College

LXXXIII: To Be A Woman...

To be a woman is to wait...  

In our teens, we wait for the moments that make us feel most like a woman. We wait for that group of friends that we believe we can’t live without. We wait for love — a deep, all-in, scary type of love. 

We wait for those little glimpses into our futures that show us what our passions will likely be. We take chances never fearing the risk. We try without the fear of failure. We leap knowing that life will catch us.

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Once we reach college age, we wait for the work that we’ve done on ourselves, thus far, to be realized.

By now, we’ve experienced friendship, betrayal, and love [for many]. We’ve had to pick ourselves up, persevere and be our own heroes. We’ve done all of this while under the lens of those around us while trying not to crack under the pressure.

Being a woman is tough. If we aren’t waiting for recognition for our hard work, then we are waiting for men to realize that many of us require that they actually treat us right. We are forever seen as the weaker sex and forever waiting for equality, civility, humanity, and appreciation.

At this point, this woman has been waiting to see a couple of things and I’ve noticed a couple of things... :

HARDWORK’S PAYOFF

There are some women out there working their buns off on a consistent basis and I think that it is worthy of so much applause.

Without getting into the things that women deal with, all too often, while working in the professional world, the way in which women still reign supreme in a number of professional arenas is astounding.

Women are simply amazing. But, sometimes it’s also the case that women are overlooked for their hard work. There are a ton of women out there who have to work behind the guise of a man just to keep their jobs; there are so many women who are the geniuses behind works that will never be known; and there are so many women out there who could do the job 10 times better than their male counterparts but will never even see anything past an interview.

I know that there are many women, including myself, who are waiting for all of their hard work to pay off, and I am just here to say to all of us:

Keep your head up. Your day is coming…

FRIENDS ACTUALLY BEING FRIENDS

I say this and will always stand by this, “it is so easy to be there for someone when they have nothing for you to be there for them about”.

I am a complicated person as it is, but in all of my arduousness, I still manage to be the friend that those around me need. As a woman, I found it necessary to pay attention to the needs of each friend (because they are always different), and work at being what each person needs and when they need it.

Again, I don’t see the point in being in someone’s life if I am not there to enhance or change it. So, as a friend, I make sure that I am exactly what that person needs: if they need an ear, then I listen; if they need a night out, then I’m going; if they need to vent, then I’m right there volunteering to beat up whoever needs it; if they need a shoulder, then I do my best, but honestly I hate contact so, you know, give and take.

All I’m saying is that, I understand what it is to be a human. I understand what it is to be a woman. I understand what it’s like to have emotions, and I understand disappointment very well. Life is not easy for everyone, and I get that it is 10 times harder if you’re doing it alone. So, I do what I can to make sure that those around me know that they are not doing it alone. I’m always here.

But, when it comes to my needs, if I really take a look at my life, not many of those same people even try to be there for me, women included.

For women to see how difficult this life can be and still not be there for another woman is disturbing. And I see it as a cycle of women running into the wrong types of women throughout their lives. They reach a point where it’s impossible to trust a good one when one comes around — and so begins the cycle of selfishness that we are currently knee-deep in today.

Women loving women, genuinely, is so absent in today’s society. For two women to be friends and not talk behind each other’s back or not lie to each other’s face is near impossible to find and it’s sad. There is nothing more powerful than a woman truly supporting a woman — how could we not flock to this?

We have to do better because there is nothing more beautiful than women truly supporting and rooting for other women.

REAL LOVE

I’ve heard it time and time again. It is so easy for a boy to tell you that he loves you, but I have yet to see a man show me that he loves me.

As a woman, when a pattern makes itself known, we cannot help but to internalize… “It must be me”, “Maybe I am asking for too much”, “Maybe I should lower my standards”. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is true, sometimes it is us! Sometimes we do ask for unreasonable and unrealistic things! And I’m not even touching that last one because I will never lower my standards.

But many times, it’s the fact that these boys haven’t been held responsible for their actions (see To Be Man post); they haven’t been required to try or put forth effort beyond getting in a girl’s pants, they haven’t been told to be the role model or the man. It’s never required because there is always a girl in the background that he can spend his time and energy on who doesn’t require these things like the woman does.

In this regard it’s like we’re fighting ourselves because we’ll continue to be the home for his womanizing ways, lies and failure to accept or admit the things from his past that have hurt him. Things that he hasn’t even taken the time out to work through because he’s never been required to.

Being a woman is hard — being a woman in love is the hardest.

Strength and “Real Love” have to go hand in hand in this world. I’m waiting for the shift that doesn’t only call for a woman’s strength but that also includes a man showing strength, restraint, loyalty, and love… and I do mean Real love.

COMPETITION

For some reason, women always seem to be in competition with each other as if we aren’t all fighting the same evils.

That competition even becomes the very demon that destroys our relationships, our friendships and our own well-being.

I don’t compete with the women around me because I really don’t see a point and I don’t see what we would be competing for (I generally see myself on different levels across the board). The energy put into competing at things that probably won’t even matter 5 years from now could easily go into, oh I don’t know, ANYTHING.

I just see the world as insanely difficult when it comes to people because our focus gets stuck on things like competition instead of on things like working through problems, or being there for each other, or being a friend…

I mean, maybe the fact that I honestly cannot wrap my mind around why or what women are competing for is exactly why I don’t understand this concept of women competing against women — and I do refer to the negative competition and not the fruitful/sportsman-type of competition.

HUMANITY

Chivalry, compassion, dignity, love, tenderness, kindness, consideration, generosity, goodness, sincerity, honesty and loyalty — Where art thou!?

