The Year of Me

Year-of-Me

Apologies as I have not posted in a while, life has been crazy and I have moved to this fancy new website! I don’t usually do personal posts but I felt the urge to share recently. I feel like talking about the quality of life and how each individual has the choice of making the most out of life.

This post might lean more towards the cliché so if you aren’t about that, now is your cue to exit. Now you’re asking what can I, a 25 year-old woman, tell you about living and life? Truth is I can’t tell you anything for sure, I’m still figuring it out for myself. But what I can tell you is that the last few years have been hard.

I have struggled with anxiety and insecurity but in this last year I have overcome so many obstacles and proven my strength, to myself and others. I have become healthier, both physically and emotionally and I’m back to my overly optimistic self. My favourite thing to say over the last year has been, “I’m just being Miley”, from the Miley Cyrus song “See You Again” (I’m not even really a fan but the saying somehow suits how I’ve been living for the last year).

Looking back I realize for a period of time I wasn’t myself. Letting people into your life is a risk, a risk we make almost every day. It’s a risk that can change you for better or worse. For about two years after I graduated high school I felt like I needed a boyfriend, I craved that kind of affection. I became obsessed with finding someone to fill the void and I did something very unlike myself; I found someone and became so dependent on them that I forgot who I was.

After taking some time to put that behind me I started to find me again. The clock struck midnight and I have turned back into my confident, independent and wonderfully optimistic self and I could not be happier. So you want to know my trick? I have been single for about a year and a half now, it hasn’t exactly been by choice but I think it has been for the best. Basically, I am writing this to tell you what I have learned in the past year and a bit of being with my true soulmate, me (and maybe my sister).

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The Year of Me

Fierce Females: Crystal Lee

Crystal-Lee

What is it that empowers you most?
I am a grounded person because of my spirituality. It connects me in a meaningful way to people, events and myself. Through that connection I feel a call to action to live responsibly, speak my truth and follow my heart.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
Living with my heart open is what I love most about myself. It’s a challenge that I make consciously everyday. It takes a lot of strength to knowingly choose the higher road in situations that could easily turn into anger, fear or a number of other negative emotions. Staying open hearted always brings me through my life situations in a beautiful way and enhances my life.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Big comfortable blankets make me feel beautiful. When I am comfortable, warm and happy it is the best feeling in the world. When I am happy I feel like my smile is 10,000 miles long and it’s beautiful.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
Gandhi had a huge influence over me as a young adult. I feel that his teachings and more so the way he lived his life promoted courage, an intense amount of resilience, and selflessness for the purpose of a cause. Seeing what he and others have accomplished with a minimal amount of resources shows the power of the human spirit.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Coco Chanel. I saw a film on her and she rocked my world. She created the pants look for women. She bent to no one. She took risks. I loved her for this.

 

“My biggest life goal is to impact individuals in a powerful way with my songs.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
If I could be a fictional female character for a day it would be Alice from Alice in Wonderland. I have always loved that story and would love to see what wonderland is like. It’s pure imagination. It would be impossibly fun to take on the Jabberwocky or to play croquet with the Red Queen.

What is your biggest life goal?
My biggest life goal is to impact individuals in a powerful way with my songs. To be a voice that reaches someone at the right time, in the right way to give them a feeling or an inspiration that improves their moment. Eventually my goal is to work full time writing a recording my music and spending time working with other artists around the world with the craft of songwriting.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment with my career, is releasing my first EP “Drive” with Grey’s Fool. It was a songwriting project that I started with a friend that grew into an amazing year of studio work, travel and performing. The record features Grammy nominated musicians and sound engineering. I could not be prouder.

What is your favourite quote?
“You already have everything you need to succeed”. I heard this quote from a spiritual teacher and it haunts me. Every time I think that I need this or that to accomplish a goal, that quote is whispered in my ear then I find another way of accomplishing the goal.

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
I would tell my 12 year old self “You are okay and you are loved”.

