Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2017 is feminism, which is fitting on a global level. As I reflect on my personal life, it’s pretty fitting on a smaller scale for me as well. I was driving back from lunch with one of my friends and could not help but reflect on the impact women have had in my life this year.
I have, admittedly, always been one of those girls who got along better with boys when I was growing up. A combination of my home life, my tomboy attitude, and being bullied from a young age, my aggressive behavior resonated better with boys.
I had trouble connecting with other girls and would always find myself drawn to only one other girl who I thought was on the same page. That person usually encouraged me to be a lesser version of myself to build herself up.
Female competition in the workplace
I’m a bit of an overachiever.
I work hard. I always have. If something isn’t getting done, I’ve always been the one to be the team player and take charge when necessary to make sure it wasn’t reflected on to the customer when I worked in retail. I started my first job as a cashier at 16. In 6 months, I was moved up to the customer service desk and getting recognition for my hard work – which didn’t sit well with the older cashiers who had been there longer, just cruising by doing the bare minimum.
This continued in my professional journey as I grew older.
Women being competitive with each other in the workplace is not a unique phenomenon in my life. There have been countless articles written on this topic over the years. It’s almost ingrained in us at a young age in fairy tales like Snow White and fueled by the competitive nature of male-dominated industries.
In a world where there is an incredible gap when it comes to women in leadership, where we’re still not getting equal pay, and we’re battling harassment left & right, it’s no real surprise that this kind of competition still exists.
For me, it was another common thread in my life where I felt disconnected from other females.
A positive shift in female relationships
In the past few years, there’s been a significant shift in my personal life. For years, female friends (not so) subtly reinforced my belief that there’s something wrong with me.
Today, I find myself surrounded by strong women supporting me.
In both a personal and professional sense, I have women I can count on not to tear me down when I’m feeling weak, or worse, when I’m successful.
I have forged these incredible friendships with strong females that I didn’t meet until my late 20s/early 30s.
My 2017 was defined by fellow women entrepreneurs giving me a safe space to grow, opportunities to collaborate, and an abundance of encouragement.
In my personal life, I have an incredible group of women who are there for me every single day.
For the first time, I don’t feel like the outsider who just doesn’t get along with other women.
I am accepted, wholly, by other women who do not see me as a stepping stone or competition.
As individuals, we are strong as hell, dealing with shit our lives throw at us from all directions.
As a collective, we’re unstoppable, helping each other fill the cracks with gold when the rest of the world just wants us to shatter into pieces.
We do not thrive off of each other’s vulnerabilities.
We create a safe space for each other to be vulnerable and then act as reminders of our strengths.
So, as we enter into the new year, I encourage you to evaluate the relationships in your life.
Take it from this tomboy: It is possible to forge friendships with other females that aren’t riddled with catty drama.
You just have to be willing to cut the bullshit from your life.
I also touch on this topic and my friendships in my conversation with Renee on her Wild Cozy Truth podcast. If you missed it, you can listen to it here.