Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the lent season. For many, this is a time for reflection, fasting and abstinence. A time spent reflecting on our lives and looking at the things we would like to give up in order to achieve greater work-life balance.
The past few months of my life have been an eye opening experience. I have had to make a lot of adjustments. In a recent blog post, Beating Misogyny, I wrote a little about some of the challenges I have experienced as a single black mom raising a son with autism, while dominating the technology industry in the Caribbean.
As I start the process of reflection for myself, one of the things that is very clear to me, is that despite all the challenges I have been faced with, I have subconsciously made a decision to ensure that I get the things I want in life, without having to compromise my integrity, my self worth and most importantly; the boundaries of respect by others. And it is the only thing that has felt natural for me. So this lent season, I want to focus on ways I will continue to solidify what is most natural to me.
Letting Out The Crazy, After All… This is The Lent Season
Now before you run off thinking this is another ranting blog post by another crazy black woman, let me assure you it is not. This is quite the opposite. As a pioneer in the technology industry in the Caribbean, I have been subjected to my share of misogynistic attacks on my life, my business and livelihood. And I believe that every group with little representation goes through these challenges. It’s part of society’s mechanism to restore equilibrium and normalcy. At least that is the intent.
As a Certified Master Life Coach, I understand a lot of the confusion that can arouse in the minds of the people around me, when I do not act in a manner that communicates the same wants and desires of as that of my peers. It is easy for my behavior to lend the idea, that I might not want the same things. While this is not the case, miscommunication can often lead to unwanted attention, often times in the form of attacks designed to establish some level of normalcy within the confines of a social structure.
Understanding this, puts me in a position where I have to constantly and deliberately, readjust and refocus my attention on those solutions, that will uniquely get me what I want, while maintaining my position and boundaries as I interact with those around me. What I have experienced as a result, is consistent satisfaction.
So this lent season, I am re-committing myself to exercising my freedom to maintain the boundaries I have set for myself and at the same time, having my needs met. I was trying think of something less cliche, but this will have to do.
Over the past month, I have been under some pressure mainly in my business, as it relates to establishing my position in the industry. But before I continue, I would like to introduce myself.
About Me… I’m Not Gonna Say I’m Crazy, I’ll Just Let You Decide
For those of you who are new to my blog, my name is Tiffany Simpson and I am a Master Life Coach and Blogger here at TiffanySimpson.com. My journey began after my son was diagnosed with autism. It was during this challenge that I taught myself to create computer games and mobile apps to help my son overcome challenges with his speech and social skills. The results were amazing.
Today, my son is 10 years old and is the creator of The Games Space and an instructor at Coders Fun. There he teaches other children, like himself to create animation and 3D world games. Today, we help other entrepreneurs to overcome seemingly impossible challenges and build their dream legacy. If you would like to learn more about our journey, please visit my about page.
Being A Non-Conformist Can Be Tricky
It is often easy, especially as women, to want to conform to social standards of communication, because we have been instinctively taught that those attributes will get us the things we want in this life. Those things include and are not limited to:
- financial security
- physical security
- emotional security
Unfortunately, as a marginalized group, women are not empowered to provide all these things for themselves. And logically, you cannot have any one of them without the other. As a result, the ideal environment is created to maintain toxic patriarchy. Often times, what is manifested among women in a community, is an atmosphere of competition, strife and constant confusion. The more a woman needs any of the above securities, the more destructive she will become as a survival mechanism.
Now I am not saying this to degrade women in anyway, but to draw attention to how an environment can lead to specific behaviors that are then used as a stronghold for toxic masculinity, which is really a defense mechanism to mask feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.
For this reason, women who are strong and are dominating in a male-centered field are often subjected to harsh criticism (by other women) in areas of physical attributes or any other area where women tend to maintain a stronghold. These attacks are carefully designed to undermine that woman’s strong hold in the male dominated field and draw her attention away from her true strength and advantage. While this is not done by toxic men, it is fueled by them. This behavior often establishes a needy woman’s willingness to conform to societies standards in order to gain the security she could not otherwise establish for herself. These women are religiously recruited by toxic men as foot soldiers in maintaining toxic patriarchy.
Sadly, most women who say they are rebels or independent, are not. They are recipients of their position beside a man of power. And will surround themselves with other women who do not threaten their position beside that man. When they see a woman that would threaten that position, they go into attack mode, with one purpose in mind. DESTROY THE THREAT!
This is a learned behavior and has been taught to women through experiences and council of older women. The unfortunate outcome is that women become even more marginalized. And while women are filling more of the executive spaces globally, they can barely offer job security to the women within their immediate circle, let alone provide a solution to end violence against women.
A Different Kind of Hunger
This month, is also women’s month and of course a secret memo went out to queue the rape and killing of the young girls. Naturally, this is a way to re-enforce toxic patriarchy, during a time we should be celebrating women and their contribution to society. This type of violence against women will subconsciously re-enforce their fear of independence and expose their participation in executive spaces as being nothing more than a rubber stamp.
Yes, these executive spaces are just light and smoke. The women who have them, hold these positions dear to them as a thing to be envied. Fully knowing that that security is only an illusion. And it is the reason, my hunger is different. While I want the same things other women want; successful family life, it is important that I do not leave my security (physical, financial or otherwise) in the hands of toxic patriarchy to achieve it.
Lent Season – 40 Days To Victory
So this lent season, I have designed a 40 day plan designed to re-enforce those things that I want more of in my life. As I begin to fast and pray, I will share with you the steps and techniques I am putting into place.
It is my hope that my journey will inspire other women to embark on a journey of true freedom so that we can better protect ourselves and our children as we continue our fight to building our dream legacy.
Thanks for stopping by, if you are doing anything special for this lent season, please let me know in the comments below. I will talk to you again next week.