Being A Girl

Sometimes, I feel as though women travel through life with invisible boulders attached to their shoulders. As a woman, it doesn’t matter what we do, we carry the weight of everyones judgments. We are taught that we must dress a particular way, style our hair, always have groomed nails, etc The list is endless, and the expectations are exhausting to meet, yet we continue to try and live up to societies impossible standards.
Aside from the pressures society places on women, I think being born a woman is a blessing – at least thats how I feel about my life. Women encompass a strength that no other species on the planet possesses, and society teaches us to be insecure to try and suppress us, limit us and prevent us from achieving great success.
I used to be a very insecure person. I was always a tomboy. I liked sports clothes, and playing outside more than dressing up. Dressing up was never my thing. However,, one year in summer school I decided that I wanted to wear dresses and tank tops. People would ask me “why are you dressed like that? They weren’t used to seeing me in girly clothes. I felt insecure, and lied that my cousin made me dress more girly. The truth was, I wanted to wear those clothes, but I didn’t know how to break free from my peers opinions of how I should dress. Instead of saying what I felt, I lied and during the regular school year, I went back to wearing jerseys and track pants.
It wasn’t until years later that I decided to break-free from peoples opinions of how I should dress. I felt very lost and felt like I needed to find my identity. I went through a phase where I dyed my hair every colour of the rainbow. My motivation for doing this was to teach myself that the opinions of others didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered in my life was my opinion of myself. During this process, I had many people approach me to tell me they either loved my hair or hated it. Regardless of the opinion I received, I refused to let myself internalize it. Instead I made a conscious choice to only focus on my opinion. The extra noise of external judgments disappeared from my mind, and I felt free.

While I am grateful for having the strength of a woman and possessing the ability to fight for myself. I wish I didn’t have to. I wish I was free to be myself from the get go. I wish society taught me that it was okay to dress and be myself. I wish girls were taught to be free the same way boys are. However, with that said I am also grateful for the extra step that I had to overcome as a woman, because it made me stronger.

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Perplexed

As I sit here, starring at my fingers calmly placed over the keys of my keyboard, I am overcome with a sense of calmness. Perhaps it is the familiarity of the keys under my touch, bringing peace to the convoluted thoughts spinning around my mind, I’m not too sure. But I continue to sit here patiently, willing my fingers to decipher my thoughts.

InternetofThingsI’m not sure how I feel. As I look around the world around me, I see that everything is in its correct place. My clothes are tucked neatly in my closet at home, my car is parked in its regular parking spot at work, and everything is as it should be. Yet, while I know that everything is the same as it always has been, everything has changed.

My outlook on life has changed. The person I am is different from who she was just a couple of weeks ago.

I  have always been a person who loves clothes, and any method of self-expression for that matter, but recently I can’t help but think “what’s the point?”. What is the purpose of establishing your individuality?

Recently, we experienced the loss of a family member. She passed away quite young and as I walked around her home, I couldn’t help by notice many of her possessions neatly organized in their assigned homes. A thought flashed across my mind,

“once upon a time, she had gone to a store, and picked out
each item because it spoke to her in some way”.

Days after her passing, the items remain, and she is no more. It’s true that she exists in our memories and left behind a legacy of learned lessons, but we can’t touch her. Instead we are left with items that she purchased to express who she was as a person, and that person no longer exists.

This realization has left me with an internal void. What is my purpose? I believe that my family member passed away young because she had fulfilled her life purpose. She had fully blossomed into the most beautiful flower and I believe god always picks the most beautiful flowers in the garden. But what is my purpose? Am I fulfilling it? I don’t want to leave behind a house full of things if I didn’t use them to make someone else happy. I don’t want to become so fixated on the things in my life that I become sidetracked and neglect fulfilling my life purpose.

I love my job and feel that I am making a valuable contribution to the world around me. The company I work for changes lives for the better, and that inspires me to work to my full potential every single day. The technology this company creates saves lives, and makes an impact in the world that I could never make as an individual. But, I can’t help but feel like there is more that I can do.

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Volcano of Emotions

There is a very big hole in my heart filled with sadness. I’m saddened by the way you treat me, disappointed that you didn’t take the time to get to know me, and frustrated that I am giving more than I am receiving. I don’t know how to open up and tell you how I feel and that frustrates me. I can see my weakness and yet I don’t know how to overcome it. I wish I could tell you that I don’t like how you treat me without having a tsunami of tears stream down my face. The tears would show I am weak, and my current persona of being a strong person would instantly fade away.

Instead I lash out, hoping that maybe you would listen to what I’m saying and not how I am saying it. I admit that I come off as harsh when I express my feelings. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I care too much, and I wish I didn’t. Maybe if I stopped caring, my heart wouldn’t hurt so much. Perhaps then I wouldn’t feel like a prisoner of my mind, and I could spread my wings and be free.

