When I decided to start fishing and getting outdoors more, I did it to empower myself. I was at a point in my life where I was feeling broken down and weak. Like I had been beat down and defeated. It was important for me to show myself and, everyone else, that I wasn’t broken. That I wasn’t weak. It started with just going to the lake by myself and fishing. It was fun. It was relaxing. But something about being a woman out on her own fishing trip, doing what she wanted, how she wanted… Empowered me. More than showing others I was capable, I was showing myself that I was capable. I realized that it wasn’t that other people saw me as weak. It was that I saw myself as weak and I had to change that.
Because I have two teenage girls, it became important for me to show them that they aren’t weak or powerless. I wanted them to see me doing things for myself, but also wanted them to start doing things for themselves as well. Knowing that they were capable and strong too. And guess what… It’s working. I have been taking my girls out fishing just the three of us. Showing them how to do things for themselves. I see them growing and doing things while we are out on our adventures and I am so proud. But recently, my oldest daughter did something amazing.
We ordered her a new bed, one of those Loft Beds, that is a bunk bed with a bed on top and a desk underneath. It is wrot iron and heavy. It came in 2 separate shipments and we had to assemble it. I have been working a lot lately and haven’t had time to help her put it together. I couldn’t believe what she did. Two nights ago, while I was asleep, she stayed up all night and put it together ALL BY HER SELF!!! I still don’t know how she did it. She took initiative and built her huge wrot iron loft bed all on her own. I was shocked. And I can’t help but feel like our recent adventures gave her the confidence and knowledge to know that she could.
This is my child who’s famous for saying “I can’t.” For everything. She is always saying “I can’t.” It frustrates me because the truth is, she doesn’t want to and I always tell her that. Say it. Be honest. Don’t say that you can’t. Say you don’t want to. That is a whole different scenario. But now, she knows that she can. She is strong and she can do things, so she did. I still can’t believe that she did it all on her own. I don’t know how she did it, but when I woke up there it was. I was proud in that moment of her for accomplishing such a large task on her own, but I was proud of myself too. I will admit, I felt bad for not setting it up sooner for her, but with Covid 19, I have been working a lot trying to recover from the effect it’s had on my business, and she knows that. But I’ve been taking her out. Showing her how to do things on her own. Teaching her that just because we are girls doesn’t mean we can’t do a certain thing. She decided she wanted to do something and she did. I knew that played a part in her making that decision. She might have been angry or frustrated with me, and for that I do feel bad, but she found her inner strength to do it herself. She is proud of herself now and so am I.
This made me think. In life, we (women and girls) are told that we are weak. That we need help. That we can’t lift heavy things or use tools or change our own tires on our cars. I wasn’t taught this by my parents, but by society. By other people. I admit, it’s very nice when you have a flat tire to have someone stop and help you. I really appreciate the kindness of another person, but do you know in my entire life I’ve had 5 flat tires… and never had to change a single one. There was always a man around. Either with me or one that stopped to help. One was even a co-worker. It’s nice that they want to be kind and helpful, but now I look back and kind of think… Why couldn’t I have done it. I know how. I’ve been taught how to do it, but I’ve also watched it be done 5 times. So, it is one of those situations where people are trying to be helpful, but it also taught me, in some way, that I couldn’t do it.
This is why I think it is so important for us to teach our young girls to do things for themselves. Not to never accept help or to be hyper-independent, but to let them know they are capable. That they can really do anything that they want to. I think we say that all the time, but then we don’t let them do things to really know that they can. Tomorrow I am taking my daughters out on a camping trip and I am really going to start letting them do things on their own. I’ll be there to supervise, but let them, on their own, complete tasks. Setting up the tent, making a camp fire, fishing and cooking for our dinner. When they know that they can do that completely without any help, they realize inside of themselves that they can do anything. I didn’t think I was teaching my daughters to be dependent, but I realize now that I was. I was doing what all those men that stopped to help a woman in distress were doing. Trying to be good. Trying to be nice. Trying to take care of my kids. But I also taught them that I think they can’t do it. I won’t be doing that anymore.
We are women. We are Empowered. We are Strong. We are Recovering.