Who empowers you to persist despite obstacles on your journey?
For as long as I can remember, I have been an older sister to two of the most strong, talented, and beautiful of women. I love them dearly. They inspire me daily to be my best self.
As the eldest sister, I have been engrained with being their role model. Taking care of them is a 24/7 job. You are expected by your parents to set a good example, as you have younger ones looking up to you and watching your every move. My parents didn’t force this role on me; I instilled it in myself. It seems I’ve always had a built-in overwhelming sense to protect my sisters and encourage them to go after their dreams and reach for the stars.
Now that we are all professional women, my sisters and I share our stories and empower each other on our personal journeys. Along the way, we keep each other going through the highs and the lows. We are there for one another. But I am not perfect. Recently, I made a move with them that I am not proud of. So because my sisters and others are reading and learning from me through my blog, I wanted to share a story that serves as a good reminder that it’s not that you fall that matters, it’s that you get back up!!
A few weeks back, my sisters were talking with one another on the phone, telling each other about their dreams and hopes for their futures. There was positive energy flying across the wires! After the call, one of them told me about their chat and how she was so excited about what they had in store for their careers. Instead of responding with my usual bright optimistic spark and encouragement, this time I used a very pragmatic “realistic” tone.
That night as I was about to fall asleep, I was hit with the stark realization – “What had I just done?!” Two strong powerful ambitious young women had big plans for their futures; instead of encouraging them to go after their dreams, I had told them to settle!! What was wrong with me?!
Lying there wide awake, I realized I was tired.
Tired of the daily sexism one gets as a professional woman trying to make her way in the world. Tired of people thinking my appearance determines my worth. Tired of proving my value as a woman. Tired of being seen only as a baby-making machine. Tired of being seen only as a partner. Tired of being put into lower-qualified roles. Tired of being told I’m emotional because it’s my time of the month. Tired of being turned down for roles that I am totally qualified for. Tired of people commenting on my body. Tired of everyday sexism. Tired of seeing the sexism and not knowing how to change it. Tired of trying to make it on my own. Tired of holding in my struggles because I’ll be labeled as whiny or weak. Tired of the heavy load the struggle weighs on me.
No wonder I was tired.
Even though I try to move forward as a self-sufficient strong woman and persist despite the sexism I encounter, I’m held back by the weeds on my rudder as I paddle my personal journey; these weeds take me off course, slow my path, and deplete my energies. Worse yet, they keep me back from encouraging others who need help on their journeys too!
Going over these thoughts, I realized that I wasn’t on my own. I have my sisters, family, and friends there by my side. I am the strong protective older sister, and I am going to work hard to fight for equality. Fight for what is right. That is what drives me.
The next morning, I told my sisters about my realization of the error in my ways: that the realities of being a professional woman were making me bitter.
To my sisters: I’m truly sorry. I love you dearly. Never settle. Go after your dreams, and go hard! I’ve always got your back.
To those realities: I see you. I hear you. But, I’m not going to let you win. You picked the wrong person to challenge. You have fuelled a fire in me and the flame is burning bright.
To my readers: We need to empower each other. If all we encounter is sexism daily, after a while, we can start to be bitter and believe it.
That’s why we need a community – to help keep our spark alive and keep us paddling after our dreams! We can do it! We are all in this together! :)
Will you join me?