The Myth of “Killing it” and Being A Boss-Lady

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Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

We’ve all heard the term “Girl-Boss” or “Boss-Lady,” being thrown around by men and women in our modern society. So what is a Girl-Boss or Boss-Lady? I haven’t looked up the meaning online, because I’m sure there are many different variations of definitions out there and they particularly aren’t terms that I can find in the Webster’s Dictionary. So, I’ll do my best to describe what I think these terms mean from what I’ve gathered from friends, coworkers, strangers, and the media.

Girl-Boss is a female that doesn’t take shit from anyone. She is a power-house and typically is the CEO of her own life and in her career. She probably owns her own successful business. She is a career woman for sure. Most men are intimidated by her power and high prestige in the working world.

Boss-Lady is a female that also doesn’t take shit from anyone. She is more mature than a Girl-Boss. She probably has a family of her own and whether if she is a single mom or a married woman, her capability of exceeding far beyond what is normal in balancing her family, career, and physical fitness life is off the charts! She basically does it all and does it extremely well.

Yeah…as much as I LOVE these terms for us females out there, I also think they put too much pressure on us to live up to an unrealistic pedestal that will eventually leave us cold and dry if we try to reach it.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Women have suffered for so many centuries to find our place out of second citizenry, to find our voice in the real working world, and climb up the ranks to big black swivel leather chairs that only men have been able to sit on for…centuries! The idea, notion, and expectations we have put on these Boss Female terms don’t truly exist, but I do understand why we needed to make them up because of our cohesive understanding of the oppression we have had to face because of our sex.

The truth is, women have a lot of roles in life that aren’t compensated with dollar bills and many of the things we do on the daily can be given a career title such as Professional Nanny or Babysitter, Professional Maid, Michelin Star Chef (okay, maybe some of us), Professional Organizer, House Manager, Personal Assistant, Interior Designer, and the list goes on. Please don’t misunderstand. I have met stay home moms that are super successful – I mean, they have done an extraordinary job that is not for the faint of heart. You just have to look at their children to know that she is a woman of success. And if anything, I think they should be paid for their hard work and society in general should respect them! I also think men help us ladies out tremendously in housekeeping and child-rearing duties, especially in these modern times where the societal climate has forcibly challenged them to think and act differently. However, there are just some things that women can do that men cannot and there are just some things women will always be expected to do and those insidious damaging expectations will come from society, men, and even women themselves.

I feel like women have a lot of pressure in this modern age, because we THANKFULLY have the luxury and more freedom than ever to pursue the careers our heart’s desire, but we also are bound to our natural feminine instincts of nurture and care which juxtaposes what is needed in the working world to succeed. And I believe women out there feel it…I can’t be the only one. I remember in the early 2000s, there was a rise in female authors that wrote books on women “doing it all and succeeding.” For example, Susie-Q here is a CEO of her own E-Commerce business, juggles rearing 3 beautiful and well-adjusted children, attends to her husband’s needs, and also EVEN finds time in her busy schedule to be a PTA mom and leads the volunteer program at the local homeless shelter. Yeah…FALSE! And because of all these types of definitions of what a pro-woman should be and books on how to do it all, I notice in myself and other women feeling like they aren’t making the bar, aka falling short. So…I really can’t be like Jessica Alba who owns Honest Company, raises her own kids with very little help from the nanny, works professionally as an A-list Actress, and has a healthy functioning marriage with handsome husband number one?

Let’s get real for a second. Let’s get more compassionate and kind to ourselves as women and what is expected of us.

Truth is…a part of me desires to be a Girl-Boss or a Boss-Lady. Someone who has incredibly thick skin like a Rhinoceros from 50 billion years ago (that leather has had time to wise up and get hard, yeah!), who delegates her tasks at work because she fuckin’ can, she’s the boss, who has beautiful children that she raised on her own with very little help (no nannies here!), who is present around her husband and tends to his needs, and again…who has enough extra time to be on a committee of some swanky organization that elevates her social status around her peers and nosy neighbors AND volunteers regularly at an anti-bullying non-profit just to show that yes…she’s been there, a victim of bullying, but now she is a Boss-Lady and so can you!

But I can’t do it all myself and I shouldn’t expect myself to and nor should you. Putting unrealistic expectations on yourself and making an absurd timeline for your life on when and how you are to succeed in every aspect of your life can only make one go insane. Better yet, unhappy and unnecessarily unkind to yourself. You don’t have to be hard on yourself. You are amazing. You’re wonderful. God made you. He made you perfect. You’re (place your name here). Now, go free!

