I've been thinking a lot lately about writing a book. I jokingly tweeted that I'd write a book and
thanked in advance, the 3 people who'd read it. It got a few laughs and 6 people said they'd read it.
Twice as much as I thought. Great.
As a Fitness professional and Strength & Conditioning Coach, I'm expected to be a positive force.
ALL. THE. TIME.
After all, we can't get stronger, faster, healthier or happier if we're negative right? Well, that's true.
To a certain extent. But what about the struggle that happens on the way to faster, stronger, healthier
HAPPIER? What about failure?
Are we not supposed to talk about the struggle? I never talk about my struggles or failures publicly.
If I did, I'd be labeled NEGATIVE. WEAK. FEMALE.
All I ever show the public is the good. The strong. All I ever show you is what works.
But what about what's not working? What about my bad decisions? The risks I took that ended up disastrous?
What about the uncontrollable factors? What about the amount of times I've been discounted and disrespected for being female?
You only know about the great people in my life and career. They DO deserve praise.
You only know about my successes, because I brag about them on social media and in social and professional circles.
I never talk about the times I tried my hardest, did every thing right and still didn't get the gig, the contract or the experience.
What you don't know is that I've made terrible decisions and had to
fight to regain self-respect. What you don't know is that I've done THE WORK to regain that self-respect.
I carry load so heavy that I often forget I'm female...but eventually, the world reminds me I am.
I'm female and I can't pretend anymore that it doesn't work against me.
What you don't know is that I'm blown off, ignored, disrespected and patronized on a regular basis. I want to believe I can dispel the theory of the gender gap. But it's there. It exists. I am not the exception to the rule. It applies to me.
I'm a female. And that's always going to be the first thing they see. I've failed at being the exception to this rule.
I've been told I've gotten work in a male dominated field because I'm pretty. More than once.
I'm fully aware when a man takes a meeting with me based solely on my looks, and I'm painfully aware when he's not
listening to a word I'm saying, but staring at my chest. I've been called "honey" and "sweetheart" in professional settings more times than I can count. When someone is skeptical about my ability as a female, I can read them like book.
I've been told to settle. To just be grateful that I have the work, because "not many females get the chance to work in strength & conditioning".
I've been laughed at. TO. MY. FACE.
Here's what the next generation of girls need to know:
The world thinks you're fragile. And if you show them strength, they'll think something's wrong with you. They'll call you the B word and think you're "emotional" or "hormonal" when you get angry, frustrated and stand your ground.
People will be afraid to be honest with you, because they'll think you're sensitive.
When you get fed up, they'll pat you on the head and tell you to take a break.
If you get loud, they'll think you're unstable.
If you swear, they'll think you're crass.
They think you're going to break under pressure. They'll think you can't manage a million stresses at once.
GIRLS! The world wants you to play by THEIR rules. They want to keep you in a box.
You need to know this going in. You need to know that when men stand their ground, it's acceptable. But when women stand their ground, they're impatient and rude. When men voice disdain, they're honest. When women do, we're unreasonable/emotional/hormonal.
It's ok to have a voice when you're being disrespected and discounted. It's ok to walk away from situations that don't make sense. It's ok to go after what you believe in. But, those situations you believe in are going to be a fight. You're still going to have to stand your ground. Ask for what you deserve. Hold peoples feet to the fire, because trust me... people are NOT going to keep their word. BUT YOU ARE. You have no choice. The standard is higher for you. You will have to out-work everyone.
If you don't keep your word, you will be labeled unreliable. When men don't keep their word, it's because they had more pressing things to deal with and they get a pass.
It's reality. I don't like it. I believed once that I was an exception to this rule. That I had total control over outcomes. I was wrong. I don't. Because of that, I'm a failure.
You're going to want to quit when you realize the amount of working around you're going to have to do.
Not all failure and lost opportunity will come from being female. Let's make that clear. Sometimes, it will happen because you suck or did a terrible job. Being female is not to be used as a crutch despite the amount of failure and disappointment that comes just from being a female. It's not your excuse.
It's your super power.