Is it just men who are hindering our opportunities?
I am going to offend many women with this post, however I feel like it is something that needs to be put out there.
I am a doormat.
Sometimes I don’t even realise that I am, and I thought that I had changed, however over the past few months I’ve realised that I still am.
Certain women within my professional environment see me as gullible, weak and susceptible to coercion, which they of course use to their advantage.
I allow myself to be coerced into decisions I am not comfortable with.
Example one: I went to Ireland with a friend last year and she hates flying so she booked us tickets to travel by ferry. I suffer from severe sea sickness, which I did meekly offer up as a defence against using this mode of transport, however this was overridden and we went by ferry. I was so sick that I threw up the entire way, even on the train platform when we got to Dublin. My friend later admitted that she’s never actually flown before. Perhaps if I’d had more of a backbone, I probably would’ve gotten this information out of her BEFORE the damn trip and saved myself a lot of money I’d wasted on the food I bought only to later throw up.
Example two: A few years ago I was convinced by my sister to break up with one of my best friends – in fact this chick was more than a best friend, she was like a second sister to me – my sister told me a whole load of stuff about this girl, I of course believed her (being my sister) and then later found out that I had been lied to because my sister had been jealous of the friendship and knew I was gullible enough to believe her.
“It’s not fair! Why is it all happening for you? When is it going to happen for me?”
As women we want to be loved, we want to be attractive, we want to be successful and when we see all of those qualities in other people at a time when we don’t yet have them – or in fact, at a time when we have lost them – it seems that it is a natural instinct to become jealous.
While in therapy last year, I mentioned that I find it difficult to talk to female friends about my relationship. When asked why, my response was because of envy, therefore my therapist set me a challenge: to test my friends and watch their reactions when I speak about my partner. Most of my friends love that I now speak openly about my partner as they notice that I have become much more comfortable within myself. There are a few however who I have noticed don’t appreciate me speaking so much about him; some roll their eyes, change the subject, or make it obvious that they’re not listening.
I will never forget a scene from a few years ago, in my mother’s kitchen when I was talking about how happy I was and couldn’t believe how well my new relationship was going, when my mum angrily responded: “It’s not fair! Why is it all happening for you? When is it going to happen for me?”
Just last week, I spoke on BBC London Radio about Epilepsy; I was asked by Epilepsy Action at the last minute to speak as part of a promotion for Epilepsy Awareness Week and I was thrilled! As were the majority of my friends. However, one’s response was: “well it would’ve been more exciting if you were actually going into the studio to speak. But yeah…”
A friend (one of the good ones) recently said to me that they have noticed that I allow myself to be influenced by other’s perceptions of me. I had thought that even after all of these years that I had managed to shake it off, but it seems that I haven’t. When a friend doesn’t celebrate with me, for a moment I stop celebrating too. A friend inferred that I was weak because on more than one occasion, I’ve allowed myself to undermined by people and bullied; they said that this would never happen to them because of who they are (there is of course context to this: I have a disability, she doesn’t; we have different managers, etc etc). You cannot help but believe comments like that because they come from your friend and who knows you better than your friends?
I offended some girl-friends recently when I argued that as women sometimes we don’t build each other up, and many times we are in fact the first to tear each other down.
I stand by that statement.
I’ll always be a feminist, however, I am starting to wonder if it is just men who are hindering our opportunities, or whether it’s women too?
Therefore, in keeping with this trend of “every woman for herself” I shall make a promise to myself to be selfish. However, I don’t need to step on other women in order to get to where I need to be. I will continue to celebrate my friends in their successes and refuse to make revel in their ditches. If I already have haters, I’m clearly doing something right; I just need to ensure that I protect my heart as I continue.