What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism to me means that as a species human beings are allowing the barriers to fall and the blocks that our minds put up based on physical identifiers are moving into a thing of the past. Men and Women are capable of so much greatness. Equal means equal. Equally capable of succeeding and equally capable of failing. I think it is amazing that we have a word to define the command for equality. I see everyone as equal.

Crystal Lee Morgan is a Singer/Songwriter from California and Hawaii.
Connect with Crystal Lee: Website / Facebook / Twitter / YouTube

Fierce Females: Crystal Lee

Fierce Females: Alyson

Alyson

What is it that empowers you most?
Knowing that my time here is finite. This might scare most people, but personally knowing that I only get one shot at this crazy thing that we call “life” – one shot to experience as much as possible, to push myself to do things that I’d never imagined, to love deeply and fully, and to try to leave a positive impact – motivates me like nothing else.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I love my sense of humour. I’ve been told I’m pretty quick-witted, which is a compliment that I hold in the highest esteem. I just adore making people laugh, and there’s nothing quite like sharing a really good belly-laugh with your friends – especially if it’s over a joke you’ve made!

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Working out, especially lifting weights. In the past year I’ve started to really focus on my health and well-being, and going to the gym has become an important part of that routine. I’m not a power lifter or anything, but there’s something incredibly rewarding about being able to pick up really heavy things and put them down again!

Who is your biggest role model and why?
Carl Sagan. I re-watched the original “Cosmos” series again a few years ago on a lark and what stuck with me was Carl’s wonder, not just at the vast, impossible beauty and mystery of space, but of what we’ve accomplished throughout our history as a species. He always conveyed such a hope for what we could accomplish if we all just worked together and focused on the bigger picture, and that hope and reflection is something that I’ve tried to internalize and bring to my daily life. I’m endlessly inspired by his wonder and amazement at everything. His reading of “Pale Blue Dot” makes me cry every time I listen to it.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Eleanor Roosevelt, hands-down. That woman was fierce as hell and took a stand on a lot of touchy subjects like racial issues and women’s rights, even going as far as to publicly disagree with her husband on a number of occasions. Can you imagine the balls that would have taken? He was the President of the United States! Her Wikipedia is just a giant list of huge accomplishments, one right after the other, peppered with badass quotes about not getting pushed around or taking flak from people.

 

“I remember laying in my bed in my apartment and being unable to even get out from under the covers because everything felt so hopeless”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Amy Pond, from the Doctor Who series. She’s one of my favourite companions because she’s a really clever, resourceful, and complex character who packs a ton of sass. I was rather “meh” on the Doctor’s sidekicks until they introduced Amy, and she’s still my favourite. I’m also completely swept up by the idea of being able to travel across all of space and time and see the universe.

What is your biggest life goal?
Professionally speaking I’d like to eventually move to freelancing full-time, but personally (and more importantly) I want to learn to not be so hard on myself. My relationship with my parents, my mother especially, is extremely messy and left me with a lot of negative feelings about my personality, my abilities, my future, my relationships… you name it. I also carry around a tremendous amount of guilt about pretty much everything, and judge myself constantly for “not being good enough” for anything that I’m doing. Which I realize is silly because I’m doing it, but I struggle to turn off that negative little voice in my head, you know?

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Going to university. When I was 19 I literally walked into a really safe, secure government job. I was making almost 40k annually, I had amazing benefits, vacation time, and of course coveted job security. But I was utterly miserable. I remember laying in my bed in my apartment and being unable to even get out from under the covers because everything felt so hopeless; this was my life now and there was nothing else to look forward to or accomplish.

I decided to apply to the Rhetoric and Communications program at the University of Winnipeg, and when I announced my decision to my family they freaked out and my dad actually stopped speaking to me for several months. I was living on my own at the time and my parents refused to let me move home, so I moved in with a roommate and put myself through school, graduating in 2013.

It was incredibly difficult at times, but I made a decision and proved to myself that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. I’m so happy that I took a chance on myself.

