I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to me, at 49, to be a woman…and it’s bringing up quite a few thoughts and stirrings in my heart. I was born in 1967 which was around the same time the women’s movement was gaining a lot of steam in the United States. The push was for equality. Women should be seen as equal to men, just as able to succeed in business as men, earn as much as men… a lot of that sentiment has carried through my life. The women of the generation directly before me, my mother’s generation, were warriors for this cause. So wouldn’t it be natural for the daughters to follow?
And we did. We pushed ahead, we earned our own money, took care of our own needs. Many of us decided career first, then a husband – maybe, and then children – maybe. Of the group of women I grew up with, several either chose not to have children or by the time their careers had shifted, so had their desires about having children. For those of us who did get married and have children, we still succeeded at work, pushing to higher levels within our company so that we could be “equal,” with men. And we are…except, we’re not.
We’re not equal, but that’s what has been pushed on us. That doesn’t mean that we can’t have the same types of jobs as men, because we can. But we have different expectations placed on us by society, and sometimes by ourselves. We can work, but we also bear and take care of our children, take care of our homes, hold everything together for everyone else…but often don’t take care of ourselves. I don’t say all this to whine, not at all. I say it because, for me, I’m realizing that somewhere in the push to be equal and prove that I could succeed and be responsible, I forgot to be a woman.
I forgot about taking care of me. I lost a good deal of my femininity. I had to be one of the boys, so where’s the room in that to be a girl? I don’t think we’re equal to men, because we are different. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be treated the same, but it’s being treated different because we’re women more than equal because we act like men. I want to reclaim that femininity! As I reach the cusp of 50, I’m ready to find that girl again. To take care of her, and, quite honestly, to be a little girly. Maybe not all my girlfriends out there lost some of that feminine side, but I did, and I want it back.
If I haven’t chased you away by this post already, just think about it. In your chase for equal did you lose some of the unique and beautiful aspects that make you a woman? You deserve to discover those parts, to let the world see those parts of you and to celebrate them. We are women and we should do this together, come alongside each other and show support. If you need a person, I’ll be right there with you. Be that girl again…