I just finished sitting through a work meeting with some managers of another department, as we continue to negotiate through a project I'm working on - with my bloody palm because I fell flat-face down on my run this morning.
Anyway, it's been me against these Big Named dudes for months now, in this giant conference room with twelve times as many chairs as we need. And the whole time I try to figure out how to position my body and my face to appear approachable and open, but also meaning business. How tall to sit, how wide to smile, how high to lift my eyebrows, how firm to speak. Because as a woman, I have to worry about this balance. Women can't be too soft or we're disregarded, but we can't be too firm or we're backhanded. I'm certain most men have never had to be so conscious in order to maintain a respected voice. And this year, I've never experienced it so badly.
Months ago, I was entirely shoved out of the way in one of my positions (see here). So I just stepped back. Yeah, sorry, oops, my bad, who am I to have a mouth and thoughts? ha. ha.
As children, we hold no question to our self-worth. Until life starts to bend us in far directions that make us doubt. And more often than not, women are the ones trained to go silent, to not trust ourselves. We're smashed for our softer qualities, and we're shamed for our boundary lines. So we shift uncomfortably in our chairs, trying to figure out how to boldly, but kindly, place our eyebrows.
Becoming a woman includes learning to stand taller and believe you're allowed to. I'm learning for myself.
"Women live lives of continual apology. They are born and raised to take the blame for other people’s behavior. If they are treated without respect, they tell themselves that they have failed to earn respect."
"When you start seeing your worth, you’ll find it harder to stay around people who don’t."
Emily S. P. Worth
Upward and onward,