I first heard the quote “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” when I attended an all-women’s college in Virginia. The quote has followed me throughout the years with its meaning evolving as I do. At first, I took it at its face value. It’s true–you never hear about docile housewives during history. History is fleshed out with Marie Antoinette, Pocahontas, Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart. Women who didn’t listen to society’s rules. Women who scoffed when told “only men can”. Women who pushed the envelope and burst through the glass ceiling with grace, style, and determination.
Now, it is more of a motto, a mantra, a goal. I don’t want to be well-behaved. Actually, it’s more the fact that I’m not well-behaved, but I used to be the docile, rule-abiding, do-as-your-told woman. Then I had my daughter. That rule-abiding person was gone. I didn’t want to blindly accept what was shoved at me; I wanted, and needed, to do what I felt was best for myself and Miss Diva. It will be four years in April for this new-and-improved me. I’m still figuring out who I am. After two decades and some odd years of being here, I’m still becoming comfortable in my own skin. I’m still deciding who and what I want to be when I grow up. I’m trying new things and keeping what works for me and discarding what doesn’t. It’s refreshing. It’s liberating. It’s terrifying.
I came across a quote that is credited to Betty Bender. I don’t know if Betty really said this or if credit belongs to someone else. I do know that it struck me. I’ve thought about it for days.
“Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile…initially scared me to death.”
Driving? Scary. Going out of state to college? Scarier. Falling in love? Frightening. Signing up for doula classes? Shaking in my boots. Becoming a mother? The. Most. Terrifying. Thing. Ever. But, without a doubt, it has also been the most worthwhile thing I have ever done. And I’ve done it twice now. Miss Diva now has a brother, Smushy Face. They are my world. Every decision I make will affect them for the rest of their lives. Who I am will affect them. What I do will affect them. What I say, think, eat, breathe…yep, you guessed it–it will affect them.
It is humbling and overwhelming. But, those smiles, giggles, hugs and “I love you the mostest.” make it worth every tear, every sleepless night, and all those stretch marks.