What is your favourite quote?
I have a few, which are:

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” – Carl Sagan, “Contact”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
“Don’t give up, you’re stronger than you think.” I actually have this pasted on my mood board in-between photos of Jimmy Carter and Tom from Parks and Rec saying “Treat Yo Self.”

What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism is having the courage to initiate dialogues that challenge normative standards of beauty, class, sexuality, etc to effect positive change. It’s everyone working together, supporting each other towards a shared goal of equality, opportunity and respect.

Alyson is a Marketing Manager and freelance Content Marketer in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Fierce Females: Alyson

Fierce Females: Teri

Teri

What is it that empowers you most?
I have some great friends, the kind who remind me who I really am when I’m having trouble remembering.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
My creativity, my intuitive nature and my warped sense of humour.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
Feeling comfortable in my own skin.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
One quality that tends to be embodied by the people I consider role models: they’re willing to make themselves completely vulnerable by speaking their own truth, even in the face of great opposition.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
I’m a big fan of music, and especially music by female artists. Some of my favourite cultural heroines are women who push boundaries in both music and art: Patti Smith, Ani DiFranco and Tori Amos. I see Tori Amos’s influence in a lot of the music I adore. When she first broke onto the scene, there wasn’t anyone doing what she was doing, or saying what she was saying. That can be said of Patti & Ani as well. They’re  total bad-asses.

 

“there is a certain kind of freedom that comes from being completely cool with who you are”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because who wouldn’t want to slay their demons… literally.

What is your biggest life goal?
To get to a point where I truly love and accept myself, flaws and all. I think there is a certain kind of freedom that comes from being completely cool with who you are, and being at peace with yourself is the ultimate rebellion in a society that consistently profits by telling you you’re not good enough.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
These days, I’m trying to celebrate all accomplishments big or small, extraordinary or mundane. Today, I’m celebrating the fact that I never take the easy road. I try to stay true to myself, which has sometimes meant going against the grain or speaking up when others would prefer I stay silent. It has meant being brave and taking risks, especially when my first instinct is to run away. It’s not a recipe for a stress-free existence, but I take pride in the fact that I’m willing to push myself outside my comfort zone.

What is your favourite quote?
“Labels are for cans, not people” – Anthony Rapp

“Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.” – Brene Brown

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
The best thing about high school is that it ends.

What does feminism mean to you?
My feminism has many parts: Having the freedom to choose the life I want. Pointing out that clinging to traditional gender roles holds us all back.  Celebrating the strength and power of women. Demanding equality in every aspect of society.

Teri is an Community Outreach Coordinator in Winnipeg, Canada

Fierce Females: Teri

Fierce Females: Carolyn

Carolyn

What is it that empowers you most?
It’s the inspiration of beautiful images, music and views.  It’s people doing beautiful, giving things all over the world and the companionship of people across nations and cultures.  We are all human, there are more similarities than differences and I find that quite inspirational.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
That’s a tough question. I find it easier to talk about what I don’t like (my toenails) and what I would like to improve (my memory and spoken language skills). I think maybe it’s that I like most people and generally find interesting and positive things in most people.

What makes you feel most beautiful? 
I like the feeling of being strong and energetic and healthy which I get when I stick to a regular exercise routine.  I was never a sporty child or teen and it was only in my mid 20’s that I really started to exercise.  It took me a long time to realize that while I didn’t like doing the exercise, that I liked how it made me feel afterwards and on a day-to-day basis.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I don’t know that I have a role model.  I don’t think I know anyone or have seen anyone who is doing and living the way I want to live (not that I’ve achieved nirvana yet, but I’m working towards it).

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why? 
All those women all over the world who live quiet lives, with no hope of escaping the drudgery and menial tasks that they need to do every day in order to support their families and in the hope of building a better future for their children.

“Just go for it.  Don’t be scared.”

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?  

One of those Bond girls, but not the ones that die and not Moneypenny.  One of those ones who gets the Bond – don’t care which one – they’re all worthy.

