Who made the rules anyway?

Every relationship has a unique style. I think this picture really captures my relationship with Corey.

We did not pose for this photo. We were simply walking up a hill. My heels kept slipping into the wet ground, so I took my shoes off, and he offered to carry them. This photo perfectly represents our personalities. My head is up, my shoulders are back, and my eyes are focused on my destination. I am both confident and sure. Corey is the opposite. His head is down, he is deeply focused on each step, and he is trusting I am not leading us into a tree. He is also carrying my shoes because he always wants to serve those around him.

He has the most sincere servant heart I have ever encountered. His willingness to help is almost a fault, and quite frankly he makes me feel selfish sometimes just through the example he sets. We compliment each other fantastically. I am the extrovert, and he is the introvert. I work diligently, and he knows how to relax. I am the athlete, and he is the gamer. I am great and cleaning, and he can cook, and I mean he can cook.

Our relationship is unique because we do not subscribe to cultural mores. We do not feel pressure to fit into the specific roles society has defined for us. When I said yes to marry Corey, I wasn’t looking for a provider and protector, and he wasn’t hoping to be the knight in shining armor ready to rescue me out of a prison tower. Instead, we both found a perfect partner, and we both knew together we could accomplish more. In fact, our first “not date” was to discuss a project. I had a vision, and he wanted to help me get to the destination. We started our relationship as partners, and that developed into a deep love founded on trust, companionship, and a desire to see the other succeed.

For a long time, I really struggled with my desire to lead, because my church, society, and traditionalists around me told me I should instead do what is expected of me. I wanted to lead, but I was told to step back. It was like I had this deep desire to run, but the world told me to walk. I felt like I was being told to be less than what I was worth. Luckily, I have a tough time following social rules.

Honestly, I could never thank my mother enough for never telling me I couldn’t achieve a goal. It was a tiresome value to instill in a young girl who truly felt she could do anything in the world. It required investing countless hours in transportation to and from activities, and I tried a lot of different activities. I began experimenting with my potential through extracurricular activities. I played soccer, softball, basketball, tennis, gymnastics (mom attending gym meets), cheer (she hated attending cheer more), swimming, debate, and drama. I even attended baseball camp, which really helped my batting skills for softball. Throughout the process, I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses. Some activities I completed only one season, and I participated in other activities for many years.

My mom gave me only one rule. I had to finish what I started.

If it wasn’t for her constant encouragement, I might have backed away from my goals by thinking they were too ambitious for a girl.

I remember the first time someone told me a woman is not designed to lead a country as a President. This was long before Hillary, but I remember that experience shaking my foundation and made me question my goals. That was simply the first of many individuals who inadvertently told me I set the wrong goals for my life because I dreamed of leadership.

I have struggled through the process and wrestled with many different topics regarding women in leadership. I still encounter adversaries or conflicting views. I still have grown professional men who refer to me as “sweetheart,” when I am covering news events. I bite my tongue, and I don’t respond by calling them “sugar plum” or “honey biscuit” or whatever weird pet name I can come up with on the fly. I am not their “sweetheart” I am a professional who is dang good at her job and deserves to be treated with respect.

My mom helped me develop into a strong woman, and my husband encourages me every day to not settle for mediocrity. We both strive to do our best, and we are always growing. Isn’t that what life is about? So what if I don’t like to cook or if I can beat Corey in pretty much every athletic sport. Who made these rules anyway?

I pretty much dominated my midterms so I can actually work on my podcast this weekend. Woot!