Tag Archives: Fleetwood Mac

Fear Isn’t a Reason to Quit

In “Why Do We Teach Girls That It’s Cute to Be Scared,” Caroline Paul writes about being one of the first women in the San Francisco Fire Department.

“I expected people to question whether I had the physical ability to do the job (even though I was a 5-foot-10, 150-pound ex-college athlete). What I didn’t expect was the question I heard more than any other: ‘Aren’t you scared?’”

Read the rest of Paul’s piece in The New York Times here.

As Paul points out, women are raised to be afraid, of well, many things. Things that are gross, things that could hurt us, things that are physically intimidating, etc. Some fear is healthy, of course. Fear keeps us from acting completely irrationally or taking unnecessary risks.

But what about risks that are scary because we could possibly fail? Possibly be humiliated? I mean, let’s be real. What the hell is scarier than failure? Paul writes,

“When a girl learns that the chance of skinning her knee is an acceptable reason not to attempt the fire pole, she learns to avoid activities outside her comfort zone.”

Here lies the problem. As Paul states,

“We think our daughters are more fragile, both physically and emotionally, than our sons.”

When we treat young girls as more fragile, they come to think of themselves that way. They are less likely to take risks because they might bruise their knees or their egos. Paul writes,

“When girls become women, this fear manifests as deference and timid decision making.”

I fear failure, probably a little too much. It has made me timid in my decision making, opting to stay the course, and wait for better things to come along.

It’s not like parents raised me to be this timid girl. My mother raised me to a feminist. To have opinions. To try new things. I mean, my parents let me travel to another continent (without them) when I was in junior high.

Did they treat me different than my brothers? Yes. Some different treatment is necessary. Girls have to learn how to navigate the world we live in, after all. And that’s the point really.

Girls need to learn to look fear in the eye and try it anyway, knowing they might tumble, bloody their knees, and fail. Failure builds character. It makes us stronger. It makes us brave. Paul writes,

“When I worked as a firefighter, I was often scared. Of course I was. So were the men. But fear wasn’t a reason to quit. I put my fear where it belonged, behind my feelings of focus, confidence and courage. Then I headed, with my crew, into the burning building.”

I was talking to a friend of mine about this piece. My friend has two daughters. Her take was she doesn’t want to raise her girls to be fearless, she wants to raise them to be smart and brave.

Sounds good to me. We could use more smart and BRAVE women out there in the world.

So this week, I thought I would try something different. I created a Spotify Playlist. It is my Fearless Mix. You may recognize a lot of these songs from earlier posts. 🙂

 

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8 Goals for 2016 (Because I Don’t Believe in Resolutions)

I don’t do resolutions. To me, resolutions are failed attempts to get in shape, eat better, and swear less. I could probably set all those goals. I could become a gym queen with killer biceps.

Ehh.

I own a treadmill. I use it. I eat ok. Salads for lunch a lot, probably too many nachos for dinner. Swearing, well, I like swearing, and I know when swearing is not appropriate.

I do, however, set goals. I know it is basically the same thing, but I like the sound of goals better.

So in order to fully commit myself, I am sharing my 2016 goals here for ALL THE WORLD to see. I assume everyone on the planet reads this blog, but you know, somehow in secret so I don’t know about it.

  1. Keep writing a blog a week until May 29th. On May 29th, I will have written a post every week for one year. Continuing this seems attainable. I have this one in the bag.
  1. Complete seven stories this year, and submit these stories. Starting a story is not hard. Finishing and editing a story until I am satisfied is a much longer process. I submitted one so far.
  1. Stop apologizing for things that don’t require an apology. I say sorry for things I have no reason to be sorry about. Not sure if it is a Midwest thing or a woman thing or more likely both. I worry too much about hurting people’s feelings, especially people that don’t seem to hold my feelings in such high regard.
  1. Spend time with people that value you and make an effort. I am picky about the people I spend time with, but I tend to give people too many chances. If someone makes no effort, then I need to learn to let it go.
  1. Get my finances locked down. I pay all my bills on time, and I have a 401K. But I was having a conversation with a friend about how good she is at saving money, and I thought, damn girl, you could do that too. You should be doing that too. Why aren’t you doing that too?! Call it my emergency furnace fund which even typing that makes me TERRIFIED the furnace is going to blow. (Send good vibes to my furnace.)
  1. Do some home improvements that improve resale, not just make it look kick ass. I have a tendency to buy things like furniture, rugs, and trilobites. You know, the essentials. These things look kick ass, but don’t really add value to your house. So I’m making more permanent changes. I had an over-the-range microwave installed this week, and another guy came over to talk dishwasher installation. I have a few more kitchen tweaks in mind. I would also like my laundry room to appear to be a place other than where you might find someone’s severed torso. So that’s maybe next on the list.
  1. Get a new job. This one has been on my to-do list for quite some time. I have taken steps toward this. Working on a master’s degree, writing this blog, internships, and various other writing projects. I want this to be the year, guys.
  1. Continue destroying the fear. This goes along with many of those goals, like quit apologizing for who you are. Submit more writing. Use more power tools. Change, change, change. Basically, be a better version of yourself. This is a perpetual goal. I think whenever you can let go of your fears, you find yourself a happier person. And that, my friends, is always the goal, be happier.

This week’s video is “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac.

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How I Handle the Mean Reds

I don’t believe everything happens for a reason. I find that saying to be, well, a bullshit platitude.

I do understand the appeal of bullshit platitudes. When bad things are happening in your life, this phrase or phrases like it give you something to latch onto. It gives you hope there is a bigger cosmic reason for your suffering. I mean, why else are you being punished like this, if not for some greater good.

The phrase has a distinct appeal.

But I guess I’ve seen too much. For the life of me, I can’t imagine what good comes from a child being molested or a woman beaten senseless.

I am all for finding a silver lining, but sometimes bad stuff just happens. And even sometimes hearing about that silver lining is too much. Sometimes you just have to sit with the sadness.

But if believing everything happens for a reason gets you through it, believe it. Do what you have to do, so you don’t sink into the sadness forever.

Confession: One of my cures for the mean reds (It’s a Breakfast at Tiffany’s reference. The mean reds are like the blues, but worse.) is to visit the Quotes board on Pinterest. I scroll through until I find a quote that strikes a chord with me. Then I pin it. I go back and read these quotes when I am in need of cheering up. I do it less than I used to, but I still do it.

There is comfort in scrolling through the words. There is comfort in knowing I’m not alone, that other people need words like this too.

Here’s one of the first ones I pinned: “Let your past make you better, not bitter.” Some pretty good advice I’d say. A little hokey sure, but solid advice.

Move on, these words told me. Do better things. Be a better person. Let it fucking go. Good, but not necessarily easy advice.

Here’s another one: “Wake up. Kick ass. Repeat.” This is honestly one of my favorite pins. This phrase still floats around my head. When your life seems busy and a little overwhelming, as mine does sometimes, you just need a reminder to take a breath and get it done.

These words tell me to hit the floor running, to send emails, to make phone calls, to write words, to walk the dog, to follow-up on those emails and calls, to cook an amazing dinner, and then go see that awesome band.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for Netflix marathons, but I also get shit done. Nobody is going to take a wand and magically *poof* turn me into a writer. Only I can do that.

Life happens. Change is inevitable. The way we adapt to the changes life throws at us is what’s important. These phrases, hokey or not, helped me realize I wanted to be better, not bitter. I wanted to kick ass harder.

So I do. I wake up, kick ass, and then I repeat.

This week’s video is “Landslide “ by Fleetwood Mac.

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