What is your biggest life goal? 
To establish and develop my own brand as a profitable and growing business.  I would like to effectively marry the creative side of my personality and the need for business discipline and success, to be able to independently look after myself, those I care about and those who deserve a break.

What is your biggest accomplishment? 
Completing my MBA.

What is your favourite quote?  
If you will forgive me – it’s not a quick quote.  I can’t think of a quick snappy quote – most of them sound like they are off the back of a bathroom calendar.  So….it’s poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley called “Ozymandius”.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

I love it, because it puts everything in perspective.

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be? 
Just go for it.  Don’t be scared.  Or if you are scared, just do it anyway.  Get out of school, but know that you will need to continue your education and learning for your whole life, dump the small-minded careers advice you (kind of) got and go for it doing what you are good at and what you love.  It is possible to make a living doing all sorts of fabulous jobs that don’t exist in your hometown.  There is a huge world out there full of wonderful people who can help.  Find your community by being positive and happy and let yourself enjoy thriving within it.

What does feminism mean to you?
It doesn’t mean man-hating.  It means freedom and not being blocked in your ambitions, achievements and sucking the marrow out of life.  Sometimes I even find it hard to realise when I am being blocked by others, because cultural and societal limitations that are placed on and around woman are so long-standing and can be quite insidious and sometimes they can seem quite well-meaning.  It’s good to hear the opinions of others, the comedy of Caitlin Moran (British comedian) and nothing replaces the wise council of close girlfriends!

Carolyn is a music blogger in Winnipeg, Canada
Connect with Carolyn: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Fierce Females: Carolyn

Fierce Females: Kristy

Kristy

What is it that empowers you most?
What empowers me the most is knowing that I am truly capable of doing and accomplishing anything I set my mind to. And also that I have the power to choose what that is.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I don’t know if you ever need to love just one thing about yourself. Not just as a woman but as a human being I have many pros and cons, positive traits and flaws, ups and downs. What is important is that through my life I’ve learned to love myself, as is, in this moment and every moment. We have to learn to love what we are throughout any situation or journey.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
What makes me feel most beautiful is just being myself. In society we’ve succumbed to trying to always be something else or change what is.

I feel beautiful when I am embracing all that I am and doing things that I love. In those moments I flourish the most and I think that’s when I radiate the most beauty.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
My biggest role model is the world around me and everyone in it. Everyone I surround myself with whether it is intentional or not inspires me in a different way. My mother inspires me to be a good partner to the love of my life and mother to my future children. My father inspires me to strive for excellence and to never be afraid to fight for what I want and believe in. My sister inspires me to love myself wholeheartedly and follow my dreams. My friends inspire me to be who I am and cherish my individuality. My boyfriend inspires me to go after anything I set my mind to and inspires me to feel beautiful inside and out. I am inspired daily and constantly from everyone and everything, sometimes without even realizing it.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
One of my favourite cultural heroines is Taylor Swift. She proves that a woman in today’s world can be wildly successful and still remain humbled. She not only has creative strengths, but business strengths as well and still knows how to give back and show love to others around her.

 

“My biggest accomplishment is just becoming the person that I am today.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
My love of music brought me to starting a music blog and my love of dance has left me missing performing and being on a stage. I think for one day, living the life of a female musician performing a concert on stage would be a dream. A lot of young girls grow up wanting to be a “ballerina” and a “rock star”; I think it would be amazing to fulfill this dream side of my life for one day.

What is your biggest life goal?
My biggest life goal is to have found the path that I was meant to go down. I am still struggling and deciding what I want to do with my life, but I know it involves owning my own company and something creative. I want to wake up happy every single day, loving what I do and sharing my life with the people I love. Happy and healthy; I don’t need much more than that.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment is just becoming the person that I am today. There are many things I am grateful for and proud of that have happened in my life but I am most proud of becoming a young woman in today’s society and being proud of who I am. I have learnt to be comfortable in my own skin and to fight for things that matter to me all while also being responsible and thinking about my future. If I can keep all of those things on track then I feel accomplished.

