The Plight of Wonder Woman- A Take on Gender Inequality

My husband and I were eating dinner the other night and he was telling me about how one of his female students gave a speech about gender inequality that was incredibly thought provoking. He asked me, “How have you personally felt discriminated against as a woman?” I’ve been meditating on that in-depth conversation and felt I should share my experience as a woman in the workplace, in the home, and in the world. I won’t apologize for this article, although everything within me wants to. I feel like what I’m going to say will step on a lot of toes due to social norms, but I won’t apologize.

Do you ever feel stuck? This issue of gender inequality is a problem that at times, I feel, has no solution. I feel trapped in a worldview that has updated enough to allow me to work and vote, but I can’t be everything I want to be, or respected like I should be, or treated as an equal in the workplace or home. I am told I am equal, but my treatment does not always align with those words. These gender inequality ideologies run so deep that men and women alike often don’t even realize they ascribe to them. I think the best way to communicate my experience with gender inequality is to vulnerably share.

I continue to choose fields that are male driven- first, theology and now, business. I have a sharp mind, learn quickly, am incredibly efficient, creative, process savvy, a detailed researcher, and have an extreme work ethic. I’ve led teams of people and hosted countless events. I have been a speaker to groups of 100-500 people. But I am also kind, gentle, trustworthy, and a woman so I end up in support roles- the person who does all of the nitty gritty work, handles the details to create success, but gets paid 5 times less than those who I support even though we are creating together – a partnership, if you will.

I attended a meeting with high level male executives and two top players in a company- one male and one female. The male top player was the owner of the company and the female top player was his wife and highest producing salesperson- both accomplished and deserving of a seat at the table. Once leaving this meeting, they would discuss their options and make a decision together. What I noticed during this meeting is that the executives would make eye contact and talk to the male company leader, but they did not look at her or directly address her. It was as if she was a spectator at an event, watching everything unfold, even though her thoughts and opinions would have weight in the decision making.

I have a degree, have had 7 positions since being in my current industry- all a promotion with a pay raise except one lateral move, make 3 times the amount I started at 3.5 years ago, and was recently in a meeting with two men and one of the them asked me to grab him a water bottle.  It could be because assistant is in my title although I support two executives whose territories expand over 8 states running 30+ branches (which means I’m very busy), or it could be because I’m a woman. I think it’s because I’m a woman. If that man would have felt thirsty while being amongst two other men, he would have waited until the meeting was over or gotten his own damn water bottle.

I am not very competitive. I am a perfectionist. So, this means, I mainly compete with myself. I am my own worst critic. If I mess up, you don’t have to punish me because I promise, I am punishing myself enough. In the workplace other women have become very competitive with me because I am good at what I do, and they feel threatened. But I don’t have that issue with men. Why? Because men don’t feel like they have to compete with me. They are already ahead. Men compete with other men in business and women compete with other women. We are not even on the same playing field. To jump in the arena with men and to be on their level, you have to lose feminine characteristics. You must become hard, unaffected, overly confident, and the absolute best at what you do. Even then, do you truly earn a seat at the table?

I read this article about an experiment that took place where two individuals, a man and a woman, were expected to respond to customers via email. They exchanged email signatures for a week. In essence, he pretended to be a woman and she pretended to be a man. For that week, he encountered more aggression, negativity and questioning from customers than he had before. He had a bad week. She had her best week ever. Everyone just took her responses at face value with no push back and respected her because they thought she was a man. Throughout my career, men have emailed me and responded to my messages negatively at times. But then when my male supervisor or counterparts email them or call them saying the exact same thing, they respond positively and have a “we will get it done” attitude. It’s not because their bedside manner is better than mine, but they are responded to differently because they are men.

