On Facebook, I shared this image posted by Shades Magazine exactly 5 years today.
Why this strikes me as significant in this moment can only be explained by the following words by Steve Jobs:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
This year, all my dots are connecting, and the connecting process is accelerating even more. This is the year I begin to live my real purpose.
5 years ago, my life was a mess. On November 10, 2012, I was a single mom of a four-year-old and a nine-month-old, living in a bug-ridden half-basement apartment. I had no career, had very little self-awareness, and at 29, my world had come to an end. I could have never imagined that I am worthy enough that one day I could become a coach and speak about my experiences to help others.
Everything in my life, my past, all the milestone pain points, everything I stand for comes down to this: I’m in this life, and everything that has ever happened in my life was all because my purpose in life is to liberate women.
What I do is for my mother, the women in my life, my aunts, grandmothers, my daughter. The women in my life lived to sacrifice themselves for their family, their husbands. I would never allow my daughter to lead that life. Therefore, I must change. That was the driving force that made me do the scariest thing possible in my life, which was leaving my marriage.
Everything I am, everything I stand for is for the women and girls who create this world. After all, changing the world starts with a woman. A woman is the source of all men, of all people.
What do I mean by liberating women? Aren’t women already free? We vote, we work, we drive.
As women, more often than not, we settle, we don’t recognize our own values, and we give our power away. It happens in careers and at home. We squash our own dreams because we don’t feel worthy to live it. Even a loud, outspoken, high-achieving woman is susceptible to self-doubts that questions her feminity and authenticity, and these self-doubts and the need for approval become the core of her life problems. As progressive as we think we are, most women come from traditional homes, where our moms, aunts, grandmothers barely or never worked, and their main job was to be happily married and to take care of the family. Women are conditioned to put themselves in emotionally and financially vulnerable positions. We think we’re in charge, we’re so progressive, while quietly still playing out gender roles, making sure that we’re being liked, making sure everyone is happy, making sure that everyone around us is getting along.
When I say liberate, it’s far from burning bras, speaking crass, appearing nonchalant, wearing suits, and using bravado as a mask. True liberation is: deliberately crafting your way to get a raise or a promotion, and not feeling an inch of guilt or doubt. Taking over “man’s jobs” around the house, while allowing the men to take their responsibilities in communication, relationships, and emotions. Not chasing after problems and fixing problems, thinking, “Who else will do it?” Rather, strategizing on leveraging how to effectively solve the issue at the core. Rather than throwing ourselves to volunteering – yes, women are much more likely than men to trade volunteer time – design her life to seize a higher income and become a high-level contributor. When we as women stop undervaluing ourselves, undercharging ourselves, undermining ourselves, allowing ourselves to stop looking for approval everywhere else except for within ourselves, that’s when feminism is no longer an illusion that it is.
This is my purpose. And looking back, the dots were already connecting.