Insight to a Feminist Point of View

A huge topic floating around right now is feminism. I know, typical, right? But today I am going to clear a few things up. Feminism is NOT about girl power. Okay it is, but not today’s meaning of girl power. Feminists are not against men or things that men do. They are not against women being stay at home moms, and they are not only abrasive women. At least, they are not supposed to be. Feminism is supposed to be a term that frames the idea of equal rights for women. Giving women a chance to be taken seriously in a room full of men, empowering women to stand up against the wage gap between women and men, and imploring them to not feel guilty for wanting a career or for wanting to live a high powered life for that matter. The term is not supposed to emasculate men who do not want to be the sole provider of the household.

However, in this day and age feminism is used to describe women who disagree with an agenda, it is used as a tool to label someone as weak, and it is used a derogatory term. As a women, I am disgusted that we have allowed not only men, but other women to tear down the wall that our ancestors built brick by brick. They risked their lives, their families, and much more to have a say in our government policy and all we have done is drag a word that they wore as a badge of honor through the mud. By “putting women in their place”, you are implying that women are beneath you. That they wouldn’t be able to handle what you do. Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to grow up and be a stay at home wife, but that does not make me weak. That makes me a stronger person and woman to be able to give up something I love to raise kids that understand the word feminism.

In my opinion, mothers have the hardest job among us. They are tasked with molding young minds into extraordinary human beings, teaching their children right from wrong, and loving them even when they make the wrong decision. So when you talk badly about feminism, you are essentially saying that what women have done throughout centuries is not extraordinary in their own right. That your mothers and sisters are not some of the bravest people you know, and that they do not deserve to be put on the same playing field you are on.

Now, I do not believe I would call myself a feminist by todays standards, however,  I do believe in women being able to make their own decisions. To be able to say “I am proud to be a CEO of a fortune five hundred company”, or “I am proud that I am able to be a house wife”. Even, “I am proud to have the opportunity to do both”. We should not have to feel guilty for the decisions we make, because the truth is, anyone can be a feminist. Anyone can stand up for equal opportunities for both women AND men. Anyone can choose to be civil towards women, and anyone can choose to not use feminism as an excuse. Because lets be honest, we know women are not weak, but we are only as strong as we believe to be. As we choose to be.

Letting Your Sun Shine.

For those of you that are terrified of change, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I pinky promise that whether it be a environmental, physical, or mental change I am the first to doubt myself. The first to point out that change isn’t always welcome. However, (this is a big however) within the last few months I have forced myself to step out of my comfort zone. I have done every crazy, exciting (because it is exciting, no matter how terrifying) thing I could possibly do to change myself. I am talking about a lifestyle change here. A giant step for little ole me, a leap of faith for some, and a jump off of the bridge into uncharted waters for others.

Now I know what you are thinking, “change isn’t for me”, “I’m fine the way I am”, (and yes, you should be reading this in a gruff old mans voice). That may be true, and I am not endorsing a blue hair dye scheme, but I am saying that change isn’t the big bad monster anymore. Change can be in the simplest of ways. You can change your nail color from black to yellow. And chances are, it could actually lighten your mood.

Change for me was needed though. I changed the way I trusted and the way I thought. I am still working to change the way I react to situations. Because trust me when I say, my reactions were ridiculous. So I set to work pulling pieces of myself apart and fitting in the new puzzle pieces. It was grueling work, and it did not come lightly. And it is still not completely finished. But you should not give up based on the work load. If I had done that, change would not have been effective. I am far from the person I want to become, however, I know myself and I know how strong I am (I only needed reminding a few times). And I know I will get there.

So my advice to you is this, if you are stuck or you feel defeated do not give up! Instead, maybe a little change is in the cards for you. Maybe you need to be reminded of how beautiful you truly are on the outside and inside, or maybe you simply need to be able to recognize yourself once more. If these apply to you, I advise you to push your fears aside and try something new. Change is terrifying, but change is realizing you like strawberry ice cream after eating chocolate your whole life. Delightful and refreshing. So I recommend making a change. I recommend allowing the clouds to part and letting your sun shine a little brighter, if only to be reminded that it is not always a rainy day.

A Letter to a High School Senior

Melissa Regeon Photography.

Dear Senior,

Your senior year, they tell you to cherish the memories, the people, and the experience. To enjoy every last that you will have. The last football game, the last pep rally, the last time you are all together, etc. However, rarely do they tell you to celebrate them. I mean don’t get me wrong. I cried with every other senior my last football game. I watched the tears stream down the guys faces when they realized it was over. I was sad, but for me this was a stepping stone. This was the first of many.

I am going to tell you a shocking secret that many people will not believe… high school is not the best four years of your life. Yes, yes I can see the horror on your faces, but its true. High school is the last time you will be able to be a kid, and that is sad in its own right. However, the first time you are able to be on your own you will realize that you are no longer forced to be civil to people you grew up with. You will no longer be forced to play with teammates that don’t plan on playing at the next level. You will be able to make your own (stupid) decisions, and live with the consequences. Your indiscretions will not be swept under the rug, because your reputation is not in jeopardy any longer. You are allowed to screw up, you are allowed to date the guy you want to, or girl for that matter. So do it. Make friends that will do crazy things with you. Make friends that will push you to be better or do worse, which ever you prefer. Meet people with hearts of gold and laughs filled with happiness. Meet people that allow you be the person you have always wanted to be.

When you go to college, the first thing you have to do is learn to let go. Some people will no longer fit in your world. You will change, grow, and they won’t, or you will simply no longer have anything in common. This is okay, embrace it, and allow them to grow wings. The experiences you have in college, will be the stories you tell your grandchildren while sitting on a rocker on your front porch. So choose the right people to be in these stories. THESE will be the best four years of your life. These will be the years you meet strangers that become family. The strangers you meet in one year will become as much a part of you as the kids you’ve known your whole life were. Maybe more.