I want to have children but realize the impact that will have on my career. I once watched a Ted talk where the very successful female speaker said when you are “trying” to get pregnant, don’t put the brakes on your career until you are actually pregnant. One of the points of her Ted Talk was that you can be a female CEO as she was and have a family too. I took a lot of what she said in that Ted talk to heart, but then followed her life after that and learned that she eventually divorced. So, perhaps, she was not the voice to follow? Additionally, I read an article titled “Why Woman Still Can’t Have It All” by Anne Marie Slaughter, the past Director of Policy Planning for the State Department in Washington, D.C. Initially, she believed that she could have an extremely successful career and have an in- tact, healthy family, but came to the revelation that women cannot fully have both. One or the other suffers. You are left with choices like putting off childbearing, guilt from not being home enough once they arrive, and even if you try changing industries so you work less overtime; it usually comes with a pay decrease. Even being a stay at home parent, which is rewarding, comes at a price. Many women have no choice but to work and raise a family, so they are constantly torn between the two worlds and plagued by guilt- trying to be the best at both but feeling like they are failing.

My husband is wonderful, helpful and supportive. He is the greatest blessing in my life beside my faith. We both work full time jobs and most of the time, I work longer hours than he does. Compared to other husbands, I have a supportive husband. Most of the time, I feel that we have a partnership and he does help often. So, it’s not that he doesn’t help because he does, but deep down, we both have that thought process- it’s my job that he is so kindly helping with. The cleaning of our home and cooking is considered “my job” and when he helps, he is helping with “my chores”. The truth of the matter is that since we both work and we both live in our house, they are “our chores” and the cooking for us is “our job”. If someone comes over and the house is a mess, they don’t consider that we were both slacking on household duties, but that I was slacking on household duties. I feel guilt when I have guests and the house is not clean.

There have been many a time that I’ve been cleaning for hours because it has to get done while my husband plays video games. That is the epitome of male privilege in the home. Woman don’t have that opportunity because if they take time off to play a game or watch a show or have an evening with friends, there is no one else who will consistently come behind them to clean up the mess. The truth is that the mess will be there waiting for us. So, we take time for ourselves while the chores build up around us. Most of male chores around the house happen once a month or once a week. The female chores are daily. There is an unequal balance of responsibilities that is so deeply engrained.

My friends who are stay at home moms carry incredible responsibilities. In some cases, their husbands don’t help with the house or dinner at all because they feel like since they work outside of the home, they don’t have to contribute inside of the home. The problem with that is that the woman doesn’t clock in and clock out. Her day begins earlier than her husband’s and ends later than her husband’s. The stress of that type of division of labor is unreal. The emotions associated with that are like a pendulum- swinging from pride in how she takes care of her family and home to feeling overwhelmed and feeling like a servant.

One male family member said to me, “I wouldn’t have married my wife if she couldn’t cook. That would be pointless”. She cooks the majority of the time even though he is a great cook too. They both have full time jobs and successful careers. With that kind of thought process, what is a role of a wife reduced to? What other responsibilities are expected?

At times, I feel women are the slaves of society. Women carry so many responsibilities at work and at home. I feel like the expectation is Wonderwoman. I rise to the challenge, but at times, meltdown. If my time at work becomes unbalanced, then I can’t fulfill my duties at home.  There’s a constant push and pull. Most of the time, I don’t sit down until 9 pm or sometimes not until it’s time to go to bed. But then, I should be grateful that I’m now allowed to work and have the opportunity for a career, right? Women only earned the right to vote in 1920. That is fifty years after black men. Now, consider what it means to be a black woman. The other night, I searched Netflix for documentaries on Women’s Rights. All other marginalized groups were represented, even the transgender community, but not women. We are the lowest on the totem pole.

