I loved being a girl and adore being a woman. I was daddy’s little fiery daughter, but life for me changed when I grew into my sexuality and I started to date. I’ll never forget how dad looked at me while I introduced a new boyfriend. It was as if I had dirt on my clothes, and I knew then that something had changed. Daddy’s little fiery daughter became a disobedient delinquent, but only in his eyes. My outspoken funny spirit that made him smile now made him mad and he began to suppress my maturity and control my world.

He removed car engine parts, suspecting that I was driving to see boys and not to school. I stayed in my room, releasing my frustration by drawing and journaling. After I found out that he read my diary, I began to have dreams of him violently shaking me so I decided it was best if I moved in with my grandparents in order to relieve tension. I’ll never forget telling him, “I’ll be safe with grandma and you’ll know where I am, but I think moving out is best for us right now.” I thought I was being intelligent and responsible about our situation but he thought it was pure defiance.

My father refused to speak to me for 13 years after that.

Resignation and Education

My once-charmed life turned into a dumpster fire, and I stayed in a perpetual state of shock for decades. I became very depressed, but I knew the value of an education and somehow made it into university.

I had learned from my family that staying invisible was an advantage, but I became ostracized in class for never speaking up. I also started to notice that women had sexual power, but were discouraged to use it and demonized if they did. Life was so disorienting that I became disembodied. And yet, my inner pilot light must have stayed on because, despite all the confusion and depression, I managed to find my way through the fog and graduate.

I discovered a pattern in my young adult life: women were treated much differently than men. I witnessed girlfriends go through much of the same. One friend had a brother who was a very successful musician. I remember the family laughing that he had purchased paternity insurance, protection from his sexual activity. However, his sister (my friend) was ousted from her family when she introduced them to her first serious boyfriend. Her sentence was much lighter than mine; her father only spent three years not speaking to her.

After graduation I stumbled from job to job, carrying with me my halo of worthlessness. If my father didn’t value me, I was sure no one would — which was a beacon for abusers. I swatted employers’ hands off my knees and out from under my skirts (this was before the #MeToo Movement); I struggled with competing females undermining my professional advancement; I ended romantic relationships as soon as they got serious. That young version of me felt disadvantaged for being female, and at the time she was right. I would later learn that I was reacting to a divisive lie.

Vulnerability and Courage

Compassion and wisdom are innate female qualities I am so grateful to possess because they helped me process the dissatisfaction I had with my life to my advantage. I reconciled with my father. He had missed decades of my magnificent development. By the time I reached out he was ready to reconnect, but it required my prompt. It was surreal that our relationship began again just as quickly as it ended.

I went on to earn a master’s degree in Business and graduated with honors. I then began my own business enterprise and vowed to be unlike the employers and companies I had previously experienced. I was going to live life and do business my way: with joy and a consciousness for cause and effect.

As soon as I got my potential back on track, however, it became derailed again. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My poor body had finally collapsed under decades of spiritual suppression, self-loathing, and emotional disembodiment — but this healthcare crises would be my best evolution yet. I tapped into my female qualities of vulnerability and courage.

While in the hospital, I heard many stories of women living full lives after cancer. In a waiting room, I met a young woman in her twenties who was having an elective pre-emptive double mastectomy because her aunt had breast cancer and she wanted a guaranteed future without it. The nurse pushing my wheelchair into surgery told me that her niece was recovering from breast cancer while juggling three children.

I noticed that these women willingly gave up body parts — parts that were defined by society as their feminine identity — in order to have a future and remain living with their families.

I was amazed at how strong and courageous women are. I remembered that 2017 started with women around the world marching for the protection of inalienable rights concerning health, safety, and family. In my lifetime, I have never seen that kind of global solidarity. What power! I thought about the #MeToo movement and the current resistance against sexism that is bringing down politicians and industry titans, and that we are doing all of this on just eighty cents to the dollar.

Thriving as Woman

I recovered from cancer with a renewed commitment to my femininity and to me, just as I am. I absolutely love being a woman in business, using my feminine strengths as an advantage. I use my empathy to define my company’s motivational mission; I guide myself through decisions using my intuition; I design new products not only to earn revenue, but to make a positive change and be socially inclusive. I am building a network of partners who agree to be transparent, socially conscious, and believe that there is enough money and success for everyone. I hire personalities that can work remotely from home so they can take care of their families, and I don’t control what they do with their time as long as mutually-agreed upon goals are met. I daily check that my personal measure of joy and physical and spiritual health are good.

The time has come for women to not only sit at the table, but sit at the head of the table for the qualities, insights, and skills we bring. The remedy for the world’s current lopsidedness is girls and women like Greta Thunberg, Nancy Pelosi, Christine Legarde, and Arianna Huffington.

So I say to all the women and men out there who are struggling to overcome challenging life circumstances: fight like a girl. And when I say “fight,” I don’t refer to the word’s association with violence or assault; I mean fight as in champion an effective way of being.

Do you want world peace? Fight like a girl. Do you want equality and the protection of civil rights? Fight like a girl. Want to solve world hunger? Fight like a girl. By tapping into our feminine strengths and qualities, there is no challenge we can’t overcome.

Author's Bio: 

Veronica Vargas is the founder of Shaboo Prints, a boutique lifestyle brand designing positive products that will reawaken your joy. Veronica uses “imaginovation,” inventing ground-breaking products by combining reality with imagination to provoke awe and wonder. She is a social expressionist and entrepreneur on a mission to return millions of adults back to a wondrous world full of potential, play, and a knowing that expressing their real self is the whole point — i.e., finding their happy place! Visit www.ShabooPrints.com.