What is your favourite quote?
One of my favourite quotes is by E.E. Cummings:

“Let it go. Let them go. Let all go. So comes love.”

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?I would tell my 12 year old self to stop trying to grow up so fast. My whole adolescent life I wanted to be older and gravitated to people older than myself. I would love to go back and truly enjoy every single day in that moment rather than always trying to get to what was next.

What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism to me means that there are no differences, no hindrances, no limitations between man and woman. We are all worthy and all equal of receiving the same opportunities and experiences.

Kristy is a music blogger in Winnipeg, Canada.
Connect with Kristy: Blog / Facebook

Fierce Females: Kristy

Fierce Females: Steph

Steph

What empowers you the most?
Knowing I have a support system behind me that is filled with unconditional love, humility and no judgement. This small group of incredible people, empower me in my brightest and darkest times.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
When I eat healthy and take care of myself, I feel most beautiful.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
Without a doubt, my parents. My mom has this ability to listen wholeheartedly and give incredible advice without passing on any judgement. I know she inherited that from her mom and I hope to do the same with my child one day. She’s so generous and empathetic to all who surround her. My dad is a brilliant business man who has taught me so many things about succeeding and growing. He too, has a heart of gold. I can honestly say I’m a 50/50 mix of the both of them. I’m so blessed to have them as my parents.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
I have a lot of people I admire.

Crystal Pite is a female cultural heroine that is someone who inspires me in my career. She’s the Artistic Director and founder of the dance company Kidd Pivot. The best part, she’s from Canada! She’s a brilliant choreographer who speaks about her work so passionately and intelligently. Seeing her shows blow my mind! I also love Amy Poehler. If I wasn’t working as a choreographer I would definitely be doing another passion of mine, improv. Amy Poehler is the epitome of cool and someone I definitely look up to.

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Cat Woman. I love how she’s been both superhero and super-villain. It would be interesting to be inside the mindset of both sides.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
I think one of my biggest accomplishments in my career is going to happen in a few months. (But I’m not allowed to say right now…!)

To date, I feel the biggest accomplishment was making the move to Toronto. I’ve done lots of amazing things in my career and am so grateful for the awards, shows, videos and other projects I’ve worked on. None of this would of been possible if I didn’t make the move. So, good job 21-year-old Steph! Way to take the plunge!

What is your favourite quote?
“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” – Newt Gingrich

What is your biggest life goal?
To be happy, heathy, confident, kind and always be on time for the rest of my life!! I have big career and family goals/ dreams, of course. If I can manage to be all of those things listed, I think I will have a steady and strong base that will allow me to attain my future life goals.

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
Girl, those braces will be so worth it!

What does feminism mean to you?
For women and men to have equal rights and mutual respect for one another.

Steph is the founder of Rutherford Movement Exchange in Toronto, Canada.
Connect with Steph: Website / Facebook / Twitter / YouTube

Fierce Females: Steph

Fierce Females: Dani

Dani

What is it that empowers you most?
Knowing that I am a strong, independent woman who can take care of myself and survive some pretty tough situations. I was raised (mostly) by a single mom and it taught me that independence is one of the greatest tools a woman can have in her toolbox!

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I love my ability to strike up a conversation with anyone. I guess that comes from my natural curiosity – I was born curious and I love to hear peoples’ stories. I take pride in the fact that people feel like they can open up to me.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
No makeup. Comfortable clothes. Bare feet…. I love being natural.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
My mom. Truly. Being raised by a single mom and going through some pretty hard times – and most importantly – getting through these hard times on top has really made me realize how strong my mom is, and it didn’t really hit me until I became an adult. She has taught me so much about being strong, and graceful, and a good, kind, generous person even when life doesn’t necessarily deal you the best hand. I am so proud to be her daughter.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Michelle Jean. I admire that woman as much as one can admire someone they’ve only met once. She is, first off, a strong woman in politics – but she is also a talented journalist and generous humanitarian. She also is just genuinely kind (I had the pleasure of meeting her once, in a star struck daze). I have always aspired to be like her.