So many women have been sexually assaulted or abused. When I worked in the restaurant industry, there was no end to men, managers and counterparts alike, casually touching you or making obscene comments. In such a fast-paced environment, it’s easy to slide by someone and touch anywhere really. If you stick up for yourself, they get offended as if you are the one out of line. Like you are just supposed to take it. In other work environments, I’ve had a married man consistently stopping by my desk to talk. I’m not going to his desk or seeking him out. But it’s my problem to deal with. One women mentioned the situation as if I caused it, not because I actually did cause it, but because we are socialized to believe that if a man is messing with you, it’s your fault. If you were raped or abused, it’s your fault. When sharing a life changing story of something that happened to me to even the most compassionate people, the question that is often implied, but not directly stated is, “what did you do to cause what happened to you?” The responsibility is always a woman’s unless she goes through great lengths to prove that it wasn’t. Even then, people still wonder what she could have done differently to change what happened to her. No means no- period. If I stick up for myself, I read the situation wrong or am too sensitive. The truth is that I’ve heard other womens’ stories and asked myself the same questions- “what did they do to cause this?” We have been socialized so deeply to believe that it is always the woman’s fault. I immediately slap myself on the hand figuratively and say “stop thinking like that”.

I have to think about what red lipstick might be perceived as in the workplace even though red might be the perfect color for my outfit. I evaluate my clothing before going into each situation considering what message might be sent in each environment. I can’t be too attractive or too hot in certain environments, which cramps my style sometimes.  I have to consider the consequences of my clothing choices. I have more real fears regarding my safety than males do regarding theirs. I try not to stay at work or go to the grocery by myself after dark. I constantly scan my surroundings for predators. I don’t feel comfortable answering the front door when I am home by myself. When walking on sidewalks, I keep my head down when passing men so as to not make eye contact with them because I don’t want them to get the wrong idea. I can’t joke too much or be too friendly or hold eye contact too long or be too pretty because I don’t want to lead anyone on.

I am a strong proponent for free will. I feel like having these patriarchal engrained roles steals from free will. I feel like I don’t have a choice in the matter. For instance, if I didn’t grab the water bottle, what would the consequences have been for that? A talking-to by my supervisor? The men looking down on me because I didn’t help out in a way that they felt I should? If I don’t clean the house, when relatives stop by, they think she is a bad wife and poor housekeeper. I have to weigh the pros and cons of my choices to assimilate or not, and many times choose to assimilate to the roles that others have assigned me to because it is too much work and too taxing to defy what is engrained and I care too much about what others think of me. I realize that this paragraph almost seems contradictory because I’m saying I don’t have a choice but then make statements like I am choosing. That is where being stuck comes in- I make the decision, but feel like I really have no choice at all.

Everyone’s experience is different. If you are a woman who has a more nurturing career with less men, you may not feel discriminated against in the workplace. If you and your spouse were both socialized to not have assigned gender roles, you may not relate to what I’ve written at all. Or perhaps, you are one of those women who were so hard core socialized to be “everything to everyone” that this article annoys you and you disagree. I’ve been mediating on my experiences since that conversation with my husband. He wanted me to write this article so he can share it with his classroom. We are trying to grow together. Having these conversations can produce change and are ones that we need to be having. Going back to my previous statement, I feel stuck often. I don’t see a real solution many times but am dealing with these constant reminders of the problem. So, how can I affect change? I am not sure. I wrote this article in hopes of bringing light to hidden places. I got vulnerable and shared real circumstances. A man with an argument will always sit at the feet of a man with an experience. Or in this case, a woman with an experience.

 

 

 

 

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Celebration BBQ

There is something inspiring about having a day off of work. My husband who is a teacher is on Spring Break, so I asked for one day off so I could spend time with him and prepare for our Celebration BBQ. I am throwing him a BBQ because he got his California teaching credential and landed a job. If you know anything about California, there are long processes for everything you want to do and especially if you want to become a teacher. He completed a year and half certification program that included student teaching to earn his pre-credential. Now, he has a 12 month process as a teacher to fully complete the requirements. Enough about the state- let’s talk about what this journey has been for us.

We got married on November 1st, 2014 at Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe. The next day, we moved into our own 500 square foot apartment together as husband and wife. We didn’t take any time off of work- we just wanted to be married. So, that’s what we did! I don’t consider myself to be impulsive in the least, but once I’ve made my mind up to do something… I just want to do it. We got engaged on September 28th, 2014 and a little over a month later were married after a year and a half courtship. I knew I wanted to marry him and so we did just that! I’m pretty sure everyone thought we were pregnant because it was so hasty, but that was not the case. We were just ready to start our life together.

