Shhh… I’m Girly & Sensitive.

Via Dana Gornall
on Oct 25, 2013
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I am a working woman.

Not only am I a working woman, but I am a working mom. This is an era of women who not only are expected to be professional (if working outside the home) but expected to be a supermom also. Just pull up any Pinterest board and one can see a host of fabulous crafty images and homemade vegan lunches in sustainable, environment-friendly lunch boxes.

We are expected to be involved at school, get our kids to bed early with a morality-boosting book, clean our houses with green, homemade products, be to work on time and dressed impeccably, while maintaing a positive attitude full of self-affirmations. We are expected to exercise and be fit. We are expected to find time for spirituality and ourselves so that we don’t have a complete nervous-breakdown in the grocery store. We are expected to not be superficial (plastic surgery is bad) and maintain a wholesome lifestyle. (breastfeed your baby, home cook every meal, don’t buy GMOs) Most of all, we are expected to not take things personally.

God forbid we become a little emotional—ever.

I thought about this as I was having a conversation with a friend recently. We were talking about our expectations in our careers and steps we should or should not take to further them along. I had been feeling this nagging sensation lately about some new opportunities that were available and what choices I should make while experiencing a lot of insecurities about all of it. I thought about sharing these fears with her but this thought brought a whole different fear to light.

I didn’t want to appear insecure. I didn’t want to seem sensitive and well, girly.

While I am sure men get insecure, they seem to handle this sensation differently. They work harder and stay later. They attempt to bond with other co-workers. They usually do not cry.

I am not suggesting that women can’t handle competition in the workplace.

I could write a book on successful women that have faced many other women and men in their journey and have come out on top. What I know is that when I feel like I am not good enough, I want to hole up in my bedroom and say “I quit.” I know that when I get criticized about my work, I cry. Except as women who experience this, we can never admit it. (Although I just did)

Being a woman in a professional setting can be challenging as it is and when the responsibilities of being a mom are added onto this, the bar is set even higher.

In a prior place of employment I was told I could not use my child’s illness as an excuse to not come to work. I was harassed by a female boss that I took  breaks to pump after the birth of my child, even though other employees took regular smoking breaks.  I was told at an employee evaluation that I should wear make-up more often and that I looked tired. This was after returning from maternity leave.

Many people would tell me that I should have quit and stayed home if I couldn’t handle this. As a matter of fact, people did tell me that. I argued that it was important for me to stay in my career, but the truth was that I did want to quit. I couldn’t stand getting up early and taking my newborn baby to daycare so that I could be verbally abused by my employer during the day. Yet I kept going back because I didn’t want to appear weak. I didn’t want to give in. Also, I couldn’t afford to quit.

At what point do we give each other a break? At what point do we pull the blinders off and truly allow ourselves to be personal at work?

In a perfect world I could voice my concerns openly and admit my insecurity. I could stay home until my children were in school and work part-time while still maintaing a professional image from my peers. I could feel safe in the knowledge that a weak moment does not equal a blow to my career and reputation. But this is not a perfect world.

So in my rebellion I am writing this to say that yes I am incredibly sensitive. And for the women that seem to float through life without a hair out of place and go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize while cooking amazing nutritious meals and serving them on bamboo, hand-crafted tables, I applaud and envy you. Seriously.

But for me, I’m going to submit this post, get my butt to work and will probably order a pizza later. I will be a little harried, and possibly a few minutes late. I will appear cool about the whole thing and mention how bad the traffic is and I will probably stay a little late to make up for this.

I will do my best to not be too girly and sensitive about the whole thing.


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Ed: Sara Crolick


About Dana Gornall

Dana Gornall is a mom of three crazy kids and a dog. She works as a licensed massage therapist in Amherst, Ohio and is a certified sign language interpreter. She is always looking forward to even more personal growth. While not interpreting, doing massage, or being with her family she loves going to yoga. You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


5 Responses to “Shhh… I’m Girly & Sensitive.”

  1. Darla says:

    I like your articles, they are always real!

  2. ilona says:

    Thanks for this…love the line about the handcrafted bamboo table. Yes, our culture is out of control.

  3. @DanaGornall says:

    Thanks for commenting, Ilona. It's nice when we can at least keep a sense of humor about it. 🙂

  4. Love, thank you so much for this. 🙂

  5. Melina says:

    From reading different interpretations of the phrase, "it is not personal" my conclusion was that it meant that you should not take something that is said simply with the intent to hurt you or drag you down as having any basis in reality. That doesn't mean you don't listen to constructive criticism (if it has value) from a place of wanting to understand it and seeing if there is anything useful to learn from it. Of course criticism can come from false assumptions too often and doesn't always have value. I think "don't take it personal" instead means: knowing when what someone says or does is more of a reflection of them than of you when their intent is to tear you down or knock you down. I would be curious to hear others interpretations of the line…