Femaleness

 
I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: We should all be feminists TED Talk
 
 

10 years ago this summer, I had the privilege of meeting Chimamanda Adichie while she was on the book tour for "Purple Hibiscus." Her work has continued to have a profound impact, but even more so lately. If you haven't listened to her TED Talk on feminism, it is life *clap* changing *clap.* 

While the implications of the gender gap can be broad, more often than not, they are subtle. One day, the inequality will have evolved so that no one will need to worry about it at all, but for now it unfortunately but certainly exists. I love the way Ms. Adichie explains women's roles over time when she says:

 
...A thousand years ago because human beings lived then in a world in which physical strength was the most important attribute for survival. The physically stronger person was more likely to lead, and men, in general, are physically stronger. Of course there are many exceptions.

But today we live in a vastly different world. The person more likely to lead is not the physically stronger person; it is the more creative person, the more intelligent person, the more innovative person, and there are no hormones for those attributes. A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, to be creative, to be innovative. We have evolved; but it seems to me that our ideas of gender had not evolved.
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: We should all be feminists TED Talk
 

There are so many stereotypes around this word that I really haven't considered myself a part of "the feminist group" in the past. However, I have never broken down these concepts; I've never thought about it the way she describes. The term "feminist" seemed so abrasive and argumentative, and for those who know me, I do not fit into the category of either of those adjectives. Now I'm thinking this word fits me more than ever. Chimamanda has inspired me to look beyond my "I'm sorry's" and "it was just luck" excuses, and to begin owning what makes me unique -- one of those things is that I am female, and will not apologize for my femaleness.

 

 

Little Green Monster

 

5:00 a.m. It's Monday. A normal Monday. I know I'm in the minority when I say, I actually operate pretty well on Mondays (Tuesdays are the bad days). I wake up, immediately start brainstorming about what I'm going to get done this week, and feel energized by the thought of a fresh start. I grab a Kize Bar and am off to the gym, glowing over productive thoughts and a can-do attitude.

6:30 a.m. Gym, check. Shower, check. Coffee, check check. Today is going great. 

8:00 a.m. Good morning office with a sunrise view! Snap a story for Instagram, feeling #blessed.

9:45 a.m. Emails, done. Most pressing projects, done. Now what...

10:15 a.m. FULL ON PANIC ATTACK. Sweating, blurry vision, heart racing, jitters, extreme nausea, suffocating, heavy, small... I can't think of other words to describe what it feels like.

What changed in just 30 minutes that put me so off balance? What provoked a panic attack? Looking back, I couldn't actually tell you what exactly triggered the incident. I just remember the crippling feeling that I would always be in this moment. After what seemed like eternity, I was able to calm myself down, I didn't want to think about it — the incident  again. I tried successfully to completely erase it from my memory. That is until my sweet husband later asked me a question that forced me to remember. A question that forced me to talk about it. Which led to panic all over again. Which led to journaling. A LOT of journaling. Furiously writing incoherent thoughts and fragmented sentences. And feeling like crap.

I read once that giving feelings a name makes them seem less intimidating. I now know from experience and a great support system that this is the truth. I'm trying to remember that the monster of anxiety has more power in the dark than in the light. Identifying the moment, the feeling, and the scenario puts a spotlight on the situation. While this is painful, scary, and seems insurmountable, it actually helps. I suppose that's what I'm attempting to do right now. It sort of feels like this:

Maybe it's because I'm actually making progress with my anxiety (or maybe it's because I've got a happy hour date tonight). Whatever the motivation, I can't believe this blog post came together. I've been horrified by the idea of making these thoughts public. But in the end, I know we all have issues we are struggling though. We are not alone. We are not in the dark. This quote from Brené Brown sums it up pretty well (below), as does the perspective from Levo Community (also below), both of which just so happened to land in my in-box this afternoon. I would say that is a coincidence... if I believed in them. To me this feels like something more. So I'm a work in progress. Who isn't?

Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.
— Brené Brown
I drew a little green monster on my shoulder that speaks to me in my ear and tells me all these things that aren’t true. And every time I listen to it, it grows bigger. If I listen to it enough, it crushes me.
— Emma Stone
 

Welcome!

 

One of my resolutions for 2016 was to create my own website. It has been a long time coming! So here we are, with three weeks left in the year, and my personal website is finally up an running. Better late than never, right? 

Here’s to self-improvement and meeting goals!

In all seriousness, I have a passion for digital marketing. Through a newly found support system, I have been encouraged and inspired to get out there and pursue it. I love the projects I have worked on so far, which includes everything from nonprofits, to political campaign fundraising, to small business, and everything in between. Each client comes to me with a vision, but apprehensive about acting on it. Through a few brainstorming sessions and a bit of work, we were able to make their dreams come to live. Solving these types of problems and helping businesses thrive is the most rewarding job ever!

In the spirit of staying accountable, I also plan to share reflections, life-hacks, pep-talks, and all around beneficial blog articles in this space. Lord know, I need 'em. If anyone else reads them, bonus! Here are sources I will be calling upon for these articles, to name a few:

  • Brené Brown. If you have not read her book Daring Greatly, then your life has not really begun.

  • Heather Mansfield. The website Nonprofit Tech for Good is a bible. Seriously.

  • Dale Carnegie. How to Win Friends and Influence People has the most simple and timeless life reminders! It takes guts to be gentle and kind. Also it's $3 on Kindle.

  • Google Academy. Can I get a woot woot for online classes and certifications?!

  • Jen Sincero. In good days and bad days, the audio book You are a Badass was something I needed to hear. On repeat.

  • Elizabeth Gilbert. Her Big Magic musings on perfectionism in art and leadership cut me to the core. 

  • Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel. Download their leadership podcasts and make them part of your weekly routine. Now. 

  • Life Coaching. Blush life coaching has really helped this millennial put things in perspective. A kick in the pants and a pep-talk wrapped into one package. Woof.

I hope I can help share the life skills, training, and tips that I have picked up on along the way. I am eternally grateful to those who have supported me, listened to me, and encouraged me so far. Love you all!