“I walked with purpose. I hadn’t a clue where I was headed, but I couldn’t afford any hesitation that marked me as weak.”
Benedict, M. (2018). Carnegie’s Maid a novel. Sourcebooks Landmark.
THE MEAT (The Main Idea)
Our quote, sourced from the work of the talented author Marie Benedict in Carnegie's Maid, is a testament to her exceptional talent for unveiling the hidden strength of women often overlooked in history. Through her books, Benedict shines a brilliant light on the unsung heroines who operate from the shadows, crafting and shaping the destinies of powerful individuals. These women, though concealed from the spotlight, are the true architects of greatness, their contributions often lost to the pages of history.
But this quote is more than just words on a page; it is a powerful reminder that echoes across countless women who have ventured into workplaces with unwavering determination and ambition. For one moment, insert the realization that despite earning their positions, their voices and intellects were not always equally invited into the room. Yet, they pressed forward with an unyielding facade of confidence, understanding that each step was a stride toward progress. It is a silent testament to the collective experience of women who confront challenges and biases in male-dominated environments.
ALERT: Now, for those who sense this narrative as distinctly feminist, we invite you to dive straight into "The Olives" section, where an unexpected twist awaits.
THE CHEESE (Added Depth)
If you would allow me a quick personal story for the premise of the Cheese. My mother often recounts how she became a secretary. In her time, her father presented her with a limited menu of career options: teacher, nurse, or administrative assistant. It was a story all too familiar to many women of her generation. The message was, "These are jobs women can handle," coming from my mother's father. What's even sadder is that many women believed this narrative. They knew that choosing any of these paths was just the beginning. One day, the full-time job of mother and wife would be added on top of whatever they chose.
Now let's jump to women who defied expectations, like Reshma Saujani, a lawyer and former deputy public advocate of New York City. She once visited schools and was struck by the glaring underrepresentation of females in math and science classes. Reshma, with admirable determination, knew she had to make a change. She went on to found "Girls Who Code," an organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology by inspiring and educating girls.
And then there's General Ann E. Dunwoody, who shattered gender barriers by becoming the first female four-star general in the U.S. military. Her journey wasn't one she had initially set out on, but she blazed a trail that has inspired countless women in the armed forces.
Finally, the world knows the famous Malala Yousafzai. She became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, and an inspiring advocate for girls' education. Despite facing the dangers and adversity of the Taliban, Malala continues to champion girls' right to an education, making a global impact and advocating for gender equality.
None of these women might have dreamt about being trailblazers, but one day, they knew they just had to keep walking fearlessly and without hesitation. Their stories, along with countless others, remind us of the strength and determination that have defined the path for women, ultimately paving the way for future generations.
By the way, although my mother did indeed become an incredible report technician (secretary of sorts), my mother wanted to run her own orphanage. She would have been an incredible director with oodles of love to pass out. I know because she also fulfilled her role of mother and wife with that same love.
Inspired by these remarkable women, we're reminded that the women we choose to uplift and admire should embody the qualities we cherish the most. No hesitation, with a dash of determination, is what we seek. Instead of indulging in jealousy or pettiness, let's celebrate those who exemplify these empowering traits.
THE OLIVES (A Surprising Element)
This post has been incredibly supportive of women. So alright, let's get real, ladies. We kind of have a words but little action problem going on in some cases. We've all heard that saying, "Be the woman who fixes another woman's crown without telling the world it's crooked" (I LOVE THIS SAYING). It sounds fantastic, doesn't it? We love the idea of quietly having each other's backs. But let's be honest, how often do we live up to that? In reality, it can look and sound a little more like this: "Oh Angie, I can't even! Did you see Liz's crown? It's like totally crooked. It looks a total mess. I can't let her go out there like that; she'd be so embarrassed. I have to be the one who helps her fix that crown." Come on. You know this is true. This kind of thing happens all over the place. It's not just about crowns; it's about how we talk and treat each other. We're quick to judge, and we're often too ready to compare ourselves. Why? Because we've bought into this idea that there's only room for one at the top, that it's a dog-eat-dog world. But guess what? It's not. There's room for all of us, and it's time we acted like it. So, let's cut the drama and the competition, and let's start building each other up. We don't need to tear each other down to get ahead. The real strength of women supporting women lies in celebrating each other's achievements and helping each other shine brighter. Ladies, it's time to say "STOP IT!" to the negativity and gossip. Let's change the narrative. We're not pretending that flaws and imperfections don't exist; we're saying there's a better way to address them.
When we fix each other's crowns, it's not about hiding those crooked moments; it's about showing that we've got each other's backs. It's about being real and honest with each other while still being supportive. So next time you see a fellow woman with a slightly askew crown, think of Marie Benedict's quote, and what often remains unsaid: "It was really hard to get to where I am. I am afraid, but I can't show it." Ladies, we can't afford any hesitation that marks us as weak. Our journey as women is one of strength and determination, not just as individuals but as a collective force. Fixing each other's crowns is more than a gesture; it's a symbol of the unwavering support we offer to one another. We have the power to change the narrative, to show that we've got each other's backs.
Remember, you never know whose crown you're fixing. It could be a future Reshma Saujani, a General Ann E. Dunwoody, or perhaps even our first female president. Who knows what doors will open and ceilings we can shatter when we simply support each other, walk with purpose, ensuring that no crown remains unattended.