I’ve been a feminist since the day I was born - I didn’t necessarily have the words to describe the belief set as a kid but I definitely had the attitude. One of my first feminist moments was when my parents were having work done on our roof in my childhood home. One of the roofers kept calling me “honey” and it was driving me crazy. So when he said “honey, can you get me a Diet Coke from the cooler?” I knew what I had to do - I took that can and shook it as hard as I could, handed it off and waited for the explosion. As you can expect, he was quickly covered in a sticky mess as the cola sprayed all over him as I defiantly put my little hands on my hips and shouted “don’t call me honey!”
Now I wouldn’t necessarily condone this type of action these days, my feminism has certainly evolved and matured. But the empowerment behind it has carried me through life to this point. From insisting on playing with the boys at recess even when they made it clear they didn’t want me there, raising my hand high in class when I could hear the snickering behind me, to now working to make sure all young girls and women feel the same empowerment I have felt through education.
But I cannot say that this feeling of empowerment was unwavering, I definitely felt the strain of being a strong, determined woman more than a handful of times. When I heard snickering in the back of the classroom when I raised my hand, there was more than one occasion where I made a silent vow to stop raising my hand in class to avoid the burning eyes in the back of my head. But I never stuck to those promises and I am so thankful I didn’t.
Recently someone told me that, when feeling burned out by work or current events or general stress, that it’s important to “Remember The Why”. Why am I doing this work? Is it important to me? If this is something important to me, am I going to let this stress or worry interfere with my goals? For example, why am I so invested in school? For me, it was because I wanted to go to college to become someone who helps people. So, because it was important to me, would I let the worry of people laughing at me interfere with my goal? Absolutely not.
So that’s my big advice to staying empowered. Remember the why. Find a goal and if it ever feels like it’s becoming too much, remember why you got into it and remember why it’s important to you. Until next time! - Madison