 

“I feel like my biggest accomplishments are still to come – and I’m looking forward to that. I feel like I’m just getting started.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day, who would it be and why?
So, this is lame, but probably Katniss from The Hunger Games (the books). She totally embodies a strong female and kicks some major ass…. but she’s got a sensitive side, too.

What is your biggest life goal?
To go to bed each day feeling fulfilled and proud of even one small thing I accomplished that day. I want to live a full life and feel like, even in some small way, I’ve given back to this world!

What is your biggest accomplishment?
I don’t think I’m there yet. While I’ve accomplished a lot in 25 years, I feel like my biggest accomplishments are still to come – and I’m looking forward to that. I feel like I’m just getting started.

What is your favourite quote?
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
Learn how to let things go. Holding on to things and people who hurt you is a bad habit to form.

What does feminism mean to you?
Living equally. Being a strong, independent woman, who doesn’t rely on anyone to get through this life.

Dani is the Communications Specialist at Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Winnipeg, Canada.
Connect with Dani: Twitter

Fierce Females: Dani

Fierce Females: Janis

Janis

What is it that empowers you most?
Knowing that my actions make positive change. It’s scary at the same time as empowering to know that I can make our world a better place – it’s something I’m always striving for.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
My choice to be happy. I often let the things going on around me affect my happiness, and often those things are out of my control. I’m choosing to be happy with what I have and what I can control, and it’s so great.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
My confidence. I don’t always feel confident, but when I do I feel strong, vibrant and in that I feel beautiful. Nothing can bring me down when I’m feeling confident.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I have so many inspirational women in my life that I look up to. My grandmother passed away nearly 10 years ago, but what I remember of her is this strong, hilarious, caring, loving, confident woman who didn’t let anything stand in her way. I see this in my mom and my younger sister. These traits are something I look up to and aspire to emulate.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Everyday heroines always inspire me. Women who fight for what they want, for their families, their careers, their beliefs and their rights.

 

“I don’t always feel confident, but when I do I feel strong, vibrant and in that I feel beautiful.”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Carrie Bradshaw (obviously!) the shoes, the clothes, the life, the job, the attitude.

Need I say more?

What is your biggest life goal?
Yikes, tough questions. I think my goals are always changing and adapting. As of late, I would say my biggest goal is to have no regrets. I don’t want to look back at any point and say ‘I wish I was there for this friend’ or ‘Why did I do that!?” or “Why didn’t I take that job opportunity” I want to live life as a good wife, friend, sibling, daughter, aunt.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
This answer isn’t going to sit well with many of you, but I don’t care (read what feminism means to me). My biggest accomplishment so far at the ripe old age of 25 is being married to my best friend and husband for four years. I can hear you eyes rolling!

Hear me out – marriage is hard, living with a boy is hard, sharing your life openly and honestly is hard. Getting married at the age of 21 when neither of us had steady employment and both fresh out of college is hard. Growing, learning and exploring life with my husband has stretched me and made me a better person than I was four years ago and I think that’s a great accomplishment!

What is your favourite quote?
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

I find this verse inspirational and confidence building. Being one of the youngest people in my field of work is hard; I constantly have to prove myself. This verse makes me feel empowered.

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
I don’t think I could limit it to just one thing! I want to say something profound like “Don’t put your happiness in other people’s hands” but let’s be real; 12-year-old me wouldn’t have listened or understood how to make that happen! I guess I would say, “Never cut your own bangs!” Maybe I’d listen to that, maybe not!

What does feminism mean to you?
I’m always redefining what feminism means to be, largely because I’m always learning and discovering more. Right now, it means I don’t have to apologize for being a woman. I don’t need to apologize for the choices I make with my career, my marriage, my faith or my future.

I have the power to make my own choices and I’m very grateful for that.

Janis is the Manager of Communications at Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg, Canada.
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Fierce Females: Janis