I Am Woman, Watch Me Take Charge
You know what I’m tired of? Hearing how tired women are all the time. The picture I see most often painted in TV, movies, and across social media of today’s modern woman is an exhausted, overwhelmed, wineaholic flailing through each day without any control of her time whose decree of independence is “No I’m not cooking, you pick up dinner!” I am woman hear me…complain.
Somehow in this sea of equality, we seem to have opted to pursue the art of complaining over empowerment. We’re tired, we’re overworked, we have no time, we have become victims of our suburban lives, our abundant suburban lives, and the only solace is that we drink a bottle of wine and hop on social media as often as possible. (I can’t imagine why we don’t seem to have energy?)
The only thing complaining does is convince people you are not in control.
I think about the women who came before us, our ancestors. I think about Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Coco Chanel. What would these women think to see us sitting in our houses with marble countertops and Wolf appliances waiting on our HelloFresh to be delivered, only to opt out of cooking that map coded meal if our mood so strikes? What would they think to see our daughters have access to lessons in piano, dance, Spanish, robotics, soccer, only to hear us complain about taking them to and fro? What would they think to see us afforded the same educational opportunities as men, yet spend much of our time scrolling through an electronic screen?
American women spend far too much time complaining. Am I saying you should not acknowledge your feelings – not at all. I acknowledge when I am tired, when I am sad, when I am upset, when I am stressed. I feel it, I confront the source of it, and I let it pass. There is a difference in acknowledging and complaining. Voicing how tired we are on a daily basis to anyone who will listen and spending time online to find other people we can wallow in our tiredness with, isn’t doing anyone any favors and is a sure way to guarantee you will feel disempowered.
Isn’t it interesting that most of the time when we pick up the phone to call a friend, it isn’t to exclaim how happy we are, it is to vent about something that has gone wrong? What if instead we vocalized our joy just as often or more than our complaints?
I hate to complain…No one is without difficulties, whether in high or low life, and every person knows best where their own shoe pinches. -Abigail Adams
I know women are tired, I also know we all have our own issues we are dealing with. Perhaps it is necessary for perspective to think about what tired might look like in other women’s lives. My sister in law underwent radiation, chemotherapy, and had 2/3 of one of her lungs removed all while being a wife and mom to 3 children, she’s tired. The single mom who is working 2 jobs to put food on the table, she’s tired. The breadwinner who is traversing the United States with her job and then coming home to take care of 2 children, she’s tired. The female slave robbed of any quality of life who worked the cotton fields all day only to be whipped at the end of the work day and then nurse her baby at night, she’s tired.
So the next time you hop behind the wheel of your vehicle with bluetooth and seat warmers and turn on your XM radio to cart your children to one of their after school activities and you want to wallow in how exhausted you are, perhaps practice a simple shift in thinking from, “I’m so exhausted” to “I wonder why I am tired, I should look at what I’ve been doing and see if I need to make a lifestyle change.” Or a shift in thinking from “I can’t believe I have to do this” to “How awesome is it that I can do this.” With a shift in thinking we can go from victim to empowered, from complaining to grateful. We must realize that we are in control of how we feel, that we are in charge of the decisions that determine how our day goes. Complain and blame are basic ingredients to feel disempowered. I for one am ‘tired’ of modern women not standing up and relishing the incredible power they possess.
So what can we do? You do not have to go out and become CEO of a company or a pop icon, there are things you can do in your day to day lives that will leave you empowered.
Take charge of your body – You’re tired? When is the last time you opted for exercise over wine? A big salad over macaroni and cheese? These are the choices we make everyday that have the biggest effect on how we feel. When I feel tired there is one guaranteed way I will not feel tired – to go on a run. Afterwards I feel refreshed, invigorated, and my mind is more focused.
Take charge of your mind – You’re feeling more down than enthused? Don’t let your mind be overcome with worry. When we get caught up in worrying we unleash chaos in our heads. Our thoughts become more and more pessimistic. And thus…the downward spiral. You are what you think, so think positive. It is empowering to know that we can control where our thoughts take us. Think about how you want to feel each day and take yourself there with positive thinking. Take charge of your brain. Educate yourself. Learning something new stimulates and exercises your brain in different ways. Learning something new isn’t just good for a healthy brain, it is good for your very being. There is abundant power in knowledge and simply understanding the world around us.
Take charge of your soul – Feeling disconnected from the world, from your spirit, from people around you? Take time to pray, meditate, be by yourself. There is nothing positive for your soul in getting caught up in the noise of the world. Drop the screen, step away from screen, and stay off the screen for awhile.
Take charge of your emotions – Our feelings do not have to be a zero-sum game. Sadness does not have to prevail over happiness, being tired does not have to mean that you are not also energetic. Our feelings can coexist everyday throughout the day. Remember the last time you felt exhilarating joy? What a beautiful feeling. Treasure those moments of joy and feel them in their entirety while understanding that you will also feel great sadness too. We can feel a range of emotions on any given day and we can allow those emotions to run through us without defining us. You are responsible for the energy you bring into a room.
Take charge of your time – I hear it all the time, “I just don’t have the time.” You are in charge of your time. You may have responsibilities that demand certain amounts of your time, but at the end of the day you are in control of your schedule. Your day may not always go as planned, you should give it God and be flexible as needed. But get rid of this illusion that time is slipping through your fingers each day and there’s nothing you can do about it. How you spend your time is your decision.
Take charge of your actions – Want to feel empowered? Accomplish something. Set goals and work towards them. It can be as simple as run a mile three times a week, cook a meal from scratch, volunteer with your local school gardens, or make 1 new friend each month. It can be as life changing as earning your Masters degree, stop drinking, going on sabbatical, or starting a business. The power is in each of us. We have the power to control what happens in our lives. We have the power to change the world. But it isn’t going to happen by spending most of our waking hours on a screen talking about how tired and overwhelmed we are, it will happen by taking charge of our lives and accomplishing goals.
Drop the complaining, stand up and be the women that our ancestors fought for us to be.
The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. -Alice Walker