For as long as I can remember, I have tried to follow the “right” path and take all the “right” steps. I took school (very) seriously. Never got in trouble. Filled my plate with extracurriculars. Everything society tells you is important was important to me. Maybe too important. This led to a lot of accomplishments but concurrently, a life of anxiety and stress…and not necessarily happiness.
I kept myself busy, always going, always moving forward to the next thing – college (4 years), grad school (4 years), then the next logical step, pursuing licensure…another 2 years minimum. Passions of mine like dance and theatre got pushed aside because they weren’t realistic options and the opportunities weren’t there where I grew up in Florida. Plus, I was good at school.
Upon graduating with my M.A., I was offered an incredible full-time job at Rollins College, my alma mater and dream school. No way I could pass that up. Additionally, I was offered part-time work at my counseling supervisor’s private practice where I could begin accumulating hours toward licensure with supervision included. I’d be crazy to pass that up, right? And just like that, my schedule consisted of a 8:30am-5:00pm full-time job, rushing to see clients at the private practice (almost running over Paul McCartney but that’s a story for another time) from 5:30-9:00pm, shower, maybe an hour tops to unwind…and up early for 7:00am boot camp if I wanted to get a workout in.
It was too much. But I had essentially been working like this since birth. Told that hard works pay off. But when? I had a lot going for me but I was not happy and started to question what I was even working toward anymore. Lost site of my end goal. Pushing forward without asking questions had just become second nature. When I finally stopped to breathe and ask the big questions, it dawned on me…life is short. I didn’t want to get stuck. We only have one life to live and I wanted to fully experience mine.
I started thinking about where else it might be exciting to live. Apart from a small stint in London for a semester study abroad in college and that time my family almost moved to Belgium when I was 8, I’d never lived anywhere other than Florida. I didn’t want to live a life with regrets, never knowing what could have been. That sounded much worse to me than any alternative so, I leapt. I gave notice at my jobs, cleared out the apartment I’d lived in for 10 years (including all the awards I’d racked up and thought were so important over the years), packed up my (small) car with whatever I could fit, and drove to NYC, without a place, without a job, without knowing anyone there. And it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
I made the move with a lot of unanswered questions and blanks to fill in (and spoiler alert, though I don’t want to say too much because there’s a whole book on this to come) but it all came together, one day, one step at a time. I’d be lying if I said it was easy. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life and I experienced all of the stages and emotions but it was worth all of the blood, sweat, and tears. People will think you’re crazy. You will start to think you’re crazy. But don’t let that stop you. Grab ahold of your life strongly with both hands. It’s about more than your job, your house, your car, your possessions. None of it means anything if your quality of life isn’t there. Is something missing? It’s never too late. Sure, it’s scary. I get it. But that’s half the fun. You will figure it out, I promise.
Angela is an actor and influencer in NYC. She graduated with her B.A. in Psychology and her M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. Angela toured the U.S. as bassist and vocalist for alternative rock band SMB Project and is passionate about advocacy and activism. She is a lover of fitness, music, the beach, breakfast, traveling, and thrift store shopping. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @angelabelcamino
The Biggest Misconception About (un)Successful Women
We are powerful.
We are CEOs and investors.
We are mothers, daughters and wives.
We are breadwinners.
And best friends.
We are bitches and bosses, and all in between.
We’ve seen the top. We are the top.
But… are we enough to the patriarchy or, maybe, just a little too much?
Are we even… here?
When Simone de Beauvoir uttered one among many of her famous lines, quoting “One is not born a woman, but becomes one”, she probably didn’t have the current gender dynamics envisioned. We’ll assume she’d be extremely proud of all that we’ve achieved but at the same time saddened by the prejudice we are still actively facing (maybe now even more so than ever). We are bleeding injustice with every inch of our beings but we’ve grown skillful in hiding the scars. After all, isn’t that what we’ve been doing for the most part, all this time? Hiding the fact we’re still flesh and blood so that the clever patriarchy doesn’t get the idea to eat us alive? Yes, yes we have. And yet, you are scared. You are scared – we’ll be the first ones to eat YOU alive. And, you are probably right – we’ve already taken the first bite.
