Posted in Introvert Lounge

Stand Tall

I’m a woman.  As a young girl I was always encouraged to be “lady-like”.  I was told to sit with my knees together and if I were to cross my legs, I could only cross them at the ankle.  I was told to sit up straight and practice great posture.  My mother told me all of these things not to conform to some idea of what it meant to be feminine, but for my health.  She always said these things were lady-like and good for me.  She told me sitting up straight would train me to have good posture and that crossing my legs only at the ankle would ensure proper blood flow.  She also said these things showed everyone else that I cared about myself.  She was right.  In addition to these things being good for my health, they also put out a message.

My mother also taught me to let myself be heard, and not to cower in fear of what others may think.  This is a lesson that took a while to learn, but it wasn’t hard.  I realized I project a certain confidence that I often found lacking in myself.  I have been told that I “carry myself” well, or that I look like the type of woman who “don’t take no mess”.  I have taken my share of messes in the past.   It often puzzled me that people at first meeting found me intimidating.  It was not until I saw a video of myself walking to my car shot by a friend of mine.  I was standing talk, back straight, chest out and thought to myself “Who is that?”  I could not believe my eyes.  I could now see what everyone else was talking about.  I looked more confident than I was.  This video was a game-changer for me.  That day I decided I was going to be the woman I had trained my body to be.

I was never a push-over, but I wouldn’t say that I was the most assertive woman either.  It took a lot for me to step up and make myself heard. I knew that part of me needed some work so I used the antiquated term of being “lady-like” to my advantage.  I took a page from my mother’s book.  She described the confident posture and demeanor that I now possess as “lady-like” because, I feel that she subconsciously believed that to be a less threatening term for a woman.  What she was teaching me was to convey confidence in a non-threatening way.  I had to learn to be assertive.

Being assertive for an introvert has its challenges, but it also has its advantages.  As an introvert, I tend to sit back and observe.  We introverts make lots of mental notes in our heads and tend to not act on impulse, thus making our assertion more effective.   We can be calculating and often let all the dust clear before sweeping up the pieces and putting them in order.  I use the “lady-like” approach.  I wait my turn, smile, and never raise my voice.  This is not a sign of weakness, but of control.  I can maintain my composure while making myself heard and commanding respect.  I have been amazed at how well this works.  I believe once you lose control of your emotions, you being to crack the shell of your defense.  I was able to convey a confidence and even intimidation just in the way I walked.  It wasn’t because of anything I said.  It was because I was in control of my body.  I learned that I also had to get that same control over my emotions.

 

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Posted in Uncategorized, Write On Wednesday

Write on Wednesday # 48

sage2

Today’s Writing Prompt:  Ritual

We all have some type of ritual.  It could be a daily walk, a morning brew of coffee, or a complex set of steps that you must complete before moving on to the next thing.  Write about one of your rituals and what it means to you.  Why do you feel it is necessary?  When did it start?  What would happen if you didn’t do it?

Posted in Uncategorized

Wisdom of a Child

cartoon-house1

The other day my son and I were driving home from church.  We pass a very small, modest house and my son said “That’s the kind of house I want!”  I was a little shocked as the house was very small and nondescript.  My son is academically gifted and I had visions him being a CEO, famous artist, etc.  Basically, I visioned him having a lucrative career  and along with that, I did not envision such a tiny, unremarkable home.  I asked him why that house appealed to him.  He then went on to tell me  big houses require a lot of work and money to maintain and  he did not want to spend his time, money, and energy maintaining and extravagant house.  He would much rather travel, and work just enough to afford the things he enjoys.  Spending so much money on a house did not make sense to him.

This day I learned that my dreams for may child are just that – My Dreams.  He has a mind of his own and, from what I can tell, a pretty good plan.  I work in higher education and I often encounter parents pushing their dreams onto their children.  I try to encourage the parents and the students to make decisions they will be happy with in the long run.  Although I never tell my son that he shouldn’t take a certain path or judge his decisions, I do realize that I may imply my disappointment, but saying things like “Why would you want to do that? I have to be careful with my tone because I have always told my son that he would be free to do anything that does not harm himself or others.  I will always take into consideration his best interests and will guide him along the way, but I will also trust that sometimes his vision for himself is what’s best for him.  It is his life to live and I want him to be happy.

Posted in Write On Wednesday

Write on Wednesday #47

president

I think this prompt is fitting given the current and constant concerns with the sitting POTUS.

Today’s writing prompt:  If I were President…

What would you do differently?  What would you accomplish during your first 100 days in office? Who would be your Vice President?  Who would you choose for your cabinet and why?  Will you be well liked?  Have fun with it!

Posted in Embracing Vulnerability Series

Do I want to be an independent woman?

There are songs about it.  Women are praised for it. We all want to be it, don’t we?  I am referring to being independent.  This past year I have heard it so many times.  I’ve said it so many times.  I’ve felt it many times.  I am on the fence about whether or not I like it.  I know it is not the most politically correct thing to say, but being an independent woman kind of sucks.  What I mean is, I don’t want to be an independent woman.  I want help.  I need help.  People were put on this earth to help one another and I am no longer going to be too embarrassed to admit that I can’t do everything myself.