The following Monday we returned to our respective positions- I at my entry level Corporate mortgage job and he to his PE teacher/ teacher’s aide position at a private Christian school. I would like to note that we both had a four year degree, but started out at the very bottom in these industries barely making enough money to survive with the high California cost of living. We lived in a tiny apartment in a questionable area. It was very discouraging after working so hard in school with the promise of getting ahead in life to be at jobs that we could have gotten without our degrees, but it seems like this is the case for many educated folk in this day in age. Looking over our finances, we decided a change must occur. Sean wanted to be a teacher and we both knew deep down that this was his calling. He is great with children- he can captivate them in an instant with a game that just came to him that was so intricate. Not only can he do this with recreational activities, but with educational lessons. Having siblings that are ten years younger than him, he mastered the true art of captivating a child audience a long time ago. He had many after-school care jobs that really sharpened what qualities God had already built in him. He loves to share his knowledge with others and truly desires to help children and teens pursue their dreams. He is the epitome of an educator. So, we knew he absolutely had to pursue this. Not to mention, in the state of California, you can only work at private schools without a credential and you are paid next to nothing.

Sean enrolled in an accelerated program through our Alma Mater to get his teaching credential and Masters in Education. It was quoted as a 21 month program. We made the decision together, but we had no idea the amount of sacrifice that would come with this decision. He started in August of 2015- 9 months after we were married. He stopped working and was a full time student. I was carrying the weight of our finances with a measly position that included long days and an extremely hard working environment. By December, “the struggle was real”. We realized Sean would need to take on part time employment and what better way than to substitute. That ended up being the perfect fit for him- of course! He was offered a long term subbing position at a charter school that he loved working at. He was in his element- working with first graders! They are his favorite age group and I would say that he is their favorite teacher. I cannot tell you how proud I am of my husband for who he is. The excitement that he would express in re-telling his day in the classroom further solidified that he was on the right path.

Around March, I started a small network marketing business which blossomed overnight. I really enjoyed what I was doing and we really needed the funds. But with him working part time and going to school and me working full time and doing network marketing part time, there was not a lot of time for each other. Life has a way of continuing to throw curve balls at you at the times when you least need it. We were truly on our own, and were continuing to gain expenses. It did not help that is such a high cost of living in California. So, even though we had picked up extra jobs, we were still paycheck to paycheck. Then, the summer came and school was out. Sean worked at a summer camp a few days a week, but that was it.. I was working 12 hour days pretty consistently due my full time job and my side business. The combination of financial struggle, long work hours, and less quality time with each other was really putting a strain on us. That was not the sacrifice I imagined when we made the decision for him to pursue this credential. But what is ever as we imagined?

