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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Being a Fearless Woman

Katrina is in her late 20's, graduated from college, and then decided she wanted to see the world rather than settle down with a career. She left for the Pacific Rim, traveling from country-to-country and doing odd jobs to get by. When she didn't come home for Christmas, her parents were aghast, even sending her a one-way airline ticket so she could fly home. Instead, Katrina used that airline ticket to fly to Paris and begin a new adventure in Europe.

She has now been doing this for over a year. On her own. With no boyfriend. With no girlfriend. And is surviving, and seems to be doing well.

I was amazed to hear about Katrina from her mother. This young woman didn't have any of the usual angst and fear that I had at that age. She wasn't concerned about getting raped, murdered, or even kidnapped. Her concern was more about missing an opportunity she would never have again, and took the leap and jumped.

When I was at that age, I had been raised to be afraid. In my culture, worrying was something we all did. We were afraid of the devil, people of color, the democrats, as well as being alone. Traveling alone as a female would never have been considered a possibility. Ever. It was beyond any consideration whatsoever.

Now that I am older and wiser, I'm rather surprised that back in the old days, we didn't even think to question what we were led to believe. We were groomed to fear being alone. We all expected to need a man by our side, and we would worry what would happen if we didn't have that. The back-up plan was to always huddle with a gaggle of girls. We learned to negatively judge and condemn any woman who was not with a man which fortified the belief if you are alone, you must be broken. Or evil. Or something was wrong with you.

Let me share an example of a woman named Marsha, who also grew up in that same culture. Marsha is in her 60's, retired, and has been a widow for about 20 years. She called to let me to know she went out to dinner ALONE, to a local restaurant - for the first time EVER! She didn't have a man with her. She didn't have a female posse with her, either. Nor did she have her children propping her up. She went to a restaurant, was seated, read the menu, ordered off the menu, was served and ate dinner. For her, she was engaged in an act of bravery - she was eating alone, for the first time, in public. This was her stepping out of her comfort zone- in her 60's.

She is just now, at this later stage in her life, exploring what it means to be alone and trying to discover who she really is and who she wants to be.

I find these two female examples of bravery rather inspiring. Taking a leap of faith and defying one's comfort zone is a big deal. It doesn't matter what age you are - it is hard! But the results can be the development of an inner strength you can't get any other way than by being tested and finding out what you are really made of.