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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