An Ode to Myself & My Family

I just wrapped up my last assignment for my final fall semester of college. I am now one semester away from having my degree – a feat that no one in my family has accomplished. But that’s not why it’s important to me.

I have fought for every inch I’ve gained in this life. I want something, I go get it.

I am power.

I have worked through my school work all while actively serving my country (also a first in my family), working full-time, bearing and raising two children, and managing to stay (half) sane. Next spring I will have my Bachelors in Public Administration with a Minor in English to accentuate my honorable Military discharge and Associates of Arts degree.

None of this has been easy. I have progressed and succeeded without the help from any parents, but instead leaning on my husband and into the love of my children. I do it all for them. I yearn for the day where my family can see in the impact I have on our world, using the knowledge, skills, and experiences learned from my education and service to others. I want to be the good in the world that they never give up on.

Life is a challenging and messy road. Right now, so many aspects of our world feel hopeless, lost, and unnerving. I hope my family always finds stability, passion, and a strong foundation in the woman I am; for I am constantly in a state of construction, looking for ways to repair, build, and amend the pieces of me that are broken.

I hope they grow to notice and appreciate the values I try to live my life by. I hope they subliminally and intentionally adapt these values on their own, as being an honest and hardworking and appreciative person goes a long way in this world. I hope they never give up on their dreams, even if they feel unobtainable or of great lengths to reach. I started this journey in 2015 and will finally reach my goal in 2023. Many times it felt like I was on the wrong path or in the wrong place, but it has always played out in a manner that was better than I expected or anticipated. Life can feel so gloomy, but it can also bring the uplifting wonder of glorious surprise. I hope they never lose their sense of hope, for I too have been guilty of falling into the treacherous depths of depression and lack of understanding. I hope they choose not to lean against the feeling secured deep in their guts; the feeling of intuition and trust that is nearly always accurate in guiding us to the right path. Trust it. Lean into it. Let it guide you to the life you deserve.

Another semester in the books

This summer I got the urge to continue pursuing my Bachelors. I’m so very close (2 semesters away) to accomplishing this goal; although much of my relationship with college has been where I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. I’ve taken plenty of time away from my schooling simply because I haven’t been certain on what I wanted to do. I wrapped up my prerequisite courses no problem, but since then I hadn’t been sure what I wanted to pursue until this semester.

I got online and looked at all of the online programs that were offered, because I’d done a semester of the Business Management program and found that it most definitely wasn’t exactly what I wanted. That was the Fall of 2019.

I decided to switch over to Public Administration, and now that the semester is over I can say that this certainly is more aligned with who I imagine myself to be in my career. Now exactly what I want to do in Public Administration is still undetermined, but I feel aligned – so that’s something at least. The program is so broad that I’m confident something will come to me once I finish my schooling.

But what makes me most proud about this semester is that I took on this goal knowing the obstacles I’d face. I knew I’d be giving birth to my second child, and yet I did not let that stop me.

I’m also proud of how self aware I was. The last semester I took at UIS was a complete failure. Mind you, I’ve always been a really good student and enjoyed school. So when I had to take a failing grade in a class during my last semester at UIS, I was a bit intimidated on if I could do it. If I couldn’t handle the workload back then, what made me think I could do it while also welcoming a new child? BUT the last semester I took I had a full course load with four classes on top of working full time and being a mother. This time, I knew I’d be setting myself up for failure if I took a full time college schedule on top of working full time, being pregnant, and a toddler at home. There were many days once we returned home from the hospital that I didn’t think I could do it. I was late on a few assignments, but I put the work in. I studied and read tons of material, wrote two term papers and achieved A’s in BOTH courses. I was aware that two classes was achievable, and I accomplished my goal – many times with a newborn baby sleeping on the couch next to me.

A testament to the dedication I have and how much I value being committed to your goals and dreams. It wasn’t much, but I’m super proud and excited for the progress!

We’re buying a HOME!

I never thought those words were ever going to be able to come out of my mouth. We have been looking and waiting for our finances to come aligned for years now, and now is truly the time!

We signed on with our realtor back in September of last year. We got pre-approved by the bank pretty easily and started our search. We probably looked at close 15 houses personally, but searched through hundreds of house postings all around the state. There was a time during this whole process where a house we wanted to look at sold within two days of being posted on the market. The house market has been suuuper hot here lately, especially since interest rates on loans are so low right now.

So houses were flying and we were getting exhausted looking. It took so much out of us going from house to house to house, planning what it would be like to live in it, getting our hopes up, and then not even being able to put in an offer. We were beginning to think we were never going to actually make a move on.

