Female Sheepdogs; Part 1 of a series on being a Sheepdog from a woman’s perspective, written by an experienced female Sheepdog.
It’s no secret that being a modern woman means fulfilling an overwhelming number of roles and meeting an ever-growing number of expectations. So it’s no surprise that our social media feeds and of course our internal dialogue tends to be reflective of that. If others caught a glimpse, they’d see everything from makeup tutorials to parenting advice, recipes to political rants, and ads for everything from the latest “bohemian chic” footwear to those ingenious concealed carry yoga pants.
We carry what feels like the weight of the world on our shoulders. We’re expected to have the physique of a Victoria’s Secret model, the workout routine of an Olympian athlete, Rachel Ray’s cooking skills, Ivanka’s business savvy, Mother Theresa’s selflessness, and the Kardashian’s beauty routine. All while running a gluten-free, all organic, chemical free, perfectly spotless, home and raising socially and economically responsible, independent, confident, moral, well-rounded children who won’t be living in your basement 20 years from now.
Although you likely still feel the pressure, I hope you’ve dismissed the majority of these of these “standards” as ridiculous. Most likely you’ve prioritized your time and energy for the aspects of being a woman that bring you the most fulfillment. Whether that’s being an awesome full-time mother, earning your PhD, dominating your professional field, running marathons, or just being generally capable in a variety skills unique to you.
In the midst of the daily struggle to prioritize your goals and filter through the expectations, you’ve probably spent a great deal of time considering your actual responsibilities. Regardless of our lifestyle or profession, we’ve all got them. The responsibility to pay bills on time, to take care of our physical and mental health, to follow laws, to care for families, etc. However, unless your profession requires it of you, you might not have considered your responsibility to capably defend yourself and others.
The reality is if we are not prepared to defend ourselves or those we love when a threat presents itself, we inadvertently rob ourselves of the opportunity to follow our chosen life path and fulfill our responsibilities. As a woman, leaving behind the comfort and false security of the flock and taking steps to become a sheepdog can be intimidating. But ultimately, it is one of the most crucial and empowering decisions you can make for yourself.
Like all worthwhile endeavors it takes hard work, commitment, and time. Most importantly, it requires a shift in mindset. A resolve to abandon the victim and by-stander mentalities in favor of a proactive one. It starts with firmly telling the loitering creep at the 7 Eleven that his unsolicited comment about your physique is both unappreciated and unacceptable, rather than avoiding eye contact and rushing nervously past; taking time to practice your draw from those awesome concealed carry yoga pants; taking the time to learn a few simple grip breaks and practicing them with a friend or significant other; or taking a local course to learn CPR.
It starts by simply stepping away from the fold. -SBJ