Fearless in a Man’s World…

01 Apr 17

First impressions are sometimes everlasting but that is rarely the case with me.  When people meet me, I may come across as arrogant, brash, outspoken, not ladylike and who knows what else and these traits are automatically associated with being a bad person, especially in our South Asian community.  And the few that look past that and take the time to get to know me are the first ones to say that I didn’t think well of you but I was wrong.  A similar conversation recently had me wondering why that is the case so I asked why not just get to know a person first before forming an opinion and the answer I got was “it’s still a man’s world.” 

I paused for a second to think about it and then I realized what that statement meant; these same characteristics that make people think of me negatively are admired in a man and considered negative qualities in a woman.  However, these same things are what have made me so successful professionally.   So, if I had lived my life under the mantra of it’s still a man’s world, I wouldn’t have reached my true potential.  Maybe it cost me some friends or relationships along the way, but would it have been fair to me to hold myself back and not reach my true potential to play the “right role” in this man’s world?  And no matter how I look at it, I think the answer is I don’t think so. 

Cher, a woman I have mad respect for, once said, “Yes, it’s a man’s world, but that’s all right because they’re making a total mess of it.  We’re chipping away at their control, taking the parts we want.  Some women think it’s a difficult task, but it’s not.”  Now, there are those that will argue that she’s a woman so of course she will say that.  But then you look at George Clooney whose choice in partner speaks volumes, a man that could have probably had any woman he wanted but he was attracted to the complete package – a beautiful but more importantly intelligent woman that could hold her own in this man’s world; a barrister that is an outspoken woman specializing in international law and human rights making her even more beautiful to him. 

I look at these highly successful celebrities in the limelight that have the courage to acknowledge that things must change and are setting a trend making it okay for the common man or woman to also be that change.  While I may not be in the limelight, I am proud of myself for having the courage to walk the path less travelled, a characteristic I probably inherited from my fearless mother.  Fearless is a strange compliment but yet perfect for a woman.  I recently saw the much raved about Beauty and the Beast and when Beauty asks her father to tell her more about her mother, he says “She was fearless.” And in that moment, sitting in that cinema hall, I knew that it is the most perfect of compliments.  If there is one word I wanted to describe me when I am long gone, it would not be beautiful, intelligent, successful or any of the common compliments; it would be fearless because fearless embodies beauty, intelligence, success, and so much more all in one word. 

It is rare for a woman to find someone that respects a fearless woman I don’t even have to imagine how appreciative women like Amal Clooney may feel finding a man that was not afraid of her intellect and fearlessness but rather in love with it because it is the same support I receive from my husband daily.  My husband - a man that embraced my outspoken, brash demeanor and understood how these characteristics contribute to my success and will ultimately contribute to our success together.   There may be people I don’t even know of that I lost along the way because of who I am but I have no regrets because in return I gained an incredibly successful career and a perfect life partner.   If I could go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t do it any different.  So, my final thoughts for the month of April – Be fearless in all that you do!  And to my new found friends whom I have grown to love, I guess it is okay to agree to disagree and still be friends.  While you may still say it’s a man’s world, I am of the belief “It is often said that it’s a man’s world; we must change this fact and create this: It’s a human’s world!”  Quote courtesy of Mehmet Murat Ildan.