Being a strong woman means learning to embrace your strength..

Name: Natalie

Age Group: 35-40

Race/Ethnicity: Mexican/Italian

Career/Profession: ER nurse

1. Have you ever been told something a man would never be told?

The sheer number of times I’ve been asked if I’m married, have kids, and then of course the follow up questions as to the why/why not by perfect strangers…

As if any of those answers reflect my ability to do my job well.

2. Has anything changed about your idea  of what it means to be a woman since you were a teenager? In your 20s?

I don’t feel as though I need to prove myself as much anymore. I KNOW what I am capable of.

3. What does being a strong woman mean to you?

I think it’s learning to embrace your strength and realize it’s why you’ve gotten where you are today, instead of trying to hide it out of concern it intimidates others

4. What is the most frustrating/challenging thing about being a woman today?

I feel like this country is all too happy to accept the financial, personal, and, in the cases of female veterans, the military contributions of women, but when it comes down to it, we still have very little power. Decisions are made for us, about us, but not BY us. When we speak up we are dismissed and have religion or finances used as reasons why our needs can’t be met.

5. Have you faced any personal or professional struggles because you are a woman?

Absolutely. Well, first off, I was a woman in the Marine Corps, so there’s that. The parts of my personality that make me a great ER nurse seem to intimidate certain types of individuals. I find that I even have to mitigate my handshake, because my naturally “strong” handshake can be too much for some people.

6. What/who/which events have inspired you to become the person you are today?

Becoming a US Marine was one. Realizing I had accomplished what most men would never attempt created a new “level” for me. There are times when we have tough cases at work that challenge every bit of me. Those moments are often the basis of my growth. Honestly the moments when my back has been against a metaphorical wall, and I’ve been able to figure a way out of a situation, those times empower me.

7. Have you ever had any moments of self-doubt?

All the time. I worry I am not meeting milestones predetermined by society. Then I realize I’m doing just fine for this phase in my life. I can not control everything and allowing life to happen usually brings what I am searching for.

8. When did you start to feel comfortable in your own skin? (Not necessarily physically… but mind, heart, soul)

For sure in my mid 20’s, however I feel like I’m constantly refining who I am as a person. Through that process, I discover parts of myself that I need to reconcile and parts that I have a newfound sense of peace and contentment. 

 

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