There Are 2 Types Of Women, And I Am Neither
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Elena Pellizzaris, writer, reader, teacher, lover of Jesus. She spends most of her days serving by teaching orphans in Liberia, West Africa. She works for Orphan Relief and Rescue, blogs at Stumbling In Grace, and is on Facebook. She also wrote “Your Heart Is Good” for us! – Lauren
It seems that everywhere I look in today’s culture, I’m bombarded with the same message: there are two types of women in the world. There’s the driven, goal-oriented career woman in a power suit, making bank and saving up for the home/car/vacation of her dreams. And then there’s the wife and/or mother, happily married and living a life of domestic bliss. There are two types of women in today’s world, society tells me.
The problem is that I fall into neither of those categories. I’m nearly 29 years old, single and childless, without an actual physical address. I have no real “career”, no five-year plan, not even a real savings account.
So tell me: what kind of woman am I?
For years, I didn’t know how to answer that question, and my identity crisis nearly crippled me. There was a time in my life when I could have called myself a career woman. I had a job that I loved, one that I seemed to be made for. It paid well and gave me the financial freedom to shop. To travel. To live comfortably. I never really understood the American dream, but looking back, I think I was living something that closely resembled it.
There was also a time in my life that I was able to call myself a wife. Married at 18, I was young, in love, and had high hopes for a magical future with the man of my dreams. I had it all planned out. Start a family around 25. Move into a bigger home. Maybe even relocate. All we needed was the white picket fence.
And then… well, life happened. The economy took a turn for the worse, and that job? I lost it. Mr. Right turned out to be Mr. Wrong, and I ended up divorced at 25 instead of having my first child like I had planned. Everything that I had used to define me, to give me my identity was pulled out from under me, like a rug beneath my feet. And I didn’t know how to deal. I was lost, confused, scared. Who am I? And what do I do now?
The answer was unexpected, to say the least. I ended up selling nearly everything I had and moving to Liberia, West Africa, to teach children living in orphanages. I came for two weeks… and have stayed for four years.
In those four years, friends and family from back home have gotten married. Had children. Moved into new homes. Changed jobs. Traveled the world. And I’m not going to lie; there have been moments where I’ve lamented why not me, God? There have been moments in which I’ve felt like I’m in exile. Banished to one of the loneliest places on earth. Like I’m missing out on… something. I know women who are in love with their husbands and families, and I know women who are in love with their careers. Don’t get me wrong – I’m honestly, really and truly happy for them. But there are definitely times when it hits me: I don’t have that. That is not who I am. What’s wrong with me?
It’s only recently that I’ve been able to truthfully answer that question: nothing. Nothing’s wrong with me. Other women’s paths are not the same as mine, and that’s okay. Their journeys, their stories, their experiences are all different than my own. And that’s okay. I’m not a wife. I’m not a mother. I’m not a career woman, but that doesn’t make me any less of a woman. I may be those things one day, but I’m not right now. To accept that is to make peace with who I am today, at this moment, instead of waiting to become someone else.
If you’re like me and you don’t fit into either group at this stage in life, please hear me: it’s okay. Embrace who you are and where you are, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for it. You are enough, just as you are. You’re a beautiful woman with incredible potential, living out your amazing story just as you were meant to do all along.
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