I would say the first year of marriage was hard. We were learning how to live with each other and adjust to each person’s odd peculiarities, background, and deeply engrained martial expectations. Did I mention I am not from California? I am from the Deep South- Ponchatoula, Louisiana, located 45 minutes from New Orleans and 45 minutes from Baton Rouge. If I do say so myself, the perfect place to be if you are going to live in Louisiana. So, I grew up in a completely different culture from my husband! To say that, is truly an understatement(haha). Not only was I from Cajun-land, I also grew up in an extremely legalistic Christian setting. I knew Jesus, but I also knew all the “do’s and don’ts” and even though I didn’t agree with all of them anymore, they were deeply engrained in me. I brought to the table yummy Cajun food, Cajun dancing, tradition, hugs, warmth, and the idea that you should look nice in public. Someone once told me “there’s something a little extra about a Southern woman- most women look nice, but Southern women add that extra touch”. I say that not in an arrogant way, but with pride for my culture. We are “extra”- extra warm, extra kind, extra talkative and probably share too much about ourselves, and extra “hot” when we go to town. But at home, we can get down n’ dirty, cleaning all the nasty with our top buns and our not- been -washed -in -too -long pajama pants. I knew all there was to know about breeding cattle, could ride a four-wheeler, hook my own fish and catch it, and I could also put on my heels, do my hair up, and be a “trophy date”. My husband is from Susanville, California- so North it’s almost to Oregon. It’s a prison town full of beauty but with an air of sadness hanging over it (or that’s my take). Where he is from is pretty small- population of 17,000 and a third of the population are prisoners. Many are employed in the prisons. How do you describe Sean(haha)? He is good at everything he does. He is athletic, playing soccer most of his life even in college. He loves rock n’roll, disc golf, Warhammer, classical literature. He is truly wild at heart. I’ve tamed the “partying” out of him, but he will always be wild at heart. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. We were similar in our Christian foundation and general values, our stage in life, and different life circumstances we had experienced, but we literally have completely different personalities and interests. This was a struggle in the first year of marriage, but now we have grown to compliment each other. Sean is LOUD and loves the attention of a large group. He is a performer. He doesn’t care if it is negative or positive attention- he just loves and feeds on attention. He is the great debater- always playing the Devil’s advocate. He embraces conflict because in his mind, it breeds resolution and allows for the gaining of a new perspective. I am right on the line of extrovert and introvert- I’ve heard it’s called an ambivert. I gain energy in a group, but if I am with them too long; I need some alone time. I love my alone time, but if I am alone too long; I need social interaction. I am a little shy but confident. I don’t enjoy the attention of an entire group. We are opposite haha! So, in the first year of marriage, which I like to call “the two become one stage”, we had a lot to going on.

We had just graduated from college, were truly on our own in an apartment all to ourselves, Sean joined an intense educational program, I worked all the time, and we were completely different and from completely different backgrounds…BUT God haha. God knew what He was doing. I believe this was the beginning of a lifelong refining process. Marriage and the obstacles you overcome in your relationship and as a couple have to be the most “molding” that I have ever experienced.

We are now in our 3rd year of marriage and Sean just got his teaching credential and landed a job. We have grown so much as a couple through this journey. We worked together and worked against each other, at times. We accomplished this together, and by this, I mean the 1,700 square foot home we now live in, the parenting of our first indoor pet, learning to live with and love each other’s strange ways, doing home projects together, hitting my career goals together ( if it wasn’t for his encouragement, I wouldn’t have made it this far), and lastly him earning his teaching credential and landing a job. We did it all together! Neither one of us can take the credit for our accomplishments solely; we did it together. It’s amazing how your hardest times can produce the most beautiful results. I look at what we have built and what God has built through this process and I am in awe.

I am throwing him a BBQ to celebrate his accomplishment, but it is a celebration of so much more! WE made it through what will probably be one of the hardest times in our lives. We made it through lack and struggle, cultural differences on every level, personality conflicts, over-expectations, long work days, long school days, bad fights, and all life has thrown at us. I truly believe we can make it through anything now. I know there will be more struggle and new stages of life to embrace that come with their own challenges, but this will always be the foundation that we can look back on and hold onto. What we have is not perfect by any means, but man, it is really something special. I am proud of US. Now, we can enjoy the fruit of our labor for the past few years. And we really are!

Let this serve as an all-over-the-place introduction to the then and now in our lives. I’ve decided to write from time to time about the joys of our current day lives and the lessons we learned to get us to this point. I would also like to note that I absolutely one hundred percent know that we have not “arrived”, but I believe these blog entries could serve as inspiration for some in their martial and life journeys. I am compelled to share with you.

Now, onto embracing today- grocery shopping, crafting, cleaning, yard work, and cooking with- all with my hubby!

Celebration BBQ

There is something inspiring about having a day off of work. My husband who is a teacher is on Spring Break, so I asked for one day off so I could spend time with him and prepare for our Celebration BBQ. I am throwing him a BBQ because he got his California teaching credential and landed a job. If you know anything about California, there are long processes for everything you want to do and especially if you want to become a teacher. He completed a year and half certification program that included student teaching to earn his credential and ability to work in the public school system. Now, he has a 12 month process as a teacher to fully complete the requirements. Enough about the state- let’s talk about what this journey has been for us.

