Credit: interviewsaloud.comOne of the most courageous things you can do is identify yourself, know who you are, what you believe in and where you want to go. – Sheila Murray Bethel.
On a recent morning, I was enjoying my usual morning visit at my local Starbucks, chatting with the staff and the other regulars whom I see daily. The store has always been a positive community connection for me. I can honestly say that I have never met someone that I have not liked having a conversation with-even if it is just for five minutes.
Beginning last spring, however, a person with a link to my past began to frequent the establishment at the same time as me. I tried not to make too much of these “coincidences”, but I did feel forced to be on my guard. Lately, the frequency of this person’s appearances has increased and my sons have even found themselves in uncomfortable and insinuating situations with this person in the recent past. So needless to say, when this person was in close proximity to a conversation I was having last week, I was not pleased.
I want my morning experience at the store to be one of the highlights of my day. And I want to handle negative circumstances with grace. But I could not help but feel that this person was acting boldly. And I could help but think that her “boldness” had negative connotations attached to it.
Later, at work, I began to question my thoughts on this feeling. So, I asked my colleagues to tell me what they think being a bold woman means. Still later, I asked other women and men outside of work. Their responses helped me to rethink my own reaction to my experience. More importantly, they helped me to redefine and refine the other person’s actions more appropriately.
So here goes (with credit to Jen, Jeff, Pam, Art, Gretchen and Pat and any others I may have forgotten):
A bold woman is authentic and committed to her own personal values. She stays true to who she is. A bold woman is loaded with courage, understands the risks at hand but still takes a leap of faith. A bold woman never settles; she keeps moving forward even when it is not popular. She is daring in the face of cultural limits, expectations and conventions. A bold woman is a person with only the highest of confidences and a will strong enough to defeat any obstacle or achieve any ambition. A bold woman does not apologize unnecessarily and isn’t afraid to be called a bitch. ( How many times have you done the former and been afraid to be the latter?). She stands firmly in her beliefs with an unwavering heart.
A bold woman is confident in her own skin. A bold woman inspires others to be awesome. A bold woman knows her strengths and weaknesses, but chooses to be the best she can be at all times. A bold woman speaks up for what she believes in. A bold woman will not let others control her fate nor her emotions. A bold woman is proud of herself. A bold woman does not make excuses. She takes responsibility and makes a plan to be better every day. A bold woman inspires, not just with her words but with her actions as well. You can feel a bold woman’s energy from across the room; a bold woman knows the power of silence. But, in the face of a challenge, a bold woman says: “Bring it on!” A bold woman is not offensive, rude, or condescending. She inspires others to be the best they can be.
I allowed myself to fall victim to a false cultural perception of what it means to be a bold woman. I am a big believer in the hidden messages or lessons that can come from challenging encounters, situations, or people. The recent spate of “accidental circumstances” have shown me that this person is far from being bold. You can draw your own conclusions regarding her character traits. However, I am grateful that she helped remind me of what a bold woman really is. AND she called attention to the fact that I AM A BOLD WOMAN. For me it is all that truly matters.
“I’m my own sovereign nation, dedicated to a transformation…”
from “It’s Alright” by Dar Williams