Nah, just kiddin’.
Raw Emotion And Thought
“For mad I may be, but I will never be convenient.”
― Jennifer Donnelly, Revolution
It’s a contradiction, really – this whole gender thing. What we are currently living isn’t feminism in its absolute… it’s an active oppression of female role in the male-run society.
The core of every healthy feminist approach isn’t to be better than the man, fear the man or prove the man wrong. It certainly isn’t to exhaust yourself to a point you’ll be your own demise just to prove yourself worthy to a society that doesn’t – and may never – see you as worthy. The core concept of feminism is equality. Equality in emotion, thought and opportunity. Equality in living and breathing, and fighting the same battles as men, the battles that bless you with a certain social standing, a chance at life you dream of and love you hope to find. It isn’t necessarily about women chopping woods or men wearing eyeliners, either. It’s about the possibility and the opportunity to choose. To choose life, in all its beauty. To live freely and speak – unprejudiced or judged. To be respected for your thoughts, not your genitals. To be a person, not a weak gender link. Understand this: we never aimed to beat you at anything. What’ve always wanted was to just play alongside with you.
A Woman Is A Woman Is A Woman
“Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.”
– Clare Boothe Lucе
The trick with feminism these days is that the (subliminal) message has already been launched into the microcosm and there’s no turning back. The message reads: WE CAN DO IT ALL ALONE. The truth is, we can and we cannot. And, when we can – why would we? Why is it upon a woman to take on a role of both her gender and the (supposedly) “stronger” gender, and exhaust herself to illness in the process? If we’ve grown as powerful as we have, don’t we deserve the same treatment as the opposite sex? We should, but we don’t. We have taken upon us to be everything a “typical woman is” and upgraded it to everything a “typical man is”. Combine the two and you are getting a woman who is making you millions but still keeps the household together.
To a woman or man, facing such huge burden and responsibilities every single day isn’t a normal state of things – and it shouldn’t be. It is in human nature to get tired but then decompress in order to avoid mental and emotional exhaustion and cracking. Aren’t you tired? Because we are. Tired of chasing pavements and proving ourselves worthy. Tired of having to be (too) capable – and still be judged for it. We are tired of having to invest double the effort to get that “man’s job” when you know we’re a better fit for it. If we’re (too) strong, we’re cold. If we’re (too) weak, we’re despicable… or, well, women. But, don’t you think it’s time that changed? Isn’t it time this gender charade stopped and we all realized we are on the same side? Life is to be shared, so – let’s share it. I ask the recognized psychologists in Sydney for a professional opinion, and they’ll tell you the same thing we will: the strongest of people are those seeking for help. Here we are, reaching out – to you – in hope to stop framing us into a prejudice but love us for the strength we carry within.
The Weak Link
“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.”
– Katharine Hepburn
With the current state of things, everyone’s confused. Men have gotten absolutely mortified as to what their roles have now come to and women have been killing themselves trying to explain the overall foolhardiness of gender-role division in the first place.
Men are no longer sole providers or husbands whose income conditions their partner’s lives. They are no longer needed to change the bulb, fix the boiler or bring food to the table. Women can do all that, alone. Or – when they can’t or won’t – they’ll pay for it to be done. In a technical sense of a word, it’s become evident that men have grown obsolete. This, along with plenty of other facts, brought about a very unsettling climate – not only in terms of gender roles but relationships altogether. We get it: you don’t know where you stand, so you attack. But, listen to this: while we no longer need you to change the bulb, we do need you to love us, give us families and share our happiness – just as much as you need us to do the same for you.
The Equal Infinity
Here’s an idea: instead of judging us, support us. Embrace our strength and turn it into your advantage. Don’t be scared we’ll love you less if we earn more, because we won’t. We’ll love and appreciate you for having chosen a strong woman over your (strong) ego. Work with us, not against us. We’re not your enemies; we’re your partners (in crime), your support when you fail, and your home to come to at the end of a (hard) day. We are the people that jump in to replace you when you need some time off. We, as strong as we are, are the reason you can sleep rested at night, knowing your home will never be without an income. Growing this strong we’ve made your lives easier, don’t you get it? You can finally just… be, be liberated of the expectations the society has burdened YOU with, too. So, let just be for a second, together and united. We are on the same side. We are one.
