I Just Found Out I am a Woman…

I don’t know exactly where I realized it. It was somewhere along the way. Definitely not while I was raising four children, working and getting my degrees. I was too busy then… I would have never noticed.

The opportunities appeared as if they were the yellow-brick road to Oz. I am in retail? I think I want something more secure. I will be a US letter carrier. I loved working in my children’s school? I will become a teacher. I need a teaching job? Stop in and tell them you are the best and get the job. I am moving across country? I will teach 5th grade overflow, gifted and talented and wait tables to make it work. I want to be a school principal? I need a Masters Degree. I love the work? I think I will continue with my PhD. I need to relocate to another state? Sure, I will move to the private sector and develop an international corporate university. I want to coach and consult with external clients? I chase that dream… It is all a blur of passion and opportunity … a series of natural next steps.

But somewhere along the way I realized that I am just a woman. It was subtle. I can’t remember the first glimpse into my limitations. Was it the first time I was focused and insistent as a leader? It might have been – we know that isn’t what good women do. Or was it when I had an idea? It might have been. Could it have been when I chose to work in male dominated industries? It may have been an influence but not the impetus – I can’t separate feeling valued by some and not by others.

For now – I have never felt my womanhood more. Is it an awakening to a reality that was always present? Is it real or perceived? I know that it is rooted in my passion to work with women leaders. The desire to fuse those of us that are ‘aging out’ with the newer version sporting piercings and tattoos. I want to bond with those that are like me and lead for those that are yet to come. Could I have gotten here if I hadn’t accessed this deeper understanding?

I have discovered my womanhood. I understand where I will flourish and where I will meet oppression. I encourage all of us to push on and push through. I can validate that the journey is real and riddled with ambiguity, but worth it. I am blessed – you will be too. Stay the course – be awakened and yet inspired – embrace your world – be thoughtful – realize what it means to be a woman…

Shirley Ramos is a principal at Dirty Girls Consulting, with a deep understanding that life is ‘messy’.  DGC is about real women with a story supporting and empowering other ‘real’ women to be the best that they can be. Women work differently, think differently, and it is up to us to develop this difference into  our strength. We explore breaking free of traditional standards, accomplishing professional and personal goals to create an authentic, fully loved life. Read more Dirty Girl Consulting blogs here. 


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