You’ve likely heard the same messages I’ve heard my whole life. Men are the leaders, men are in charge, men are the protectors, men go first, they set the tone, they set the expectations, they set the example, they provide and you, woman, are here to respond.
If I held to that bullshit, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today, because I would have continued to lose myself in an abusive relationship thinking it wasn’t for me to step up and change things for the better.
If I didn’t have the courage to step away from all of the messages I’ve heard for decades about my gender role, I wouldn’t have learned so much about who I am and why – and it wasn’t because I submitted myself to someone else’s ideas about my role, it’s because I shattered that box and asked really hard questions about who I am and who I want to be – then stepped up and asked a man the same hard questions and had the courage to take the risk that the answers were going to break my heart.
I’ve limited myself for so long because I was told that I was just a girl. Girls shouldn’t be leaders, they shouldn’t fight for better and they really shouldn’t say, “this isn’t ok and we can both do better, but I can’t do it for you.”
I’m working on the practice of holding two opposing ideas at once, and this, intentional recovery, has been both hell and freedom. And the best part of freedom might be freeing myself from bullshit gender messages that have prevented me from living as the best possible version of myself, a person of courage, honesty and compassion.