We were actually looking at a different house when we found out about the house that we are going to buy. Our realtor had told us another house just a few blocks away went up for sale that day. We got in to see it the very next day, and immediately decided to put in an offer. We knew the house was going to go fast, since it is 5 bedrooms, in a great location, well-priced, and just beautiful! It is an old home, but you can just tell that it has been taken good care of.

We knew another couple was going to look at the house the next day, so we put our offer in and asked for a response within two days.

The next day, someone else had put in an offer challenging ours.

We couldn’t see what their offer was, so we had no idea if we were higher or lower. We went ahead and upped our offer and asked for them to respond that night. They did! They accepted our offer and we could finally breathe!

We have the inspection next week and the appraisal after that. Hopefully we can have a smooth close and easy move sometime this summer!

My Empty Satisfaction

Sometimes I sit here and think and think and think about what to write about. It often seems like the times I get filled with inspiration and motivation to write is when I don’t have my laptop near or the time to get it put together on paper. I’ll be driving down the road and an idea will hit me and I tell myself ‘Don’t forget this idea… it’s GOLD’ and when I get home I realize that I can’t even remember the topic I was even thinking about.

Motherhood is a full-time job and on top of the full-time job that I have outside of that, I feel like I don’t have time to pursue the hobbies that I most enjoy, like writing. I wouldn’t trade motherhood for the world, but it means that I have to put the less important activities on the back burner. I still dream of having thousands of people read the words that I write, but for now that dream seems so far away and so unobtainable.

But what do I do?

I’m stuck in the middle of providing for my amazing daughter, keeping my relationship full of spontaneous adventures, maintaining success within my career, and trying to keep my own sanity. I truly do love the life that I’ve built, but sometimes I sit in a dark room drooling over the idea of a life where I am able to focus only on myself. I don’t know if that makes me selfish, but it’s something I’ve come to admit to myself within the depths of my consciousness.

I want to read more books. I want to write more words. I want to express my love for language and knowledge with more people, but I just don’t know how at this time in my life.

Is it possible to feel so incredibly happy and proud of the life I have, but also still fill a gaping hole of everything that I haven’t yet accomplished?

Will there ever be a time where everything I aspire to be comes together?

I am so full of satisfaction, but also still so empty.

Queen Bee Syndrome & the Empowerment of Women From Women

I haven’t ever been one to claim myself as a “feminist.” I like to believe that how I view women and our power goes above needing a label. I don’t need some fancy word to characterize me as a believer in gender equality and the beautiful, strong creatures we call WOMEN.

I was reading through my feed on here today when I came across a post by a blogger that I admire, Bitchin’ in the Kitchen. The gist of her post was about how she still feels shame about not jumping in to stand up for a childhood girlfriend when she was being made fun of back when she was about five years old. She goes on to explain that she feels guilt today when she sees women “roasting” other women.

This got me thinking about how women treat each other, and just how true it is that women often times degrade other women. So I did some research and found a really interesting article from BBC called “Queen bees: Do women hinder the progress of other women?”

On one side, you have the idea that successful women become role models and mentors to women that watch from the sidelines. I believe this to be true. You can’t say you haven’t been infatuated with a strong, successful woman at one point, can you? Whether we like to admit it or not, I do believe that most women do root for our female counterparts to succeed.

However…

That’s only when they aren’t competing against them.

I introduce to you something called “Queen Bee Syndrome.” Queen Bee Syndrome was first defined in 1973 by psychologists at the University of Michigan, and it’s more or less how women in a dominantly male environment tend to be harder on other women. It questions why women are most likely to look out for their own success once they get to the top, rather than helping their fellow female counterparts up along the way.

There have been quite a few studies on this so-called Queen Bee Syndrome, specifically in the workforce. I guess the truth to Queen Bee Syndrome is kinda controversial, but some of the findings suggest that women act this way for a few different reasons.

One) Possibly because women enjoy being the only woman when they get to the top. That makes sense to me simply because often we see headlines that say things like “So-and-so is the only woman to be an executive at so-and-so company” or “this woman was the first to do this awesome thing.” We tend to think more of a woman when she has broken the barriers of a male-dominated company or organization, while also being the only woman to do so.

Two) This article suggested that women have a hard time competing against other women due to a stem from sexism. When competing against another woman, it’s been proven that women try not to be like other women and take a more masculine approach. Women try to overcome gender bias by definitively showing that they are different and even better than the other women they are competing against.


I think we, as women, should change the way we treat other women. Instead of accepting our society where women feel threatened of one another, we need to recreate a world where we all lift each other up and cheer on the successes of women in any way. If you look back on history, women have accomplished the most when they united and stood strong for the betterment of women everywhere.

ALL women are queens. Be a storm. Be fearless. Embody what it means to be a woman. But most importantly, be an empowering force to women everywhere!!