self empowerment

FINDING MY COURAGE ON THE ROAD

Sometime during these last two years on the road, I became someone new. I left the United States a nervous, insecure person whose fear of failure eclipsed her desire for adventure, and now I find myself sitting in Australia applying for jobs out of my reach, taking the leap into becoming a full-fledged travel blogger, and loving myself. I do not know if the travel alone is what did it or if it was a combination of that, growing up and having the people in my life to support my growth, but somewhere along the way I found my courage.  My first memory of the slow break down of my fear of rejection was in Sweden, my first long term backpacking trip and my first time traveling solo. I had arrived in Sweden a couple of days earlier and was waiting for my friends to arrive to start my adventures....

THE THINGS THEY SHOULD HAVE TOLD US: POETRY SERIES

Versions of Beauty  Ladies,  please stop thinking that the only version  of beauty is plaster on billboards  and strung between the covers of magazines.     Your freckles?  They’re your own personal constellations.  Your love handles?  Just a little extra you to hold onto.   Your frizzy hair?  The lioness inside you struggling for freedom.    You are so much more than  what the world says you can be.  You are stunning,  inside and out.  Cherish the   boundlessness  of your beauty.     The Beauty in the Breakdown  Things fall apart. But that doesn’t mean they’re no longer beautiful. – WRDSMTH  Just because you are broken, does not mean you are not beautiful. In fact, you are beautiful because of your brokenness. Your beauty lies in the unique way you’ve fit your jagged edges back together t...

THE THINGS WE LEARN: POETRY SERIES

What We Hold  Girl, you’ve been selling your soul,  but have lost sight of the worth.     A dime bag  is not a rose offered  by trembling hands.  A quick bump  is not poetry scribbled over your skin  by nervous fingertips.  A shot of smack  is not a vow of devotion  whispered by love-chapped lips.    You’ve forgotten all the things  you were holding out for.  And now,  you have nothing left to hold.       What Happens to Girls  “Boys will be boys.”  But,   what happens to the girls?    We’re left behind –  tangled in dirty sheets and half  of our clothes,  or lying in the park with three-quarters   of our clothes shredded,  or in the morgue without   any clothes at all.     We’re left to pick up pieces  that should have never been broken  in the first place.   We’re...

JUICY CAMPUS QUEEN

Freshman year of college, I was the subject of a contentious feminist debate on my college campus. Remember the website Juicy Campus? (I know…this is going somewhere though) “Who is the biggest ball-busting feminist on campus?” Only one answer, “Meryl Duff,” sat in the replies. Yes, I was browsing Juicy Campus, and yes I found my name in the anonymous reply. My first thought was “Oh my God, people here know me?” and my second thought was “…as a ball-busting feminist?!” Now, after some intense self-reflection as to why I was even looking at the Juicy Campus website, I moved on to how people knew me as a “ball-busting feminist.” Was it “Penis Registration Day” or was it my argument of sexist language in my First Year Seminar? I guess I’ll never know, but I was both proud and slightly incredu...

WHAT IS TEFLON

I’m returning to school at the age of 56, the same year my father retired and moved to a golfing community. You would think that all of the little insecurities that troubled you and held you back in your twenties would be gone. I’m here to tell you, not so much. There are always new and improved anxieties to keep you occupied. When I was trying to pay for my first class of Graduate school this summer my account was put on hold until I had proof of immunizations. Specifically measles, mumps and rubella. I called the on campus health clinic in a panic. “I don’t have any proof,” I explained. “I’m old. My last vaccine was at the age of ten!” This did not deter the maniacally fastidious academic bureaucrat. I could go to a lab for $300.00, she informed me, and have blood drawn to test for titer...

THE ART OF BECOMING

As September rolls around, it is hard to avoid the feeling of newness—a new month, a new season, a new school year for some. The days get shorter and the trees begin to brown. It is a time to turn a new leaf (literally and figuratively). But, I have recently found it somewhat challenging trying to accommodate for this state of newness, and I would like to believe that others struggle with it too.   I am a college student transferring to a new school this fall, away from my friends, family and boyfriend. I graduated with an associate’s degree in English from my community college, but it was hardly easy. I come to my new school with three years of fumbling around, waiting tables, interning in a big city and developing and coping with a mood disorder—all of which have become how I define myse...