We got married on November 1st, 2014 at Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, California. The next day, we moved into our own 500 square foot apartment together as husband and wife. We didn’t take any time off of work- we just wanted to be married. So, that’s what we did! I don’t consider myself to be impulsive in the least, but once I’ve made my mind up to do something… I just want to do it. We got engaged on September 28th, 2014 and a little over a month later were married after a year and a half courtship. I knew I wanted to marry him and so we did just that! I’m pretty sure everyone thought we were pregnant because it was so hasty, but that was not the case. We were just ready to start our life together.

The following Monday we returned to our respective positions- I at my entry level Corporate mortgage job and he to his PE teacher/ teacher’s aide position at a private Christian school. I would like to note that we both had a four year degree, but started out at the very bottom in these industries barely making enough money to survive with the high California cost of living. We lived in a tiny apartment in a questionable area. It was very discouraging after working so hard in school with the promise of getting ahead in life to be at jobs that we could have gotten without our degrees, but it seems like this is the case for many educated folk in this day in age. Looking over our finances, we decided a change must occur. Sean wanted to be a teacher and we both knew deep down that this was his calling. He is great with children- he can captivate them in an instant with a game that just came to him that was so intricate. Not only can he do this with recreational activities, but with educational lessons. Having siblings that are ten years younger than him, he mastered the true art of captivating a child audience a long time ago. He had many after-school care jobs that really sharpened what qualities God had already built in him. He loves to share his knowledge with others and truly desires to help children and teens pursue their dreams. He is the epitome of an educator. So, we knew he absolutely had to pursue this. Not to mention, in the state of California, you can only work at private schools without a credential and you are paid next to nothing.

Sean enrolled in an accelerated program through our Alma Mater to get his teaching credential and Masters in Education. It was quoted as a 21 month program. We made the decision together, but we had no idea the amount of sacrifice that would come with this decision. He started in August of 2015- 9 months after we were married. He stopped working and was a full time student. I was carrying the weight of our finances with a measly position that included long days and an extremely hard working environment. By December, “the struggle was real”. We realized Sean would need to take on part time employment and what better way than to substitute. That ended up being the perfect fit for him- of course! He was offered a long term subbing position at a charter school that he loved working at. He was in his element- working with first graders! They are his favorite age group and I would say that he is their favorite teacher. I cannot tell you how proud I am of my husband for who he is. The excitement that he would express in re-telling his day in the classroom further solidified that he was on the right path.

Around March, I started a small network marketing business which blossomed overnight. I really enjoyed what I was doing and we really needed the funds. But with him working part time and going to school and me working full time and doing network marketing, there was not a lot of time for each other. Life has a way of continuing to throw curve balls at you at the times when you least need it. We were truly on our own, and were continuing to gain expenses. It did not help that is such a high cost of living in California. So, even though we had picked up extra jobs, we were still paycheck to paycheck. Then, the summer came and school was out. Sean worked at a summer camp a few days a week, but that was it. I was working 12 hour days pretty consistently due my full time job and my side business. The combination of financial struggle, long work hours, and less quality time with each other was really putting a strain on us. That was not the sacrifice I imagined when we made the decision for him to pursue this credential. But what is ever as we imagined?

