I grew up during the time when the Women's Liberation Movement was all the rage. Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Maya Angelou were the voices I heard growing up.
In sharp contrast was my very conservative religious upbringing, and then add the Latin twist and you have a recipe for major confusion.
How to be a girl in today’s world was a constant theme in my life. I heard women can do anything, but then I saw they can’t do everything. All around me were women who tried and they got sick; their kids acted out and their husbands walked. They were exhausted from doing it all, like hamsters in a wheel. The pressure to be beautiful and sexy, have a career, have a perfect model house and keep your husband or man interested, and still be an amazing mom were recipes for disaster.
My mother and grandmother were strong Puerto Rican women. They were married women who became single women, both working yet with old fashioned values. I
watched them struggle and saw how hard it was to be a woman in a still very male dominated world.
I had to come to my own acceptance of my limitations when my marriage began to falter and then failed. Going back to dating 22 years after being married was not easy. I began to understand my mother and grandmother.
You had to be tough, yet not so tough that you lost your femininity. You had to be interesting in a career or working on one like I was, yet not compete with the men you were dating. I asked myself, do you let them open the doors and give you flowers? Is that weak or is it showing your old fashioned values? It was confusing, but I came to a gradual acceptance.
To be a girl in today’s world is to be comfortable in your own skin. I can take what I like and leave the rest behind. I learned we are all different and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. I taught my girls to be who they want to be and what’s comfortable for them is going to have to be comfortable for who they pick.
Today I’m comfortable in my own skin and I’ve come to love being a girl in today’s world.