In light of International Women’s day, I felt an unavoidable urge to write about a few things.
I am a strong woman because I was raised by one. My Mother was a registered nurse on the pediatric ward for thirty-seven years. You don’t accomplish that without being one bad ass woman. I still to this day have no idea how she did it because every time I worked on a file involving children a little piece of me died and I still haven’t been able to put those images away where they can no longer haunt me.
As a woman who has been empowered by other women, I want to take this time to share a few tips in hopes to empower you.
I started on my policing journey at the ripe old age of 20 years old. I began by becoming an Auxilliary Police Officer in hopes to become a full-time sworn member someday. By the time I hit 21, I was in the application process, in which I was told multiple times I would not get hired the first time; but the experience is great to have.
I was hired in 2008. First time applying and I killed it. Or maybe I was only hired because I was a female and Medicine Hat has always lacked females.
Some people would be so angry at me for even suggesting that but the sad reality is, this is how women are made to feel, and this was something I swore to myself would not get me down. I got that job because I worked hard. I got that job because I was qualified, and I got that job because I deserved it.
Early on in my career, I felt the need to be “masculine,” and “emotionless.” God forbid I show a feminine side. If I do, I will appear inadequate in this male dominated job. Don’t even get me started on how hard it is to be a young, fairly attractive, PW. I was the gal police wives loved to hate.
I made sure their husbands came home at night so I never really understood this concept, but I digress.
Ps. I hated being referred to as a PW.
1. Never be afraid to be yourself.
After many years of being on the job and developing my confidence as an officer I realized; I can be whoever the fuck I want, and it is not going to affect the way I do my job. I LOVE GETTING MY NAILS DONE. I had to keep them short of course so I could load my shotgun at the start of each shift but you can bet your ass my nails did not have an impact on the way I got shit done, but they did look fantastic while doing it. Trust me, I had a lot of insecure men make comments about my nails, but I didn’t care one bit. I carried my pretty nails like a boss, and they made my gun look sexier too.
2. Stand up for yourself.
Please, please, please stand up for yourself. No one has a right to make you feel like less of a person. I don’t care if they are male, female, the pope, or the Chief of fucking police. If you have been hurt, done wrong, or humiliated by the hands of someone else-
YOU NEED TO STICK UP FOR YOURSELF.
You may get yourself in hot water, you may lose some friends (they weren’t your friends to start with), you may even get written up at work, maybe even fired, but I am telling you; you will sleep better and you will feel powerful. You deserve this, and you DO NOT deserve to be mistreated. Working in a job that ran like a paramilitary organization, I struggled with this one. Not because I didn’t have the ability to stand up for myself (I have no filter) but because I knew that if I didn’t pick my battles, I would have a long, exhausting career. I am ashamed of myself for not sticking up more but trust me 95% of the time I did, and I don’t regret any of it.
NOTE: Just because you are of higher rank on the food chain in your organization does not give you the right to treat someone like shit, and when that someone sticks up for themselves, this should not be considered insubordination. There is a difference between being a leader and being a “dick” who uses his/her power to belittle people. Sorry, Mom, I could not find a better word, and my thesaurus didn’t help much. 😉
3. Being assertive does not = being a bitch
Being assertive and strong minded is far different than being stubborn and bullheaded. I was called the latter by one of my ex-boyfriends. I remember how upset I was and my friend Amy said No Way. You are not stubborn and bullheaded; you are assertive and strong minded. I have never forgotten the day she said that.
She was right.
I am a strong woman, I am brutally honest, and I hold nothing back. I am not afraid to admit when I am wrong and I will be the first to apologize if I unintentionally hurt you. I am also one of the most loving and genuine souls you will ever meet. Even more so now that I am a widow and have experienced a final goodbye.
Ladies, just because you are a “lady” does not mean your opinion doesn’t matter. If you share your opinion that does not mean you are a bitch or you are creating conflict or drama. Please remember that. Those who matter will agree with this and will stick by you no matter what.
4. Facebook is NOT important.
I have wanted to do a study on social media for a long time, and I intend to at some point during my educational journey, but today I will share my opinion. We are all guilty of paying too much attention to Facebook and other social media sites. I have been too, but I have learned something very important. The number of Facebook likes and comments you get on a post means absolutely fucking nothing. I have openly shared my journey on social media, so I know what it’s like to post something and then receive that instant gratification when someone likes or comments. It feels amazing.
However with that said it takes an eighth of a second to click like, and half the time people probably don’t even know what the hell they are “liking” in the first place.
DO NOT let this be the way you measure your worthiness, success, or confidence.
5. Spend time alone.
Spending time alone is crucial for the development of your soul. Learn to love your own company. I have learned this tenfold this last year. When you spend three weeks in your car by yourself on a soul-searching road trip, trust me, you find your soul. I realize some people do not have the ability to take off for three weeks and find themselves, but I can assure you; you have ten minutes a day.
“If you don’t have ten minutes a day, you don’t have a life” -Tony Robbins-
6. YOU DONT NEED A MAN
I was single for six years before I met Nick. I had little mini relationships in there, but none of them had any substance to them. I never needed a man, and I never longed for one. When the time came, I chose Nick. I did not need him – I chose him. Don’t ever allow anyone to make you think you can’t kill this thing called life SOLO. Trust me, I have done it, and I am going to have to do it again now that I have lost Nick, but I am going to embrace that because living a solo life is a magnificent thing when you can finally be comfortable with it.
7. Trust your intuition
I could write on this topic alone for days. If something feels off, it’s off. Listen to that feeling in your gut. This amazing power was given to women, and you need to learn to love it and use it; it has without a doubt saved my life on more than one occasion and saved me from heartache and emotinal pain as well. Follow your heart; it might not be the easy path but it will be the one that is worth it, and I promise you won’t regret it.
8. DO NOT compare yourself to other women.
Just don’t. You are not them. You are you. Social media plays a huge role in this too. Not everyone’s lives are as perfect as they seem on Facebook. I will never make my life appear perfect. I will show you the good the bad and the ugly because that is real and that is what helps others be true to themselves.
I can use a filter on my camera like a boss but trust me I have wrinkles, dark circles, and little hairs on my cheek that I have to pluck often, and that my nephew never fails to point out. Do not compare yourself. You aren’t perfect, nor should you ever want to be.
9. If you are a woman with children that is amazing. If you are a woman with out children that is also amazing. You have the right to have them or not have them, and it SHOULD NOT matter what anyone else has to say. Ps. stop asking women why they don’t have babies yet. Stop telling them their biological clock is ticking. If you don’t understand why I am saying this, please read my blog titled “Life does not have to stop.”
10. Ps. I love you.
To all the women out there reading this. I love you. We need to start empowering and encouraging each other. We will never make a difference in this world if we don’t find a way to do it together. We do not have to compete; we have to band together and teach our young girls how to be brave, not perfect.
“Teach girls bravery, not perfection” -Reshma Saujani-
Happy International Women’s Day my bad ass bitches. Be strong, be wild, and be fearless.