I would say the first year of marriage was hard. We were learning how to live with each other and adjust to each person’s odd peculiarities, background, and deeply engrained martial expectations. Did I mention I am not from California? I am from the Deep South- Ponchatoula, Louisiana, located 45 minutes from New Orleans and 45 minutes from Baton Rouge. If I do say so myself, the perfect place to be if you are going to live in Louisiana. So, I grew up in a completely different culture from my husband! To say that, is truly an understatement(haha). Not only was I from Cajun-land, I also grew up in an extremely legalistic Christian setting. I knew Jesus, but I also knew all the “do’s and don’ts” and even though I didn’t agree with all of them anymore, they were deeply engrained in me. I brought to the table yummy Cajun food, Cajun dancing, tradition, hugs, warmth, and the idea that you should look nice in public. Someone once told me “there’s something a little extra about a Southern woman- most women look nice, but Southern women add that extra touch”. I say that not in an arrogant way, but with pride for my culture. We are “extra”- extra warm, extra kind, extra talkative and probably share too much about ourselves, and extra “hot” when we go to town. But at home, we can get down n’ dirty, cleaning all the nasty with our top buns and our not- been -washed -in -too -long pajama pants. I knew all there was to know about breeding cattle, could ride a four-wheeler, hook my own fish and catch it, and I could also put on my heels, do my hair up, and be a “trophy date”. My husband is from Susanville, California- so North it’s almost to Oregon. It’s a prison town full of beauty but with an air of sadness hanging over it (or that’s my take). Where he is from is pretty small- population of 17,000 and a third of the population are prisoners. Many are employed in the prisons. How do you describe Sean(haha)? He is good at everything he does. He is athletic, playing soccer most of his life even in college. He loves rock n’roll, disc golf, Warhammer, classical literature. He is truly wild at heart. I’ve tamed the “partying” out of him, but he will always be wild at heart. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. We were similar in our Christian foundation and general values, our stage in life, and different life circumstances we had experienced, but we literally have completely different personalities and interests. This was a struggle in the first year of marriage, but now we have grown to compliment each other. Sean is LOUD and loves the attention of a large group. He is a performer. He doesn’t care if it is negative or positive attention- he just loves and feeds on attention. He is the great debater- always playing the Devil’s advocate. He embraces conflict because in his mind, it breeds resolution and allows for the gaining of a new perspective. I am right on the line of extrovert and introvert- I’ve heard it’s called an ambivert. I gain energy in a group, but if I am with them too long; I need some alone time. I love my alone time, but if I am alone too long; I need social interaction. I am a little shy but confident. I don’t enjoy the attention of an entire group. We are opposite haha! So, in the first year of marriage, which I like to call “the two become one stage”, we had a lot going on.

Just to recap- we had just graduated from college, were truly on our own in an apartment all to ourselves, Sean joined an intense educational program, I worked all the time, and we were completely different and from completely different backgrounds…BUT God haha. God knew what He was doing. I believe this was the beginning of a lifelong refining process. Marriage and the obstacles you overcome in your relationship and as a couple have to be the most “molding” that I have ever experienced.

We are now in our 3rd year of marriage and Sean just got his teaching credential and landed a job. We have grown so much as a couple through this journey. We worked together and worked against each other, at times. We accomplished this together, and by this, I mean the 1,700 square foot home we now live in, the parenting of our first indoor pet, learning to live with and love each other’s strange ways, doing home projects together, hitting my career goals together ( if it wasn’t for his encouragement, I wouldn’t have made it this far), and most recently him earning his teaching credential and landing a job. We did it all together! Neither one of us can take the credit for our accomplishments solely; we did it together. It’s amazing how your hardest times can produce the most beautiful results. I look at what we have built and what God has built through this process and I am in awe.

I am throwing him a BBQ to celebrate his accomplishment, but it is a celebration of so much more! WE made it through what will probably be one of the hardest times in our lives. We made it through lack and struggle, cultural differences on every level, personality conflicts, over-expectations, long work days, long school days, bad fights, and all life has thrown at us. I truly believe we can make it through anything now. I know there will be more struggle and new stages of life to embrace that come with their own challenges, but this will always be the foundation that we can look back on and hold onto. What we have is not perfect by any means, but man, it is really something special. I am proud of US. Now, we can enjoy the fruit of our labor for the past few years. And we really are!

Let this serve as an all-over-the-place introduction to the then and now in our lives. I’ve decided to write from time to time about the joys of our current day lives and the lessons we learned to get us to this point. I would also like to note that I absolutely one hundred percent know that we have not “arrived”, but I believe these blog entries could serve as inspiration for some in their martial and life journeys. I am compelled to share with you.

Now, onto embracing today- grocery shopping, crafting, cleaning, yard work, and cooking- all with my hubby!