I’m waiting for the world to find it’s humanity [again]. For some reason I have this idea that we once knew how to treat each other. And I could be completely wrong, but I honestly feel like there was a time where men had manners, at least made an effort to be honest, and tried to treat women the way they deserve to be treated.

Maybe because of the way that I was brought up — you know, with common sense, common curtesy and decency, do I believe that others should exercise the same.

I think that the world is so caught up in the pretend lives that they’re living for social media and viral culture that they are completely forgetting to be human and to treat others as if they are also human.

As a Black woman, my experience is much different from many others when it comes to humanity. Many women reading this post probably do not feel that humanity has died, but being a Black woman (the most unprotected, the most attacked, the most forgotten kind of woman) only shows me in technicolor that the world is lacking in the humanity, compassion, loyalty and decency department, and I want us to get it back. I believe in us!


Women spend their lives trying to find themselves and then to not lose it to the world, trying to determine who and what is worth caring for, trying to protect what’s nearest and dearest to them, nurturing, loving, caring and being compassionate and remaining strong. All while being used and abused by damaged guys (and girls), being betrayed by lifelong friends, and being placed in insane situations in the workplace while being looked over for things and positions that they can [more likely than not] do better than the guys.

Being a woman is hard… And I think that I continue to return to this point because it is too true. But, to all of the women who are loving in this world, working in this world, caring in this world, trying in this world and who are remaining true to themselves in this world, I see you and I applaud you all.

🖤

LXXI: A Couple Of Things That I Wish College Bree Would Have Done?

College, for me was not all that it could have been, but, don’t get me wrong, it was still great! However, there were a couple of things that, looking back, I wish I’d done:

LIVE ON CAMPUS

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Let’s start with the reason why I emphatically said, ‘NO’ to living on campus in the first place:

So my undergrad university had an open house where incoming students come to campus before school starts and sleep in the dorms to get to know each other. The idea was that the people around us would be our classmates for the next 4-to-forever years.

So, my dad drops me off at the campus for this night of fun and interaction, and I’m excited and ready to go! Just kidding, do you even know me! I didn’t want to get out of the van!

He finally convinces me to get out and we all gather in the game room. You know, put us there so that we think that this will be a fun experience. At this point, people are chatting, laughing and looking around. Everyone links up and I find the people who share similar loves as I do — I bond most with those also hovered around the food table.

After that we’re given a tour and are told to shower and go to sleep. They take us to the shower room which, to my surprise, was a room with showers in it! Showers, but no doors! No shades! No dividers and no mats on the floors to protect our bare feet from germs!

So, the next morning, when I woke up in the comfort of my own bed [at home], I decided that that was where I belonged. And throughout my years at my undergrad, that was where I remained. I was completely turned off to the whole “living on campus” deal.

But, I do wish that I’d experienced living on campus because I saw so many bonds being built just by living in close proximity to those within your own cohort. College is just lenient enough that you are able to create relationships with people while partying and still manage to pass all of your classes, so I should have taken more advantage of the on-campus life while I was a student.

EXPLORE MORE

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I have lived in the same city since leaving high school ten years ago, but, honestly, I still know nothing about this city.

I have only become interested in learning more about this city because of my love for photography, but I do wish that I would have explored it more while I was in college.

There’s something much more fun about seeing the world through young, impressionable eyes than through my now older and cynical ones.

So, I definitely wish that I would have explored the city during my college years and with the people who were in my life at that time.

STUDY ABROAD

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I am pretty sure that I thought that travel outside of the states was just out of my reach during college.

Of course nowadays I know that there are literal programs made that help you through the “study abroad” process from start to finish with funding and packing, roommates, etc.

Unfortunately for me, however, I went into college with everything set already: I had a best friend, I had the boyfriend, I hung out with my family at every chance, and because my boyfriend lived in a different city, I spent my time either preparing for him to drive up or driving down to where he was.

I just didn’t see a need to spend a ton of weeks away from what was already so cozy and so comfy. But, of course, NOW I regret not going! Not that I can’t just book a trip and go, it just won’t be the same these days!

TRAVEL MORE

Now, because I was a military spouse for a while, I did have the opportunity to travel a bit. But, I didn’t start taking the bigger trips until I was out of undergrad.

I am glad that I did start to travel, but I wish that I would have learned how to travel back when I was taking those smaller trips and not during the bigger, across-the-pond trips that I was taking post-undergrad.

Learning how to travel simply means: knowing how to find the best flight deals (or packages), figuring out which hotels I prefer, knowing the best days to book flights, knowing the best days to take off and land, knowing what times of the year to go where, how to pack for long travel, how to pack for short travel, etc.

These are things that I’ve only recently began to learn that I really could have benefited from knowing on trips like Paris, for instance. So, I definitely wish that Undergrad Bree would have just booked more flights, stays, and vacations. I’m sure she deserved it!

TRY A LITTLE BIT HARDER

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Clearly, there were classes that I had to put more effort into than others, but, for the most part, I don’t feel like I really truly tried in college.

Why? The answer is beyond me! Why don’t I try now? And I’m still in school!

While I was there, I literally just wanted to do enough to pass and maintain what little sanity and “life” I had. Looking back, however, I completely see that college was a joke compared to Grad School and I definitely had the time to put real effort into my education (regardless of my forever-feeling that I am just an average student).

So, boom! There you have it. College Bree was fun and definitely had fun, but there was always more that she could’ve done that definitely would have shaped some of the experiences that I have today.