I’m doing it anyway: Because I’m a woman and because I can
It was Thursday morning when I started feeling grumpy. I’d set up my day to go grocery shopping, but I really just wanted to be alone. I had also planned on having dinner with my son. That I was looking forward to.
I knew I had Friday, Saturday and Sunday for me. But I went to bed on Thursday evening feeling guilty and pissy. I felt I’d be “punished” for enjoying my time with myself.
I think this is a female thing mostly. We’re raised to believe that if we aren’t living for someone else, we aren’t living at all. And I had internalized that belief, but moved into my own apartment anyway.
I have never lived alone before on purpose. I have lived with my parents, roommates, boyfriends, husbands, my son, my fiance, but never alone. And yet, I have chosen to live alone now.
I think it’s about time. I need to know, to live my own worth on my own terms. I need to live my life for me. And I need to know that if I do this, I won’t disappear. I won’t be punished. I won’t cease to exist. And I won’t stop being loved.
I realized that one of my greatest fears was being independent. Who would I be if no one needed me? If my life wasn’t intricately wrapped around someone else’s?
I realized that I was raised to believe that alone I wasn’t worthy. That I was nothing. That I was here to be “a rock” for other people. To be stepped on and sat on and ignored and discounted. A weight for other people’s failings.
And for such a long time I really believed that was true.
That was until I didn’t believe it anymore.
It was my breakdown that helped me get here.
I was listening to Muniba Mazari today on Goalcast, and her final comment really struck me. She said people tell us not to fail. But it is from our failures that we learn to live.
And that’s what my breakdown has done for me. I learned that I am not a rock, that I don’t need to allow people to step on me, sit on me, ignore me or discount me to be worthy. To be a person. To be loved. To be alive.
And I love the way the universe works because the first posts on Facebook I saw this morning were Muniba Mazari and a TED talk on Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave by a woman named Leslie Morgan Steiner.
And both these videos so hit home to me how much I’ve learned since I started speaking up. Since I started raising my voice and expressing my truth. And, yes, people along the way have tried to silence me, mostly the abusers actually (no big surprise there). But they haven’t succeeded. Not this time.
And they’ve tried to convince me I couldn’t survive and thrive on my own either, but I didn’t believe them.
I listened to my gut and got my own beautiful apartment by the water anyway. Maybe I didn’t totally believe I deserved it, but I did it anyway.
Something deep inside of me said, “Jackie, do it before you think about it too much and change your mind.” So I did, and I realize now that it was one of THE best decisions I have ever made for myself.
Because I am tenacious. I am driven. I love to succeed. And I have behaved as if I deserve this place, this beautiful place. And therefore I do.
I have made it beautiful by filling it with things that matter to me. That express who I am. That I have collected throughout the years for me. I have made it mine.
I realized last night that I was holding onto the pillowcase as I was trying to fall asleep as if I were holding on for dear life. And I wondered why. And then it struck me. I thought that this life I’ve made for myself might disappear. So I’d better hold onto it with all my might. And then I realized, no, I’m staying right here. This is my space and my time. I’m not going anywhere I don’t want to go. Not anymore.
And so this begins my blog series on empowerment. On me standing up on my own two feet for me, for my freedom, for my sanity, for my creative soul and for women everywhere.
Welcome to my first blog in the series I’m doing it anyway: Because I’m a woman and because I can.