I’m going to call it The Woman Project, and it starts with me today.
You may feel the inclusion of myself in the “courageous women” category is a bit narcissistic. But I do believe myself to be courageous. I, after all, am keenly- and at times painfully- aware of each obstacle I have scraped, dragged, and pushed myself over in the past 28 years.
There are many things I’ve learned about people in my first few years as a counselor. One of the most surprising is how many women struggle with low self-worth. I won’t go into my lecture of the ways I believe American culture, media, and especially rhetoric contribute to this.
I will tell you that despite my years as an athlete, high grades, achievements, women’s studies classes, confident demeanor, supportive parents, or professional accomplishments, I am no exception to the female rule of low self-worth.
And I know better.
That is why I am calling myself courageous today. This past year I wrote a speech for our Blue Christmas service at church. I had my friend, Ben Wilson, look over it and he told me to take out the parts where I dismiss my suffering by saying things like “my losses haven’t been much compared to some.” He told me, “if you dismiss your suffering, so will your listeners.”
In the same way, if I dismiss my worth, so will my readers.
And I do have worth. I have things to be proud of.
This past year was a tough year for me. A really tough year.
Losing my job affected my whole outlook on my future and has made me feel far less secure and far more worried about how I will pay the bills for the rest of my life (maybe that’s the reason the finance section in the premarital class was so emotional for me).
I weathered a break up, professional rejection, the loss of an uncle, living off a very limited budget, and major feelings of failure.
But I also survived. I ate my pride and went back to waitressing. I pursued substitute teaching once the tourist season ended. I moved back to Missouri without the guarantee of a job. I gave love a chance (that doesn’t sound cheesy at all). And I’ve endured the first three weeks of a ridiculously stressful job in a challenging work environment with a very severe clientele.
I am proud of myself.
I have feared, but I found my courage.
I have been sad, but I allowed myself to grieve.
I have failed, but I did not stop trying.
I have doubted, but I found my faith.
I have been weak, but I found my strength.
And I know there are so many more women who have overcome so much to get where they are.
This March I can’t wait to read more of their stories.