“A Woman? Me? Hooray!”
“A woman? Me? Hooray!” Those would be my initial thoughts upon realizing not only am I a woman but I enjoy being a woman. As a child I was always a tomboy. My favorite color was blue, I played with trucks and balls, I ran around catching bugs in the garden, I enjoyed doing the types of things that were usually reserved for boys. Thankfully my mother did not push me into becoming a girly girl. I resisted acting like a proper girl. I had no interest in clothes, fashion, gossip, and the like. This resistance to all things frilly, pink and “girly” lasted well into my late teens. I had a skewed perception of women as being weak, fragile, deceptive and downright cruel. Later, though, I realized my perceptions were wrong. I came to learn that being a woman doesn’t mean one is a gossip, or loves fashion, or hates sports. A woman is a person with thoughts, feelings, goals and ambitions just like anyone else. I define my womanhood as realizing that I have the ability to do and become what ever I choose, while embracing my feminine nature. Until recently I had always suppressed anything feminine, assuming that such would make me appear weak and others would not take me seriously. I realized though that by embracing these qualities that are unique to women I was empowering myself.
When faced with the fact that someone else considered me as an original lady I really had to sit down and think about what makes me an original woman. What is it about me that is unique? Through this introspection I found that there are three basic things about me that make me the person I am. These three things are my upbringing, my personality, and my mind.
I had an interesting childhood, to say the least. When I began high school both of my parents had a lot of physical and emotional health problems. My father was a business traveler and my mother was not able to deal with too much stimulation or interaction. When she was no longer capable of juggling the cooking, cleaning, and laundry I stepped up and took these tasks on. It wasn’t uncommon for me to go a week or two without seeing either of my parents. This led to my needing to be self sufficient. I tried to remember how my mother would do things but most of the time learned by trial and error. I remember burning a batch of peanut butter cookies one morning because I thought they weren’t cooked yet. When I moved out on my own, the basic skills I learned were very valuable. My female roommates did not know how to cook and clean. They never had to do these things for themselves and never had a desire to learn on their own. I really am grateful that I was given the opportunity to take on so much responsibility as a teenager. I really learned a lot from my own mother despite her absence later in my life. She taught me how to be kind and compassionate.
I always had a very independent personality, so I actually enjoyed being self sufficient in m youth. I am also fairly optimistic and have a very different approach to the “glass half full or half empty” analogy. In reality I see the glass as being completely full. While half may be water the other half is full of possibilities. This optimistic attitude has kept me afloat in some very stormy times. In fact I view problems as a personal challenge. I do tend to veer away from the traditional way of accomplishing anything. I refuse to conform to certain standards. Rather, I prefer to live my life as I want to live it. I rebel against structure and schedules. In reality I’m a free spirit. As a youth this led to awkwardness socially. While I was very outgoing and friendly, I didn’t quite fit in, mostly because I didn’t want to. Older women took me in and befriended me. I had always considered them to be “my parent’s friends” who would really have no interest in some punk kid. I am glad that they did have an interest in me, as an individual. I formed some very strong and very valuable friendships. I was able to benefit from their maturity and their life experiences. In areas where I was having trouble they would know exactly how to help me cope. Instead of being bombarded by the attitudes and immature views of those my own age I was refreshed with a mature outlook which was more similar to my own. I finally fit in! Along with my own mother, these women proved to be an inspiration to me.
I realized part of the reason I didn’t fit in was due to my ability to view, reason, and think on a more mature level. I did not find any amusement in immature mind games. My mind was mostly focused on more pressing matters. I always had a concern for the earth and its inhabitants, animals and people alike. I am always seeking a way to help others. My optimistic personality really helps me to see the best in people, no matter what their situation is or how they might appear. I never learned how to judge others. I decided my time as a youth was best spent in volunteer work. I dedicated a large portion of my time to a volunteer education program. This program helped others to understand the world we are living in and make changes to improve their lives. I also was involved in volunteer construction work where I specialized in tile. Being concerned with the environment, I decided at an early age I wanted to be a vegetarian. Out of concern for my health my parents prevented me from doing this. Although at 16 I decided I was old enough to make my own decisions regarding my health and became a vegetarian. While working in the real world to make a living I generally tend to be outwitting the system. I’m always finding a way to use the rules and regulations of society against itself for my benefit. I always enjoyed learning and am interested in practically everything.
In summary, my womanhood is defined by me. I’m outgoing, loving, compassionate and a free spirit. I am not afraid to embrace my feminine qualities and interests. My upbringing taught me self sufficiency, independence, compassion and kindness. My personality is strong, optimistic, and sensitive to possibilities. My mind is full of deep thoughts, complex ideas, and hope for the future. These things, among others, make me unique as a woman.
I found inspiration from my own mother, who has overcome many obstacles in her life, including physical disabilities and emotional damage. Also, the women who adopted me into their own families provide me with inspiration. They taught me that I do belong.
If I were to give any young woman some advice it would be to befriend an older woman. There is so much that can be learned from a friend who understands you but also understands how to help you grow. Also, young women, do not become preoccupied with appearances and social status. Find happiness within yourself. Apply love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and self control in your life. Love moves others to love you in return. Joy gives you the strength to cope with challenges. Peace helps you to keep your relationships free of strife. Long-suffering enables you to stay happy even when you are under trial. Kindness draws others to you. Goodness on your part makes others respond when you need help. Faith will assure you of loving direction. Mildness will bring you calmness of heart, mind, and body. Self-control means that your mistakes will be fewer.
While there are many things in the world to be afraid of, I find my strongest fears as a woman are those which hinge on the happiness of my loved ones. I fear for a secure and happy future for them. I fear that corruption and greed will ruin the earth. I fear that children will starve and die, no matter what we may do to prevent it. I fear that violence and hatred will only increase. I fear that someday we will realize, once it is too late, that there is no hope for the future.