For the past several years, I have been going through a major transition in my life.  It is a welcomed transition and I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life, but the process has been very lonely and I have had to do many things on my own.  I have been the quintessential independent woman.  I can change my own oil, change a tire, shoot a rifle or handgun, (better than most), move heavy objects, etc. all by myself.  I even have even been given the name, Superwoman by my colleagues.  People often wonder how I can do so much.  My answer is, because I have to.  I honestly do not want to be an independent woman. I want to be able to do all of the things I listed, but I don’t want to have to do them all by myself.  I wears me out.  When I take off my fancy bulletproof, uniform with the chiseled muscles embossed on the glossy exterior, what lies beneath  is a battered and bruised body with aches and pains. That body is in need of a warm bath, massage, and bandages, but I am too tired to run the bath or reach for the bandages.  Instead I sit and wait until the throbbing pain subsides and I put on the Superwoman garb to cover what has yet to heal and walk out into the next day to begin again as an “independent woman”.

The Superwoman moniker is somewhat true in my case.  On the outside looking in, I may seem invincible.  My superhero uniform is pristine and I am, for whatever reason, freakishly strong physically.  I only sleep, at most, three hours a night and function perfectly on just those three hours (my grandmother was the same way.  It is apparently a gene mutation. You can read a little about it here. )  All of these things are remarkably impressive, but unlike most superheroes, I lack the ability of rapid healing.  I feel the effects of my “independence” physically and emotionally.  I will have to admit that a lot of it is my fault.  When I was younger, I was so proud of all of my seemingly superhuman abilities and loved to show them off.  I taught everyone around me that I could do everything myself.  After a while, offers to help stopped coming in because I supposedly didn’t need it.  I was an “independent woman who didn’t need no help”.  I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now.  I gave in to the pressure of being the independent woman.  I wore it like a badge of honor, but it became my scarlet letter.  Being the “independent woman” was shielding me from the help I needed.

Years later, I realize I am in the same pattern.  I am no longer challenging men to arm wrestling contests, but I am still showcasing my “independence”.  Now I would welcome any help that is offered, but I have shown that I don’t need it.  As old habits die hard, I have become accustomed to turning down help because I have also convinced myself that I am invincible.  I have recently had to allow myself to show weakness.  Every superhero has his or her limits and I have reached mine.   As before, I can still do all of those things, but it is getting harder to just throw on the costume and make it through another day.

Now I have to create new habits and change old behaviors.  These past few months have been quite challenging, even for this superhero.  I have never cried so much in my life.  I have wondered why no one has been around to help.  I had to realize that I had put on a superhuman performance that showed all of my loved ones that I could handle everything on my own.  I truly believe in being vulnerable.  In some areas of my life I feel that I am, but I never ask for help.  I have no problem expressing my feelings or showing when I am hurt, disappointed, unhappy, etc., but I never ask for help with dealing with those things.  I have a lot of work to do.  As I have mentioned before in many of my previous posts, I am a work in progress.

I would like to challenge all of us to not only be open to help, but to also ask for when when we need it.  We were not put on this earth to travel this journey alone.  Although it is great to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, and self-supporting, we don’t have to be, nor should we be.

 

Posted in Embracing Vulnerability Series, Good Stuff

Build

We are all building something. It is up to us which materials we choose.

As like all people, I have had ups and downs, highs and lows.  During the downs and lows, I felt stagnant.  I felt as if I was stuck in mud, marinating in gloom and doom.  What I did not know was that even in those down/low times, I was building.  I was building with inferior materials of guilt, self-pity, anger, and insecurity.  Those things are flimsy and degradable.  Once I realized those things were not going to improve my position or outlook, I had to first get out of the mud and that required some help.  Sometimes you aren’t capable of getting out of the mud on your own.  You need something to grasp onto.  I latched on to my faith in God.  I realized I had sank so deep in the mud that I allowed my hands to get stuck as well.  I had stop reaching for help.  Wiggling my hands free from the mud was a choice I had to make and I made it.  That was one of the best decisions of my life.

Once I reached out my hand and let faith lead the way, I was given the materials to construct an abundant life.  I did not find them! I did not purchase them! THEY WERE GIVEN TO ME! 

It had to be my choice to wiggle my hand free from the mud, reach out and believe. That was all I had to do.  God took care of the rest.  I made a choice to accept that I could not build on my own.  I had to get rid of the inferior materials to make way for the premium-grade.

I would like to challenge all of you who feel you are stuck in the mud to at least wiggle one hand free. Have faith, reach out and believe.

 

Posted in Write On Wednesday

Write on Wednesday #46

 

Today’s Writing Prompt:  Let me tell you something!

Have you ever had an argument, but long after the argument ends you think of all the things you could have said.  Write about it.  Tell that person what your really meant.