Strength from Growth

Strength from Growth

Just Who is the Empowered Woman?

Female empowerment means a lot to the feminist movement as a whole. But, just as there are so many subsets of the feminism itself, there are just as many (if not more) views on what defines the truly empowered woman.

Some believe it to be the golden example of feminist values. This would be the born leader who never kowtowed to what society deemed “women’s work”. That big, bold middle finger to all things patriarchal.

Then there are others – myself included – who see the truly empowered woman as someone with the grace to admit her humanity. The truly empowered woman should be inspiration to all, accept her missteps and make the past be lessons for the future.

A ReaAli-0651l-Life Role Model

The woman in my life that I consider to be an empowered woman is my dearest friend. She is the one I’ve turned to when things were tough, giving the best advice on relationships or parent issues or any other problem I might have. For that, I’m eternally grateful.

But I’ve always tried to be a good friend back to her and to hear her struggles. As a result, I witnessed the amazing woman she has grown into over the years. That is where I am most proud of her. I have watched over the years as she moved from struggling college student to budding entrepreneur. I watched her become more confident in her body and in herself, which further inspires me.

In addition to her growth in self-confidence, I find myself admiring that she continues to learn from the past. She admits her screw-ups and doesn’t paint her past as perfect. She also takes the time to boost women up and to advocate for social justice.

Empowering Others to Succeed

We aren’t these ideal feminists – nor have we ever claimed to be. But it seems that, with Ali by my side, I have the drive to keep growing as a person. She inspires me to claim my past and use it to bring about change for the future.

Someone I see as an empowered woman wants to spark those same successes in other women. This is a woman who sees other women as her equals, not competition to cut down. And that is Ali 100% – she has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders. And I am hers – I want to see her fulfill her dreams and I love that I get to be there as she works for them.

Female empowerment doesn’t always mean running around in red lipstick and screaming “girl power”. Ali has shown me that loving yourself plays a major part of it. Female empowerment means finding what makes you happy and Ali showed me that she gets just as much from watching loved ones succeed as she does with her own successes.

 

My Best Friend is A Symbol of Female Empowerment

My Best Friend is A Symbol of Female Empowerment

 

A  woman once said to me, “Let’s lick this spoon at the same time,” and she also said “I’m here for you.” Her name is Baily and our names rhyme, we like the same things, we’ve been following politics since we were in middle school, we spent weeks at a time together, and we found ourselves in one another.

Baily is the definition of female empowerment to me. She inspires and ignites a fire in me that I hadn’t known until I met her.

Let me tell you a little bit about our friendship before I detail all of the moving things that she has said and done.

We met in freshman art class in 2011. From that point on, Baily became a sister to me. When I was at my lowest, she was there. However, after graduation, we drifted apart. Even though we promised that we wouldn’t, we did. We ended up at different colleges. She had a serious boyfriend and they were planning a future together and I was spending my weekends at frat parties. However, in September of 2015 I was raped at one of those parties. A lot of things about my life changed from there on out, including the friendship that we shared. Mean things were said and done and I know that tears were shed. In her mind, I know she was thinking, “This is my sister. Why is she doing this? I don’t understand.”

That’s the part about PTSD and anxiety after a traumatic event, though. Nobody can truly understand it. I couldn’t even understand it.

A few months after I began taking anti- depressants to help with my PTSD, anxiety, and newly diagnosed depression, I came across a post that she had commented on. For weeks, I checked in on her social media pages, contemplating whether or not to try to mend the friendship. Finally, I sent the message one afternoon to her, apologizing- for the third time in our friendship, and hoping that the third time was really the charm.

To my luck, it was and Bea will hopefully be coming to my housewarming party in a few weeks, but not before we reunite for a beach day or just a chill weekend.

Enough about the mended friendship, though, and on to why Bea inspires me…

Baily moved to a new school for her freshman year of high- school. She had been friends with the same people throughout elementary and middle school and she was taken almost an hour away from them to a new place, filled with new people that she didn’t know. Many teens go through this in high school, but it was different for Baily. Her parents weren’t getting along very well, she was dealing with her own mental health issues, and now she was being thrown into a new place, far from what she was used to- a high school seated in the middle of a cornfield with ½ of the amount of students in her grade level that she was used to. But, on a hot day at 1:00 PM in a class full of students from all levels of high school, Baily sat next to me in art class. She introduced me to new music that I love to this day; she introduced me to a type of humor that nobody else shares with me to this day; and she introduced me to a similar love of all things Pretty Little Liars and Teen Wolf to this day.

Throughout high school, Baily and I dealt with “typical” teenage girl things, from rumors to dating. When I found myself bleeding in the shower from self- inflicted pain, Baily was the person who talked me down from the fear. When Baily stopped self- harming her own body, I was taken aback by her courage and desire to love herself. Even when I was angry or upset, Baily could, and still does, put a huge goofy smile on my face- a smile that nobody else can bring out of my soul.

Baily has dealt with some trials and tribulations in her life, from deaths of someone that she loved more than anyone else, to body image issues, which she conquered all on her own. She is an inspiration to all girls, children who are watching their parent’s love fall to ashes; teenagers who are struggling with how to cope with mental health issues, and women who can’t find it in themselves to love their bodies. She has proven to me and all of those around here what strength, desire, beauty, and love truly are.

I am blessed to call her my best friend and I know that from here on out, my sister Bea will stand with me once again as we journey through this strenuous but enticing life that we are living.