One day, when I was a little girl, my mother was putting curls in my hair. She took the curlers out of my hair and I began crying. Not just like small tears. But full on five-year old gushing tears. After that day my Mom never curled my hair again. I think she was traumatized more than I was. But that’s just what moms do with their little girls. Needless to say I was a little bit of a tom boy. Later on I loved reading Vogue and shopping for clothes for the next gig when living in Nashville doing my singer/songwriter thing. For some reason at that time as a little girl I had associated having curls as being too feminine and not playing sports. And I think that was what I was really upset about.
It’s strange that my five-year old self would pick up on that. And by that I mean the social non-verbal cues of expectations of women. I wanted no part of it. At five in the eights there were no women on television playing sports except for during the Olympics and tennis. Therefore if you had curls, you didn’t get to play sports. Those curls meant to me not getting to do the things I loved. That was my five year old mind. However a lot to that mindset in our culture has continued through social norms and the pressure women put on each other to be “good” or “normal”.
We carry these behaviors in our work life as well. “Most of us have been raised with a massive disparity between the way women should be and the way men should be. This isn’t a question of masculine versus feminine… …most women, regardless of where they grew up or what their cultural background is, have been taught essentially that to be a good woman is to be good for other people. The problem with this is that it means you’re letting other people determine your worth.”¹
What’s interesting to me is that even if I see myself not feeling this way in some areas of my life, there are others where it creeps in. This conversation is one we don’t talk about much. We talk about equal pay. We talk about breaking the glass ceiling, but what we don’t talk about is the social norms that prohibit us from being our best selves. Trying to please others and what others think whether that be on social media, at work, at home, or any other aspect of our lives.
What’s worse is that other women in their guilt or own stinking thinking can be the worst perpetrators of criminalizing those who try to be themselves outside those norms. Shooting the arrow right where guilt is most likely to hang around. The part where these wounds hit us the hardest is where we spend our time. When we listen to those voices of social reason we feel guilty where we spend it. Sometimes that guilt is actually from unreasonable expectations that we place on ourselves.
“A goal is a dream with work boots on” – Rachel Hollis
Rachel Hollis in her book, Girl, Stop Apologizing, talks about her story in when you’ll actually make time. “That’s what it boils down to. Not whether or not you have the time, but whether this goal you have is so compelling, so beautiful, so necessary to your future happiness that you’re willing to trade your current comfort in order to achieve it.”² I have always believed that we make our own time.
There are so many distractions like social media, television, and internet surfing amoung others that can steal time away from us. When you really want something you’ll go out and get it and let nothing stop you.
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Vigilant Poster Girl
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- Hollis, Rachel. Girl, Stop Apologizing (pp. 13-14). HarperCollins Leadership. Kindle Edition.
- Hollis, Rachel. Girl, Stop Apologizing (p. 23). HarperCollins Leadership. Kindle Edition.