Doctors have told me that I need to learn to let things go, because the unnecessary stress that it creates in my mind is causing my body to shut down on me. But, I don’t know how to get over things without getting closure. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to overcome my fair share of loss, and that’s left me with so many unresolved dead ends. I’m not too sure, but I feel like I need to discuss things with people in order to move forward with the relationship, and I’m not strong enough to have that discussion with you. Maybe it’s the fear of rejection, or the fear of not being heard that is acting as a barrier, preventing me from voicing my feelings. I’m not too sure.

What I do know is that I am a strong person, and just like any other obstacle that has been placed in front of me, I will overcome it. The way I see it, I have two options, I can either work on my relationship with you by expressing how I feel, or simply walk away. I know the latter would be the easier option, but how would that help me grow as a person? Isn’t the purpose of life to grow and become the best version of yourself that you can be? If I simply walk away from the relationship, what would I learn? How would I grow? I would be doing myself an injustice. Maybe the best approach for me to take is to express how I feel whether I am heard or not. I need to do my part and try. I can only control my actions and reactions to events. If I am not heard, or if you don’t care, at least I know I tried. At least I will know that I tried to fight for myself.

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Mind Shackling

Lately, I’ve been feeling confined by the shackles of my mind. The harder I pull to break free, the tighter the shackles become. I try to maneuver to free myself from the madness of my mind and when I think I’m finally free, the elasticity of the rope I’m tied to flings me back against the wall, and then I’m back to where I started.  I can’t escape the hollow feeling inside me. The more I try, the stronger they get. I’m trapped in a world of self-inflicted sadness – my mind keeps playing tricks on me.

I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize the person I see in front of me. I feel lost, and at the height of vulnerability, with no one to turn to. No one to understand the depth of my emptiness. I’m not sure how I got to this point. I was completely blindsided. Maybe there has always been a part of me that felt this  way, and only now that I am taking the time to learn about myself do I see this side of me as clear as day.
Maybe we all have a place inside us that is dark and hollow and filled with vulnerability, insecurity and sadness. After all, we are all human and we share the ability to laugh or cry, or be happy or sad. Our emotions are the thread that tie us all together. We have the ability to feel and analyze the world we live in.  We possess a unique ability to learn about ourselves, understand our strengths and our flaws. However, our perception always seems to skew how we see our lives and sometimes prevents us from seeing the good.

Perhaps the trick to overcoming these emotions is to understand that these emotions don’t define us. They are what make us human. We need to understand that in life we all have ups and downs, and to not allow ourselves to get stuck in the lows. Maybe we will forever remain shackled to the games our mind plays on us and a part of growing and learning in life is to find ways to maneuver through life with them. Perhaps it is the shackles that teach us life’s most valuable lessons and we have to learn to understand those lessons and continue on our journey.

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The Ticking Clock

I’m sorry – they’re gone. The words feel like an avalanche of rocks, causing you to momentarily lose your breathe. The words cut and it feels like a sharply edged sword that leaves you feeling at the peak of vulnerability. It’s as though, at the snap of a finger, the world as you see it has slightly shifted its axis, and you have to find a way to exist in this new world.

Like many, I’ve had close relatives move into the next realm of life, and each time it has had made an impact on my life. I hold my memories of each passed loved one close to my heart, and once in a while I catch myself fondly thinking about the great memories we created together. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet such wonderful people, and I appreciate the impact they have made on my life. But, that doesn’t stop me from missing them every day, especially during milestones in my life. During my wedding, I remember missing my grandfather and wishing he was there to share in the great memories that were being created. He was the only one I wanted at my wedding that wasn’t on the guest list. While I know he lives in my heart, I wish I could physically touch him, talk to him, and interact with him, in some way. But, I know that’s not possible. So I hold on to memories of him sneaking me chocolate bars when my grandma wasn’t looking, or shopping for my very first bike. Memories that I’m latching on to with more strength as I grow older.

I also had a friend who commit suicide when I was 11 years old. This was my first real experience with death – he was my age – and at the time I didn’t understand why he chose to end his life. Growing up, I learned that he was bullied because he was gay and had a hard time accepting it, and in retrospect if he was, I wish he had told someone how he felt.  I would have been there to support and listen to him so that he didn’t feel isolated and lonely. It almost angers me to think, ‘if you had just fought for yourself – the world is a different place now. If you felt shamed – you shouldn’t have! The tiny bubble of high school isn’t a reflection of the real world’.

