Am I a feminist? Am I lucky? Or am I just single?

I recently listened to one of the best Tedtalks I have heard to date – ‘We should all be feminists’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which I highly recommend a listen. She delivers the Tedtalk in a very engaging, humorous way and the content is very thought provoking. Feminism, and discussion of feminism, is rife at the moment with all the political turmoil in the States. Chimamanda talks about several key conversations during her life where she was called a feminist and conveys how she found these instances highly amusing as she had never considered herself a feminist. (After all, the stereotypes surrounding feminism aren’t exactly something to strive for). I, myself, would never have classed myself as a feminist until I listened to this Tedtalk, but now I’m not so sure! 

I often am told I am ‘lucky’; lucky to live in Florida, lucky to be able to eat carbs and lucky to have the job that I do. While, yes, I do feel grateful for all three of those examples, I would never classify myself as lucky. It is not by random chance that I live in Florida, it is because my Dad got a job over here years ago and I decided to move to spend more time with my family. It is also not due to luck that I can tolerate carbs well. It is down to hard work and consistency. For the past two years, I have stuck to my macros every day, and, as such, have been able to build up my metabolism. And my career is far from luck. Yes, a contact gave me information about the company, but I grafted to get the position in the first place and it is also hard work that has continued my career growth. I can’t help but wonder whether some of these times I get called ‘lucky’ would happen if I was male. Maybe not the Florida living example, but society definitely expects men to eat carbs. Society also permits men to be successful and to experiment with career paths until they are happy. 

Another question I often get asked is why I’m not married. 

I have never been someone who is overtly ‘feminine’ in relationships; I am not particularly affectionate, I am very self-sufficient and tend to adopt a bit of a Laissez Faire attitude in relationships. Men think this is exciting at the start, but, as time goes on, the men I have dated definitely found these behaviors problematic. I have had one really good relationship that I will always reminisce fondly about. As for the rest… I spent far too much time struggling to balance being myself and trying to conform to what I thought was wanted from me. As a result, those relationships were abusive, destructive and suffocating. My last relationship ended just over 18 months ago, and it left me a shell of myself, not because I was devastated about being single, but because of how worthless I felt coming out of that relationship. It was definitely a relationship where I was treated like an incompetent female – unable to make decisions, follow passions or speak for myself. Over time, I adopted these expectations, so when the relationship ended, I didn’t even recognize the person I had become. 

Over the past 18 months, I have built myself back up and have achieved a lot in that time. I have changed career, received two awards in retail, secured a promotion, stepped on stage in a bikini competition, developed social media platforms, and, most importantly, my relationship with my family is the best it has ever been.  I look to my sister, as well as to many of my friends, who are in lovely relationships where both people compliment each other and add to each other’s lives. I always say to my sister that her boyfriend makes her sparkle – he brings out the best in her. So why am I not married? Because I haven’t met anyone who remotely makes me want to make any compromises. I haven’t met anyone who will compliment me (and vice versa) and make me sparkle. When I was first single, I used to worry I would be single forever. Now, I couldn’t care less.

I am drawn to people who work hard and demonstrate passion. I admire those people, whether male or female, probably more now than when I was younger. I know how it feels to coast through life and ‘be feminine’, but I also know how it feels to work hard at everything you value. I have felt no personal satisfaction as great as the last year and have started to learn to disregard societal expectations on the level of success females should achieve. I still wouldn’t class myself as a feminist, but I would say I am completely anti the perceptions that females are incapable. I love the fact that I am strong enough to be able to remove my own luggage from the luggage belt. I love the fact I am fit enough to run for public transport if necessary. I love the fact I have developed the confidence to be proactive and experiment to solve problems. And guess what? I wouldn’t say me being able to do these things is down to luck either.

-Benchpressingbaubles, x

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