WON’T HOLD ME BACK

you weren’t the first,  and i’m sure you won’t be the last,  but you gave me no room   to be me;  always wanting the dream  not the reality—    you didn’t want my nightmares,  my dreams, or even me;  just a perfect model of a woman  whose silhouette would sit prettily in her cage  to be seen and not heard or sit   perfectly perched on her pedestal without  complaint and perfect restraint   of her tongue     i have never made a good mannequin   nor you a good god—    always trying to tame me, hedge me in, get rid  of my muchness you were the hand of society always  slapping me down as if i were some insect   to be crushed,  but my song like the cicadas will be heard;    my heart is wild, rebellious, and fierce and my dreams   burn brighter than the wings of the sun a...

A SMOOTHIE OF SELF-LOVE

In today’s world we find ourselves bombarded with information about how we should take care of our body; exercises, diets, types of foods, work out routines, etc. The number of people getting involved in a healthier lifestyle has definitely increased, some may do it just to get the “summer bod,” others may do it because they want a healthier lifestyle and some may just get dragged along into the fitness world; everybody has their reasons and that’s okay. Social media is constantly showing us the latest workouts, meal plans, workout guides, training tips, etc., which can be very overwhelming for any person who is just starting to get on board with a healthy lifestyle.   For this reason, I think it is important to share about the most effective diet, which I have started implemen...

WHAT DID I LEARN ABOUT MYSELF IN 30 YEARS

If you look back over the past 10 years and you recap all your desires, lists, prayers, dreams on sheets of paper and whispered plans just for the heart to hear, what would they say about you? This week I met an old friend, she was my first manager in the financial services industry. I haven’t seen her in almost 7 years. She decided to move to Brussels, but we kept in touch. Meeting her, I realized how much I changed since I met her 10 years ago. That’s what I learned about life. Coincidentally, yesterday – I read again about an old article about Victoria Beckham. Vogue Magazine had challenged her to write a letter to the 18-year-old Victoria, telling her everything she wanted to know about life in general and about things going on. It’s a great read that touches your sou...

DROP YOUR BUCKET

We were driving through Mbita, the village I’m in this summer, on a particularly rainy day. Through the rain, the traffic, and the chaos of the market on main street, I locked eyes with a little girl who was carrying what looked like a bucket of grain. She immediately smiled an, “I’m gonna get you,” smile, dropped her bucket, and broke into a full-on sprint, faster than what I ever would’ve assumed possible from such a small, barefoot child – in a dress I might add. Not wanting to attract attention, I quickly spun my head to face forward. The vehicle sped up, we were headed out of town. I smiled softly and thought maybe next time, kid. My mind moved onto other things as quickly as the vehicle did. I was thinking about my survey questions when out of my peripheral vision a small figure appe...

THE HALL OF SHAME

I was made to feel ashamed for being a girl when I was growing up. Torn between my Indian and British roots. I am today the lotus that blossomed from the misogynous muddy waters.  In cultures across the globe women are framed with shame in one way or another. Shame comes in many forms. Labelling, belittling, disrespecting, insulting, abusing or just holding negative attitudes. Women in the west are not impervious to be made to feel ashamed. For example, menstruation is still so stigmatised. In some Asian cultures (not mine), girls are celebrated and showered with gifts for being fertile. However, here women hide tampons and sanitary towels, dodging every eye in sight like a ninja. Breastfeeding is another taboo. Women are also criticised for aging or putting on weight. Letting that saggy s...

MURPHY’S LAW

Murphy’s Law states, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” My life as of late has been a living example of Murphy’s Law. Ever feel like that? This article could be of use to you. I’ll start with saying that I’m lucky. I’m genuinely lucky because I’ve had grandparents and parents who have pushed me (although kicking and screaming at times) to get a college education. They pushed me to work when I turned 16 and pushed me to “never quit” and “stick the team out until the end of the season”. They even pushed me to shoot for my dreams of pursuing the production industry even though I know they winced at the thought of “freelance”. Aside from all that luck, education and pushing from loved ones, I’m still finding myself stuck in Murphy’s Law. I’m so stuck that I’ve been without a steady j...

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