Isabel F. William Body&Mind Balance Consultant. Lover of literature and philosophy, runner, and Tai Chi master. She believes that sometimes it is just enough to enjoy a really good book, smooth jazz and a cup of coffee to travel somewhere else. Web: www.ripped.me E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/Isabel_FWilliam Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/isabel.william.98 Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/isabelfwilliam/
Meet She Is Fierce! & Lift U Expert Mentor Debbie Powers. Debbie grew up in Indiana in the ‘50s and ‘60s as a gifted athlete with an unrelenting passion for sports. She mastered her skills on the playgrounds against boys because there were no teams for girls. Playing basketball at Indiana University finally gave her a taste of organized competition, but also exposed her to the glaring inequities between men’s and women’s sports. Debbie shares her story as an athlete, an author and a professional speaker and how she inspires and empowers young women to persevere and reject discrimination.
Here are some great tidbits from the Podcast…
- Debbie shares the social climate of how she grew up in the 1950’s and that her former expectations were that if she wanted to be an athlete she would never date or marry. (3:15-4:54)
- Debbie talks about her memoir, “Meeting her Match” based on her coaching experience of her girls volleyball team playing against boys and how they WON! Debbie describes this experience as one of the most “Unprecedented, unforgettable athletic experiences of her life.” (13:35-14:28)
- The author talks about not wanting her memoir to be a “woe is me” story, rather one of empowerment, persistence, determination and love what you do for other women to look to. (23:40-24:05)
- The advice she shares as one of her most important tips as an athlete is “never give up, but also you can reinvent yourself and use your history to empower others.” (34:12-34:36)
- The final tip Debbie shares is not to live in the past, but rather to learn from it. (35:20-35:45)
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Meet Illiana Raia, lawyer, lecturer and founder of ‘Être’ – a site and movement providing resources to girls helping to build their confidence and futures. Être means “to be” in French. Illiana works to connect young girls with accomplished, professional women who serve as part mentor, part big sister. When Illiana’s daughter was in grade school, Illiana was interested in hosting a one-day wisdom summit in her home for her daughter and her friends before they headed off to high school. The summit did not take place simply due to busy schedules, but instead grew into a new idea to build a power network and forum that would soon become Être. The idea remains the same. Young girls build confidence and gain insight and inspiration from powerful female role models, women playing at the top of their game.
Illiana shares the story of her mission driven organization helping young girls find out who they want to be.
Here are some great tidbits form the Podcast…
- Illiana discovered that so many younger girls become embarrassed regarding their authentic interest and abilities, so she has become inspired to provide a bridge between those girls and their passions, that they might be both happy and brave. (6:00-7:27)
- Illiana references her background which is really how the website came to be – “Knowledge strategy for girls is simply highlighting resources they don’t know exist in order that they may build their interest.” (15:00-16:10)
- In regards to women contemplating “taking a leap” Illiana says that sometimes breathing room can allow us to make change, “if you continue coming back to something, do it!!” (20:40-21:31)
- So often nowadays young girls even though they may feel smart deep down, they think it is boasting to say so outloud – this is the reason Illiana thought she would highlight successful women who talk about knowing they were smart early on. (26:50-27:38)
- Fear can provide such teachable moments… nobody likes to fail and it is certainly hard to watch our children fail. However, so often success is a lousy teacher and knowing there is value and in taking risk. (36:30-37:11)
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Watch Marsha Oliver share the story of how she overcame obstacles, kept moving and rose in her career as a single mom… from our Jacksonville Chapter Launch Party!
Meet Dawn Wallace, mother, photographer, and owner of Daybreak Photo Co. Dawn is a free-spirited, adventure-seeker with a unique and extensive resume. Dawn has spent time studying marine biology, driving trucks, and has spent her fair share of time in the sky as a flight attendant. Dawn now resides in sunny Florida where she has launched Daybreak Photo Co. She is living the life of her dreams, photographing love (weddings + engagements) with her husband, second shooter, and business partner, Brad!
