too. And when they are, often times people either don’t believe them or they use the stereotypical ‘Man Up’ response, as though the harassment shouldn’t matter because they’re a man and they should be tough. Some women treat men awfully, and society expects them to grin and bear it and for that, just know – I hear you, I understand you and I feel your frustrations/pains.
  7. Balding. Seriously – balding must be a real bitch. (Please forgive my language, I felt it a necessary inflection of the sentence) If you’re one of the lucky ones (cough ~ John Stamos) who’ll have luscious hair forever, count your blessings. But, for the majority of men, society isn’t always kind about a man’s appearance when his hair is thinning. Also – tying this to the facial hair point – how weird is it that the hair on the top of your head starts thinning but the hair on your chin stays bushy like a werewolf forever? I don’t understand. Either way, though, I feel you.
  8. Guys are not always kind to one another. I’ve noticed this quite a lot, actually. Unless they’re friends, I’ve noticed that guys can be quite mean to each other – both to one another’s faces and behind each other’s backs. It’s got to be tough to think that you’re in competition with someone just because he’s there and he exists.
  9. Urinals. I don’t really think this one needs explanation – so I will just say – peeing in front of other men has got to create some really weird/awkward situations.

As with all struggles, I am sure that there are a ton. I could likely go on and on with this list, but I will leave it here for now. If you’re a guy and you read this, I hope that I’m not too far out-of-touch with the struggles that you face. If you have any struggles that you’d like to add to my list, or you’d like to educate me on anything that I’ve included on this list, I welcome the discussion.

The struggles of being a girl, part two.

I realize with the last list that I made that there are so many struggles that come with being a girl. And so, I’ve compiled a part two. This is meant to look at things in a light-hearted way, but also, to be informative and serious. This list is not meant to bash anyone or tear anyone down. I’m also not whining, I’m just talking about the very real reality of being a female in 2019. Here goes:

  1. “Don’t be such a girl” and”Don’t be such a pussy” and “You’re such a whiny little bitch” and so on and so forth… We’ve all heard them before. It’s likely that we’ve even said them ourselves a few times without realizing what we’re doing. Have you ever noticed though, when someone from the male gender is insulted, he’s referred to as having some sort of feminine characteristics… implying that females are weak, horrible and whiny. I most often hear men use them as insults, but I will say that women do it as well. Whenever I hear it though, I remind people that if their main form of insulting someone is by degrading my entire gender, they’re coming off looking pretty stupid.
  2. The Pink Tax. Have you ever looked at two like products, identical even, one marketed towards women and one marketed towards women? The women’s item costs more. Always. Companies put higher prices on items marketed towards women – though it might be just small, it’s something that adds up. 8% here, 10% there and you can look at thousands of dollars by the time a year is done. Where you can, if you know about the Pink Tax, you can buy the products marketed towards men. But, it’s not always possible. And imagine how much that adds up over a lifetime. Next time you’re in the grocery store – wander down the aisle and compare like products of men’s shave gel to women’s shave gel, or a men’s razor to a women’s razor. There will be a difference in price.
  3. Wage Disparity. It’s a proven fact that women earn 79 cents for every dollar that a man makes for like positions of employment. I happen to have experienced this firsthand at my last position – where I had a male counterpart with no education, four years less experience than I and little-to-no knowledge of the industry, who made 12,000 more per year than I made. This happens everywhere. Men seem to be valued more in work environments in spite of what a female may bring to the table. I have a friend who, in an entry level position obtained with his bachelor’s degree, makes more in his second year of work than his wife does with a PhD and five years experience. Now I understand they work in different industries, but how does a doctor make less than someone who barely scraped through a bachelors degree? I think that it’s something people gripe about, but then often forget about and move on with their lives because it seems like a battle too big to wage. But honestly, I wish there were more people talking about it. There are doctors, lawyers, welders, mechanical engineers, and so many more women who are making less than there male counterparts for seemingly no other reason than they are not male.
  4. Feminine hygiene products are a ‘luxury’. This is an important thing to to note – in many parts of the United States, and the world for that matter, feminine hygiene products are taxed as being a luxury item. This has nothing to do with the Pink tax, this has to do with government’s making a willing decision to declare these products as something that is not needed, but rather, something we just choose to buy because we like them. This luxury tax can range anywhere from 5 to 14 percent, for the purchase of something that is ‘not a necessity’ according to government. I don’t know when PMS became a choice, but if I could choose to be without it, I would. In the meantime though, it seems like a lofty price to pay over a lifetime solely for the fact that you’re a woman with properly functioning body parts.
  5. When your bra tries to kill you. (Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic with that leadup) It’ll happen so casually, you’re just out one day – walking down the street in the sunshine with a friend or your dog and bam… out of nowhere there’s a sharp pain in your chest. Just because the laws of the universe say you can never keep your comfortable bras, one wire has exploded out the side of your bra and shoved itself into your skin, possibly hard enough to cause you to bleed. It doesn’t happen very often, but I’m certain that every girl knows how it feels.
  6. Trying to run with big boobs, or boobs in general. I’m not a runner. That is largely in part to the size of my boobs. I explained it to a male friend of mine once by asking him to put his backpack on his front instead of his back, and then telling him to run down the road. I genuinely think he understood after that point. It’s just… harder. If you’re a girl and you’re a runner – I commend you. Girl you are my hero.
  7. Being slut shamed without being slut shamed. Honestly, when you try to explain a story of something that made you uncomfortable, or scared, or mad, about an interaction with someone and the person you’re telling the story to asks “what were you wearing?”, that’s a real piss off. That’s how you slut shame someone without calling them a slut and I hate it. I hate it when I hear that phrase. Whether you’re wearing a mini skirt or a down parka, it really doesn’t give anyone the right to mistreat you.
  8. When we focus on our work we’re considered not girly enough and we when we focus on our looks we’re considered vain. That’s really all there is to it. No explanation necessary.
  9. Bobby pins and hair ties seem to grow legs and walk away. I can’t even fathom how much money I’ve spent on these items over the years. Where do they all go? Perhaps they’re all having a party somewhere in the sunshine. Oh, it’s especially the worst when you’re down to your last hair tie and you go to put up your hair in a nice ponytail and the hair tie breaks in your hand. Cringe.

Regardless of your gender I think we can all agree that we need to be nice to one another. Everyone goes through struggles in life and we’ve all got a battle to fight. Be kind.

Struggles of being a girl, part one >