My Life as a Feminist
My mom made me go to church every Sunday. Every… Sunday! Looking back, I remember it being just the two of us! My sister was an outstanding athlete so she had soccer tournaments to attend, My father was over-worked (by choice) and he needed a minute on Sunday mornings. My mom and I went everywhere together, we were inseparable!
My Mom is a feisty Irish Catholic force standing all of 5 feet. She used to fight with people in the supermarket when they cut in line, she admonished people who spoke ill of our family and she told a few bullies they deserved it when I kicked their ass.
The tone of my life has been set by one great certainty:
THE FEMALE FORCE IS ALMIGHTY!
My sister beat up boys in my protection. I have always looked up to her. Her determination (like my Mothers) is fervent!
I had a bunch of amazing teachers who taught me to stick up for myself. They saw the intensity in my pursuit of Learning Development and they were courageous enough to help me channel it.
I’ve always been misunderstood and underestimated. In everything I’ve achieved, I remember the doubtful bravado of an assumed authority telling me I’d be foolish to try.
In college a woman named Brandi Hephner took on the seemingly impossible task of being a female Fraternity Adviser. We had a partnership; we were both working to destroy a “good old boys” stigma. Brandi was insulted by bullying males and she stood up for herself every mile of the way. I looked up to her in the same way I did my mother (even though she is young enough to be my little sister).
I can’t think of a greater insult than any of the women I’ve known recalling my interactions with them as misogynist or disrespectful!
I met my wife at a bar. I’ve been by her side ever since. She has a fury within her that makes me proud to be alive. She is uncompromising and diligent and full of love (that has to be earned).
We had a few kids. I never referred to the time between conception and birth as “we’re pregnant”, because I didn’t do a mere percentage of the heavy lifting she did to create our family. I would never take credit for my passive participation!
8 years ago my daughter was born on my Dad’s 70th birthday. It seemed fitting. My Dad was a soulmate to my headstrong sister and a Leader for employee empowerment throughout his 40+ year professional career.
When you become a Father to a Daughter the objectification of women ends.
I’ve been an athlete my whole life. I remember being so excited to know I was having a son as my first child. To my surprise, My Daughter became the athletic stand out in our family…. and by stand out, I mean she has achieved more in 8 years than I did my entire professional career (and.. no… we don’t give trophies for second place)!
Marc Maron delivered a candid response to the cyber-bullying of Amy Schumer that caught my attention. It reveled the insensitivity we still possess in 2016… lead by nameless, faceless people who were not fortunate enough to have the privileged upbringing that I did.
I’ve had the pleasure of coaching hundreds of young women who will be tomorrows CEO’s. Their Mothers have put their trust in me while they tended to the far-more-important post-practice metaphorical lessons of how my teaching would serve them for the rest of their lives.
I’m not an activist, I’ve backed down from opportunities to speak up and cannot begin to speak with a voice that is not my own.
But I know this:
My mom, sister, wife and daughter continue to make me stronger every day!
It’s wonderful to be surprised by a life-altering change in perspective.
… to consider a counter-point.
… to put your ego on reserve.
… to grow up!
To see the strength in another without giving them a reason to display it.
To allow yourself to be defenseless… and wrong… and fallible…
To Get Over Yourself.
To stop assuming……
I Hope You Find It Too!