You’ve done a little bit of everything, from studying marine biology, becoming a truck driver, a counselor to a flight attendant. What called you to launch Daybreak Photo Co.?
It’s funny because I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. I mean, yeah, I started the sticker club when I was 10 but that’s a different story. When you ask about a ‘calling’, it’s such a weighty question because it’s truly something you have to think about and something we spend most of our life trying to figure out. I was called into this by my desire and passion to seek out what I was put on this planet to do. It’s also a means to provide for my family so if I knew I could do that and get to creatively express how I view the world and people…just how lovely they are, then I was moving into that ‘something’ more that I wanted. So it’s more of ‘who’ was calling me into photography than ‘what’:)
What is the biggest lesson you learned in launching your own business?
I learned very quickly that it doesn’t just HAPPEN. It’s not an instant gratification field of work. You have to work for it and you have to learn and network and surround yourself with encouraging people. I didn’t go to school for photography so I definitely was learning from scratch. I thought by picking up a camera and starting a My Space business account, I was a photographer. There’s so much more to it.
What was the best piece of business advice you were ever given?
I’ll tell you the advice and then proceed to tell you that I haven’t followed it well. It’s something that sticks with me often. One of my favorite photographers in Atlanta,GA once told me that she didn’t look at anyone else’s work. I was in shock because I was asking her if she knew certain photographers and their work? It took me back at first but now I get it. I’m sure she didn’t mean she never looks at colleague’s work but it was more of a….I don’t sit there and compare myself to other photographers. It’s such an easy thing to do with other artists. If they don’t inspire you and the wrong thought comes to your head, “Why isn’t my work like theirs? What could I do better?” then don’t follow them and learn to change our mindsets. Learn to appreciate each other’s talents and move on from there. The comparison trap is a real thing and it’s exactly that, a trap.
What are some of your biggest successes you have experienced?
In work: Published in Celebration Society magazine, Old City Life, and Jacksonville Magazine
Traveled for destination weddings(this year we get to go to Italy)
My work has been in several blogs including “Style Me Pretty” and “Martha Stewart Weddings”
I count every family and couple a success.
In life: Married my miracle, birthed 2 more miracles and living in my dream city.
Success to me is more about daily living than awards and tangible rewards.
Along with running Daybreak Photo Co., you’re a wife, and a mother of two! How do you find a healthy balance with a busy schedule?
I always tease and say there is no such thing as ‘balance.’ I do not have it all together so don’t be fooled. I’m all about honesty and raw and real moments and I can say my house is a mess most of the time; I’m wearing yoga pants and t-shirts during the week and you’ll find me dealing with the work life-mom life balance often. It’s a hard one. I DON’T have it all figured out and I want other mompreneurs to know that’s ok. I wish I could say I was such a good planner and had rigid schedules and frozen meals ready for the crockpot. I drink a lot of coffee(especially Kookaburra), work late hours, and try to eat good foods but the struggle is real. I will say having a community of uplifting mom friends and mompreneurs has really helped since we moved to St. Augustine and most importantly, my Jesus who keeps me grounded when I’m seeking peace.
What advice would you give to other women who are pursuing their passions?
Everything is a season. Don’t give up when you have one setback or failure. Also, passions take time…they need nurturing and time to grow. I think one of the most important lessons I learned while working a desk job I despised for 2 years(8-5) was that I needed to learn contentment in that moment because in the ‘transition’ period, in the ‘muck and mire’ is where we usually learn the most and grow our faith so we can pursue and persevere.
Have fun and most importantly, perfection is not what we’re going for. The strive for passion will often leave you flat on your face so strive for passion…strive for your best and that’s all that should matter.
What is your personal or professional motto and how do you apply it to your life?
“Fall seven times; stand up eight.”
“There is no fear in love but perfect love drives out fear.” I John 4:18
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
These are all things I struggle with so they are daily reminders of where my mind should be in order to experience joy at all levels in my life.