Sometimes, in life, I feel that we unintentionally get lost in the present clouds of sadness. We look around, search for something to grasp on to, and when we finally think we’ve found our footing, we start to feel the turbulence.  Grief is the same, we feel it in stages. After the initial shock has worn off, and we start to regain some stability, the second bout of grief hits us. That is when we truly start to feel the pain of loss.  However, we need to accept that life isn’t a constant. People come and go. Life’s circumstances change. The only thing that remains constant is how we grow as people. What was the purpose of us undergoing events in our lives? What did we learn about ourselves? How did the situation positively impact us? My grandfather gave me my sweet tooth for chocolate. In general I don’t like to eat sweets, but I love chocolate. My friend taught me compassion. He taught me to never judge people and let them exist the way they are. Everyone has a life journey, a purpose and when their time comes to move on, you have to accept it. Take the lessons that you learn from them and the happy memories you have created and cherish them.

Jumping Over Hurdles

At times, I feel that we are our worst enemy. We create a vision for our lives, and when we unexpectedly veer off course, or are pushed into unfamiliar territory, we start to see our lives through a shattered mirror. Our vision of ourselves becomes distorted. Thoughts like “this wasn’t meant to be my life”, “this put my life back 5 years” creep up on us and without realizing it, we’re left feeling vulnerable, helpless or both. It’s as though we mentally confine ourselves to the walls of a padded room in a physic ward. We become so entrapped in the current state of affairs that we fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Speaking as someone who has been pushed off a bridge into unfamiliar waters time and time again, I thoroughly understand the pain you feel when they splash into the icy cold abyss. The sharp pains you feel when the realization of where you are kicks in, and your inability to breathe as you look in every direction to find something to hold on to. We all have events in our lives that cause us to feel this way. The death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, learning that pregnancy may not be in the cards for you, not getting into the school of your choice, we all have events in our lives that seem shattering, but they make us stronger people. When you finally accept the changes in your life, and realize that you alone are the only person to pull yourself from the depths of sadness that have been created in your mind, you take a retrospective look at your life and realize that you may have underestimated yourself and tried to create a life that was inferior to what you deserve.

Growing up, I didn’t know what course my life was going to take. I became involved with a group of friends that I had no business associating with. I was in a relationship with someone who treated me slightly better than the dirt on the bottom of his shoes and silenced my voice. I can hide behind the excuse that I had an ill parent and that left me feeling confused and vulnerable. But the truth is, I had created this life for myself. I allowed my thoughts to control me and make me feel inferior. My life would have continued down that path if I didn’t fight for it. I had to fight for the life I thought I could create for myself. I set a list of goals for myself: Complete my master’s degree, find a life partner who will be respectful of the person I am (I wasn’t going to compromise who I was. I had already wasted 5 years and I wasn’t about to waste any more time), and be myself (whether people liked it or not). It was only when I decided to fight for myself that my life turned around, and I truly believe that this is the truth for many people. When we stop playing the victim in our lives and start taking control over what we want to accomplish, it puts us in a better state of mind. Yes, there are going to be events in our lives that push us off course, but it’s how we get back up that defines us. We can’t let the events in our lives define us. Similarly to a hurdle race in track in field, life is about jumping over hurdles. Sometimes our foot gets caught and we stumble, but we have to get back up and finish the race.

Stones Along The Way

Opinions. They don’t mean anything until we assign value to them. Yet, we allow them to control us.  They shape our perception of ourselves, and we let them.  One of the greatest things about being human is that we’re not meant to be homogeneous in nature. We’re meant to be individuals, who grow gradually with our life experiences.  Yet we allow people’s opinions of us to create an infinite cycle of thoughts that cause us to become stagnant. We can tend to become so fixated on the opinions of others, that our priority in life can shift from being the people we want to be, to being the people others want us to be.

In recent months, a friend of mine had something posted about her on a social media site. Out of respect for my friend’s privacy, I’ve decided not to elaborate on the situation. However, it left her extremely upset. Constant thoughts looped around her mind: What will my friends think of me? What will my family think? This irked me. Taking a step back from the situation, her concerns should have been, how does this make me feel? Am I okay? What do I need to do to accept that this issue has taken place?

Why do we give other people’s opinions so much weight in our lives? I believe a situation or a problem is placed in front of you to help you grow as a person, not hinder you. We only become weak when value others opinions over our own. One of the greatest gifts of life is that we have the cognitive ability to learn and grow, yet we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to learn valuable life lessons by becoming tangled in this vortex of judgments .

If I’m being completely transparent, I think people’s opinions are irrelevant. Opinions are often based on the internal struggles people have with themselves, and most of the time they don’t have anything to do with the person they are being opinionated about. Yet, we place so much emphasis on them that we allow them to define us, and somewhere throughout this process we lose ourselves.

We need to stay true to what we think and know about ourselves. If we allow other people’s opinions to define us, we sacrifice the ability to grow into our  full potential and lose the opportunity to be the people we could be.