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: Charlotte

Charlotte

What is it that empowers you most?
I think what empowers me most is that feeling I get when I force myself to do something I’m afraid to do. It doesn’t have to be anything major, it could be something silly like jumping off a diving board! but it makes me think “oh wow I can actually do that” and that builds momentum and allows me to do other things. Pushing through that fear is an extremely empowering feeling.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I think what I love most about myself is my tenacity and work ethic. When I decide I’m going to do something I give it 100%.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
What makes me feel most beautiful is physical activity. I’m a very physical person and exercise makes me feel great. Nothing makes me feel more confident than hitting a perfect spike in a volleyball game or lifting a heavy weight at the gym. I love feeling aware of what my body can do.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I would have to say my dad. He and I are different in a lot of ways but I really admire the way he balances work and family and he always keeps everything together through the tough times. No matter what he always put his kids first. He’s also smart and funny and extremely patient.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
Definitely Amelia Earhart. I think people forget how hard it was at the time for women to do what she did. Plus I’m afraid of flying so I’m impressed on that level as well. Also Sylvia Earle. She’s an amazing marine biologist and I’m blown away by her dedication to marine life and the health of our seas.
 

I want to seize every opportunity that comes my way and have a happy and fulfilling life before it’s over.

 
If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Ok I’m going to out myself as a huge nerd but I’m going to say Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager. First off, I want to go to space in a time where it’s totally safe and normal. Second, she’s an amazing authority figure and commands respect like no one else. It can be hard to identify with female characters on TV and in movies because they are so often one-dimensional sex objects. Janeway however, incredibly interesting and I’d love to spend a day in her Star Trek onsie.

What is your biggest life goal?
My biggest life goal is probably to die knowing that I made the most of my life. I’ve had enough ups and downs over the years to know not to get too hung up on specific goals so I think short-term and extremely long-term. I want to seize every opportunity that comes my way and have a happy and fulfilling life before it’s over.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
Even though I’m not practicing at the moment, I think graduation law school and getting called to the bar was probably my greatest accomplishment. It felt good to finally finish something I had worked so hard for. It made me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to.

What is your favourite quote?
“This too shall pass” It’s use is twofold. I repeat this to myself when I’m experiencing pain but also joy. It’s a nice reminder that all things, good or bad, are temporary. You need to either breath and get through it or breath and enjoy it.

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
I would tell my 12-year-old self that it’s ok to try things that other people think are stupid. Don’t get too hung up on what others think of you and don’t let yourself be pigeonholed.

What does feminism mean to you?
To me, feminism means that men and women are equally welcome in the world.  That means that women and men should feel equally welcome in all jobs, geographical locations and social settings and that they should each enjoy equal benefits thereof.

Charlotte is the owner of Hogwash Bath & Body in Winnipeg, Canada
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Fierce Females: Charlotte

Fierce Females: Pamela

Pamela

What is it that empowers you most?
Confidence. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t claim to have a lot of it by any means but I have learned after a lot of years of not feeling confident, that you truly can fake it till you make it. If I’m feeling negative about myself of my abilities, I make a conscious effort to tell myself that I can, I am good enough and I will.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I love that I can make people feel good. I pride myself on being a good friend and a good hostess. There’s nothing better than having a friend over when she’s having a bad day and being able to make her feel better with a glass of wine and a few snacks. I love making people laugh and smile and I love that I can do that, even if it might just be because I’m a goof and people seem to like it.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
I feel the most beautiful when I feel healthy. Exercising and eating healthy and just taking care of myself overall just makes me feel good and in turn, makes me feel beautiful!

Who is your biggest role model and why?
Definitely my mom. I am watching my mom go through the hardest time in her life right now and every day I am amazed by her. Her positivity, and her ability to be joyful continue to inspire me every day. She’s an amazingly strong woman and always has been. Aside from the fact that she has had a successful career working for IBM, MLCC and now HP, she has always put her kids first. I only hope to be the kind of mother and person she is some day.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
I think Mindy Kaling is pretty damn heroic. She has broken so many barriers and done it all with humour and by staying true to herself. Not only is she a part of an underrepresented minority in entertainment but she’s a real, live woman and she owns it. I encourage everyone to read her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). It’s funny and so wonderfully Mindy.

I also really, really love Taylor Swift more than I like to admit. As someone who works in social media especially, I’m fascinated by her use of the social platforms to interact with her fans. Social media truly allows us to communicate in a way we never have; before social media, celebrities could have NEVER communicated directly with their fans like she does. She’s so nice, humble and truly appreciative of her fans – the people who got her to where she is now. Check out what Taylor Swift did for a few of her fans for Christmas or as it was called, “Swiftmas”.

 

“My biggest life goal is to look back on my life and know that I did all the things I wanted to do”

 

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Does Kim Kardashian count as a fictional female character? I’d just like to get a glimpse into what it’s like to be famous for being famous. Plus, I want access to her wardrobe and I want to see what it’s like to be part of that crazy family, Bruce Jenner aside.

What is your biggest life goal?
I want to live a completely and totally fulfilled life. I want to travel, become accomplished in my career and become a mother someday. My biggest life goal is to look back on my life and know that I did all the things I wanted to do, know that I took chances and pushed myself out of my comfort zone.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
I would have to say finishing CreComm (Creative Communications program at Red River College), working really hard for a few years and then landing my dream job at Great-West Life. Anyone who’s been through the program knows that before you start CreComm, former students and instructors tell you about all the things you’ll be doing. Things like, completing a project that is so huge, it takes almost a year to complete, performing stand-up comedy and doing a live-hit on camera. These are things that I said, no way, there’s no WAY I’m doing any of that. And yet, here I am. I did them and they helped me get to where I am today.

What is your favourite quote?
I love Dr. Suess quotes and it’s hard to pick just one but if I had to, I’d pick this one:

“Be who you are and say what you feel. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” – Dr. Suess

If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
I would tell myself the same thing I tell myself every day now. I would tell myself, you are good. You can do anything and you don’t ever have to compare yourself to others. I struggled a lot with confidence and self-worth growing up and I think it held me back from realizing my full potential, especially in school.

What does feminism mean to you?
The understanding that gender inequality is deeply rooted in our society – recognizing this inequality and fighting against it is what feminism means to me. Almost every stigma, societal norm and media message we consume are deeply rooted in gender inequality or marginalizing of women and minorities. I’m a feminist because I believe it’s NECESSARY to recognize, acknowledge and then teach our children that that’s all it is, that these messages and understandings aren’t TRUTHS, but simply constructs created by the oppressors.

Pamela is a Senior Communications Specialist in Winnipeg, Canada
Connect with Pamela: Twitter

Fierce Females: Pamela

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.
Connect with Janis: Twitter

Fierce Females: Janis