In college, you will learn to show up for people. To be the one they lean on for everything. To show up as a spot of light in the darkest of corners. You will learn to live on your own and stand on your own two feet. Don’t go home every weekend, instead make wherever you are home. You will fall in love, you will fall out of love, you will do some very illegal things, you will fail a class, you will pull an all nighter, you will show up hungover to your eight a.m. class, you will do things that terrify you and you will love every minute of it. So yes, enjoy high school while it lasts, but be joyful for what is to come. Because believe me, what is to come will be your whole world. Enjoy it while you can, but do not be afraid to celebrate what is in front of you. Do not be afraid of your future.

Love,

A college freshman.

 

Small Town Mentality and Small Town Adventures

An Open Letter to Kids in a Small Town.

In small towns where everyone knows everyone and yet no one REALLY knows anyone, there are no secrets. I know some of you understand this. Children that have grown up in small towns have received a gift of everyone knowing things about them before they know themselves. It saves time really, that your mom will know you got pulled over on the corner of cypress and 5th before you even receive the ticket. In small town, you are not allowed to jeopardize your families reputation by getting in any sort of trouble. You are not allowed to make your own decisions, because you might make the wrong one (what would the neighbors think!). And heaven forbid, you decide you don’t fit the normal mold of a popular high school student. A small town is full of smug looks, and “oh did you hear about so and so’s kid?”, or “did you see Jim with Pam the other day” (yes, appreciate The Office reference). Sounds terrible, right?

My graduating class was seventy-three kids who either passed or failed small country living. They either learned to live with the unreachable expectations of being a perfect student, a perfect athlete, and a perfect child, or they grew up with their reputation or excursions exceeding them. Because in a small town you will always be who you were in high school. But there is one thing you can do. You can learn to love the itty-bitty town you grew up hating.

Small towns may be all rumors, and whispers, but you cannot deny the love and support when something does happen. When a tragedy strikes, that small little town will be a blessing. Although you will never be able to have a secret, you will be allowed to have friends that turn into family, and adventures that will turn into stories. In a small town, every night is an adventure. You will get creative with the things you plan, and you will eventually learn that living in a large city is empty. There are no traditions, and there will never be school spirit like there is in a small town. You will never get away with skipping class, grilling burgers in the parking lot because off campus lunch was banned for the day, or getting off with a warning when a you were caught with fifteen underage people in the back of a truck. You will never have the close knit family you hated at one point. You will never have seventy-three people that became friends or twenty that grew to be family. Seventy-three people that knew exactly what you were talking about when you said you wanted to leave this stupid town. Small towns may be a curse sometimes, but they will always be a blessing. You may grown up with people that have a small town mentality, but this small town will always be an adventure.

Loving and Losing

Today I thought I was going to write to you guys about something completely different. However, when I woke up today I finally was able to breathe. Now I can hear you thinking to yourself, of course you can breathe. Oxygen rushing through your lungs and all that, thanks captain obvious. But what I mean, is that I have felt something weighing on my chest for months now. I am talking about the feeling of caring for something so deeply that you can’t speak about it or even think about it. Of being so completely petrified about losing something that you push it away. Well thats me! Lover and loser, of all things important. And I know you think I’m talking about a guy. Surprise, surprise! Yes I am, but today I want to paste this label on everything. Friends, family, guys, school, and of course myself.

I know there is a previously set standard about every teenager apparently thinking they can’t find themselves, or are afraid of losing themselves or their friends in this crazy thing called life, however, I like to pretend I am alone in this idea. Because then I can whine and moan about how nobody understands me, but today I am going to throw this out the window. I am going to allow this notion that maybe we are not alone in thinking this, flutter through my mind. So this is what I am going to tell you guys. You can allow every good thing you have every had to slip through your fingers and you can stand tall and pick yourself up off the floor in a few months. You can move on and you can make new friends, find a new guy, or even reinvent yourself. BUT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO. You do not have to roll over and allow your mistakes to haunt you. You can apologize and you can fight.

A few months ago I allowed myself to push away the only good thing that has ever happened to me. I convinced myself of so many lies that I truly became a person that I hated, and so I pushed and pushed until there was nothing left. But there is, something left that is. I realized that I’m left. I’m still here! My life did not end like I thought it would. Humans have this incredible capacity to forgive and forget things (crazy, I know!). Up until recently, I wasn’t able to do this. However, I pushed my boundaries (in a good way this time) and I became a person I can stand to look at in the mirror again. After I did this, I tried to get back the thing I lost. Now let me tell you something, this is not a happily ever after. This experience was sad, tragic, and hard. It involved a lot of crying and many, many hours of regret and it didn’t end in me getting my prince. It ended in my prince finding an equally beautiful, amazing cinderella who didn’t turn back into a peasant when she left the ball. However, I don’t regret trying or fighting. It may have been awful at points, but I didn’t want to be the person that crawled into a hole and looked back in ten years still hoping for a second chance. No. I refused to be her. I may have lost the only good thing that had happened to me, but I learned that so many more amazing things can happen to me if I let them. If I refuse to be afraid of the consequences, the hard work, and if I choose to learn from these mistakes. If only I learn to lose, and I learn to love again.

So thank you, to the person I lost. Thank you for turning me away. Thank you for teaching me, that you may have been the best thing to happen to me so far, but you will not be best thing to happen to me ever. And last but not least, thank you for teaching me that loving is losing, losing is learning, and learning is living.