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