Good morning SOTGC readers. I’d like to extend a huge thank you to my friends Angie and Salina for not only being an inspiration for this post, but for also letting me use them as direct examples. Let me also extend appreciation for the multitude of other (unmentioned) ladies who were also an inspiration behind this.
In the society that we live in today there is a huge amount of pressure on women to conform to a certain stricture and “fit the mold.” I believe the term “Stepford Wife” is oftentimes used as a universal name placed upon this description. We are supposed to be ladylike and demure, to not cuss nor voice what is on our minds (apparently whispering behind each others’ backs is highly preferable to stating an issue to someone’s face). I know that this was an issue that I battled with for the first 26 years of my life. If you’re an outspoken, intense, quirky, and determined woman you will most likely feel a TON of pressure to conform to a certain “way of being.”
This can lead to an uncomfortable juxtaposition between who you intrinsically are, and who you feel that you are supposed to be. The awkward phase of our teen years and the even more awkward phase of our early to mid twenties of “finding ourselves” (I say more awkward because this is when we become aware of the internal battle). Then once we find ourselves, how do we best express this without taking heat and judgment from those who were able to conform to society’s “feminine ideals” or perhaps they truly are like that?
I myself have felt completely at odds my whole life with what most women told me I should be “more like,” and who I really am. To avoid the whispers behind my back in junior high I created a facade that personified what I thought they wanted me to be. This carried into high school where not one day passed when I didn’t fear going to school because I worried about what someone would say to point out that I was just “different.”
Now, in my early 30s, I am finally at peace with who I am. And to be honest, I just don’t care if people want to pass judgment because I am too outspoken, because I am very intense, because I cuss on occasion, and I will voice my feelings to your face instead of throwing digs at you behind your back. They say to never have regrets, but if I did have one regret, it would be that I couldn’t take what I have learned and feel now, and translate that through my entire teenage experience.
Getting back to the amazing ladies who inspired this post, each has been a superb example of how wonderful “just being you” is.
My friend Angie is an ex Salient Surgical colleague of mine and was a rep in the Austin, Texas area. When I first met Angie it was at a National Sales Conference as we were picking up our name tags, agendas, and random other things we get at the beginning of each of these. Every other female rep was wearing their Louis Vuitton bags, decked out in their sparkly accessories, and looking like they stepped out of some page in the Nordstrom catalog. Now please don’t feel that I am trashing this, as I myself was decked out in comfy but sparkly travel wear.
Angie bounced up to the registration table next to me (I say bounced because if you know Angie, then you know how much energy she has and that’s part of what we love about her) in loose fitting workout pants, tank top, amazing tan, and Live Strong armbands in place of sparkly bracelets. I immediately liked her!!! Getting to know Angie more over the last couple years I was stunned and in awe of the amount of extreme sports she participates in. Every time I look at her Facebook page she has some amazing and cool pictures of her latest adventures.
I am constantly impressed and inspired by Angie, by how comfortable she is with herself, and how she embraces it and never lets the pressure of “what women should be like” change who she is or what she does.
My friend Salina is a wonderfully spiritual, quirky, highly intelligent, and intense woman as well. She comes from a very well educated family, her father is a well known and respected physician in the San Diego area. The environment in which she grew up usually breeds a woman who is very well educated, obsessed with the latest fashions, drives the latest S Class, and cares more about shopping and the next dinner party than trying to save the environment and every homeless animal she can find.
She embraces what makes her happy and her most sparkly accessory is always her smile which says “I am who I am and I LOVE it!”
I guess the point I’m trying to make here is, forget what society says you’re “supposed to be like.” Figure out who you really are, be comfortable with that, and realize that the most attractive feature you have can’t be found at a high end retail store, nor can it be created by a skilled plastic surgeon, it’s what comes from inside, and is allowed to show outside.