For the third and final installment of The Age of Bold: Women Gathering Courage, Wisdom and Strength, you are introduced to Laura (who, for the sake of her family’s privacy and safety, has chosen to omit her last name).
I’ve known Laura for fifteen years. I remember her as a spunky brown-eyed teen who told you exactly what she thought, and wore her heart on her sleeve. She had a way with words, an outlook that seemed to transcend her teenage years, and a tough attitude to go along with it. When I think of Laura I’m reminded of our youth, the way we were naïve, beautiful, crazy, vulnerable and with our entire future ahead.
Laura took charge of her future, and now that I know her as a woman and not a child, I believe that her story is subtly exceptional. She’s an everyday person with a meaningful story; an ordinary mother with exceptional love; and a typical military wife with deep courage. I believe she represents women as they really are: multi-dimensional, the backbone of their families, and finders of strength and courage even when times get rough.
This is her story in her own words:
It’s hard to say for certain when I realized my worth as a mother, wife, and woman. I think that I am still learning this, as every day and every year I change and grow. In my teens, I was awkward and bullied in school. In my early twenties (my first born was born when I was 21) I cared very much about my appearance and what others thought of me. I wanted to be accepted and to feel pretty. Due to all the bullying and growing up in an abusive household, I never did feel pretty. But here I am in my early thirties and I honestly enjoy this phase of my life better than my twenties. I am still critical and still greatly care about my appearance. However, the thought of wanting others to accept me is a lot less than it used to be.
I know my husband and kids accept me and that makes me feel beautiful. I know that my looks will fade as I age and, yes, it can be uncomfortable, but I live in the comfort in knowing that my heart is beautiful. I draw my worth through the ones I love. I look at the way I can make my children smile or laugh with a simple, effortless moment, the way they think I am super women or their protector (my nickname: momma bear). I gain strength from them thinking I’m fantastic. The way my husband looks at me with passion and love in his big, beautiful eyes…it strengthens me. I’m empowered because he trusts me to handle mostly anything he needs me to. It strengthens me to know that he feels comfort when he deploys because ” Momma’s got this!” When I am scared or feeling unsightly, I know I can talk to my husband or curl up in his big, strong arms and his words, touch or look builds strength within me.
Some may think it’s not very ” woman hear me roar” inspiring, but my inner force and beauty comes from the ones I love. I wouldn’t be me without them. They know I am not perfect or Super Woman. But, what they do know is that I am one of them, we are a team and I am perfect for them; that gives me the strength of ten men, and the beauty a goddess.
When I started my own cleaning business, I decided it was the easiest path being a military spouse. I had tried other types of jobs, but it never really satisfied my balance of work and family. Many employers were not always easy going with the fact I having kids, let alone being a military wife who is bound to move every few years. My business allows me to make my own hours, my own prices and still partake in my family’s lives. I can go to work after the kids go to school and be home before the kids and husband return. It allows me to have dinner ready, help around the house or volunteer at my kids’ school. I’m my own boss, I make the rules, and it feels great.
I thought about going back to school to finish my nursing degree, and I still plan to, but that is not suitable at this time. I think how nice it is to own my own business, make good money, and not owe thousands of dollars in student loans. For our lifestyle, being my own boss just made sense. It’s empowering to build up a business from the ground up, to see how successful it’s been, and how well it’s worked for our family. It’s empowering to financially help the family, to buy my husband a birthday gift he didn’t work for. Owning my own business reminds me how no one makes me choose my work over my family. I chose my family over my work.
I feel blessed and grateful and truth be told my husband deserves the praise. He’s always worked hard, and that hard work opened the door for my opportunities; from staying at home for 10 years, to the luxury of starting my own business. He gave me the tools and support that made all of that happen.
My many layers and strength come from those I love. When I’m long gone it is the ones I leave behind that will continue to carry a bit of me with them. As my favorite saying goes: we may not have it all together, but together we have it all, and that is empowerment!
A huge thank you to all three ladies. I feel honored and grateful that you’ve guest blogged on my site. Your stories are an inspiration to all women.
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