This shop for Strength Has No Gender ™ has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StrengthHasNoGender #CollectiveBias
We all have a story, and Brawny® shows us Strength Has No Gender ™ by sharing inspiring stories of women across the nation breaking down barriers in every aspect of life, regardless of gender stereotypes.
I grew up in the 80’s, in a conservative, middle class family where traditional male/female roles were going strong. My mom always worked, raising my brother and I for many years alone before remarrying. She told me I could do anything I wanted, but to be honest, there was also this idea that I had to behave a certain way while achieving those goals. Girls had to be reserved and respectful to get ahead, while boys were expected to act out.
Brawny® – Strength Has No Gender ™
The day before my 21st birthday, I left my small mid-west college to join the Army. I served for 5 years in the male dominated field of aviation and hoped to attend flight school. Along the way I met, and married, my first husband. Shortly after we were married our son was born. Like many military marriages, ours didn’t survive my husband serving overseas alone for a year, and we divorced.
Being a single mom in the military at a young age taught me a lot about inner strength. I always had to be just a little bit better than my male counterparts, just to get the same respect. The mid-90’s were not an easy time to be a woman in the military. It was a hard life, but what was even tougher was leaving the military environment at 24 with a toddler in tow. Since flight school was no longer an option, I turned my aspirations towards finishing my degree in business.
Finishing my degree was important to me, and I accepted an advisor position with the college I was attending online. The only problem was, we lived in Alabama, and my new job was in Phoenix, Arizona, a city we’d never been to before. So I packed the car with what little we owned, including our brand new kitten, and hit the road with my 2-year-old son. At the time it was the craziest thing I thought I would ever do, even nuttier than joining the Army!
For the next 14 years I raised my son, built a network of friends who are more like family, and finished not just one, but 2 degrees in business management. All while fighting for a successful career in a male dominated sales environment. I look back now, and realize how I was expected to be a certain person to be accepted by my peers. Missing school events for my son, having to take the higher road with office politics, and generally sanitizing my personality in order to be respected.
Then the company I’d dedicated my professional life to, let me go with no notice. It was absolutely devastating, like losing a loved one. I was so conditioned, I had no idea who to be outside of that environment. It took me 6 months of grieving to realize unemployment was the best thing to happen to me. I had had a financially lucrative job, and it made me miserable.
After much soul-searching and loving support from the men in my life, I decided to take my blog from hobby to full-time career. Of course it wasn’t the perfect time to start my own business, but I was done working so hard for someone else. My heart ached to be my own person, and to be accepted for who I am. A hard-working, creative, and passionate business woman. It was a terrifying decision, but fast forward 3 years and look at me now! This little business of mine kept a roof over my family’s head through 2 moves and Paul losing his job. It sustained us through our move to Columbus, Ohio last month.
You are reading this because like Brawny®, I truly believe Strength Has No Gender ™. It is how I raised my son, who since started his own military career, and it’s the attitude I embody in life. The Strength Has No Gender™ campaign shares inspiring stories of everyday women, like me and you, in cities across America who are breaking down barriers in traditionally male-dominated industries and empowering others.
I love that Brawny® Paper towels offer more sheets on every roll, and helps me clean up life’s messes. It doesn’t matter if I am hard at work in the kitchen, or spilling my coffee because of looming deadlines, they have my back! The limited edition Brawny® Pick-a-Size 8 Giant Plus, exclusive to Walmart, is a constant reminder that all those crazy ideas weren’t really that crazy after all.
What is your story?