Instead of buying into societal expectations and definitions of what a woman should be and how she should succeed, I decided to just let myself define what success is for me. Maya Angelou always said it best (one of my favorite poets)…

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Right now, I’m in transition and I think I will be for a long time, because I have a few lessons to learn – oh boy, my soul knows it and I’m ready for the ride. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’re aware that I left a career I was in for the last 9 to 10 years, that literally sucked the soul out of me. Since then, I told myself, I’d “take 5.” Yes, take 5…meaning take a break.” Take 5 is a program that some girl made up on YouTube (who also left the same career as mine for similar and different reasons), that consist of focusing on 5 areas that need “reclaiming,” because “something” (for some it’s a soul-sucking career, for others it’s a toxic relationship, and for others…well you get the drift) took it away. The 5 areas include: Body, mind, soul, spirit, and heart. She didn’t really explain what each area entailed, but she inspired me to go on the “take 5 band wagon.” Here are my thoughts of what each area means:

  • Body includes obviously anything related to making your body healthy…what you ingest, what you put on (products and clothing), and exercise.
  • Mind includes disciplining yourself, therapy, controlling your emotions, educating yourself in a topic you enjoy, basically keeping your mind sharp and healthy (improving your mental-health).
  • Soul includes doing activities that makes your soul happy AF and at peace. This can be a variety of things specific to the individual (i.e. painting, singing, dancing, yoga, etc).
  • Spirit includes a religious practice, meditation, praying to your God, saying positive affirmations aloud in the morning to yourself (words are powerful – they are energy and real matter that alter your physical reality).
  • Heart includes practicing kindness and compassion to yourself and others, accepting difficult emotions and learning healthy ways to move through and past them, immersing and giving yourself permission to do what you’re passionate about.

I tend to be a slow learner. I process things really slowly, because I FEEL everything – I’m an artist and a sensitive beast, much to my liking. I move through each phase, emotion, and season of my life…well, at a snail’s pace – which sucks for someone who is impatient but I think it’s a good thing too, because once I learn something, it sticks like a tongue to a frozen pole. When I first decided to take-5, I imagined myself focusing on one area each month and calling it a day after I reached 5 months. Wrong! I quickly realized this is a life-long journey, but just for the sake of this “season of transition,”…so I can actually measure my progress, I have decided to give more precedence to one area for 8 months to a year while working on all areas consecutively.

I’m on Body right now. I started working out at a Studio that teaches the Lagree Fitness Method. It’s basically a workout that is inspired by Pilates, but it’s like Pilates on steroids and I LOVE it. It engages my mind, makes it strong, and obviously makes my body strong too. It’s a low-impact exercise so there is very little chance of injury. However, my body was not aligned going into this Body season due to some trauma and injuries I had inquired as a Nurse. My left ankle was jacked up because I fell down the stairs at the hospital one work day. I remember that day CLEARLY. I was getting off of a 12 hour shift and I was feeling really sorry for myself because I hated my career, felt stuck, and was extremely sleep deprived. Four months later, my healed ankle sprained itself again while running on uneven pavement. The ankle was just weak from all the reoccurring injuries, which then fucked up my right hip because my body was compensating itself so it could  walk upright and hold myself up properly. Also, it’s scientifically proven that your body stores trauma – tight muscles, tense nerves, etc…hence why after a really good workout, some people cry. And after 9 to 10 years being a nurse, seeing children really sick and some of them die (my first week as a nurse I took care of a newly born baby with a genetic disorder called Trisomy 13, that only gave him a few days to live…he died in his mother’s arm)…and having to deal with it the best I could, I stored a lot of tension in my body that I wasn’t aware of. Wherever you are little man, I hope you are at peace. I’m finally processing it the way I should have years ago.

Anyway, as I was hitting it hard off the bat doing Lagree, I managed to pull my right hip flexor muscle. The day I strained it, I knew I wasn’t listening to my body and was overdoing it. I was just too excited about reclaiming my body back that I went too fast and as the old adage claims…too fast, too soon, no good. The old adage is truth. So I took 2 weeks off to rest and I’m feeling much better. I introduced exercises that I could do at the comfort of my own home that strengthens your hips and actually is proven to prevent injuries from repetitive workout movements. Here they are:

  • Glute Bridges
  • Wall Squats
  • Forearm Planks
  • Dead Bugs

Do these every other day, and you’ll strengthen not only your hips but the muscles that surround and are connected to your hips. Basically and hopefully, these exercises will prevent you from being the 1 out of 4 Americans that have to get a hip replacement when they reach older age. Did you know that a sedentary lifestyle and having a job that requires you to sit most of the time, weakens your hips!!

Anyway, so after re-assessing how to go about “Body” in the Take-5 Program…I realized I’ll give myself 8 months to a year to get back in shape, the right way. Also, once I have reached my goal, I am highly thinking about becoming a Lagree Instructor. I’ve inquired about it and it’s definitely something I see myself doing, as I have a dance background, I love teaching, and I like the environment this studio fosters – one where women are uplifting and encouraging each other. I also found a job working the front desk at a Lagree Studio while I finish school.

So yeah…Girl-Boss in the making? Not quite. Instead, I’m creating the person and woman I want to be one small step at a time and I’m no Boss, as least not yet…but I am freakin’ awesome!

XOXO,

Steph

 

 

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