They Do Exist.

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.

Photo by Branden Harvey / / Design by Lauren Dubinsky

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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36 Responses

  1. So lovely.So lovely.

    YES, sweet Elena.

    You *are* enough.

    As am I.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:51 am

    • amen. we are all enough…because He is more than enough.

      xo,
      ep

      June 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

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  4. Priscilla

    "I know women who are in love with their husbands and families, and I know women who are in love with their careers. …I don’t have that…What’s wrong with me?" I asked this exact question of myself last week, glad to get the answer today :) "nothing." just because I don't have something today doesn't mean I'll never have it and God has given me everything I need for today. I need to say this to myself a million times a day so I can start truly believing it with all my heart and living it.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    • there are days when i need to repeat that a million times, too. but it’s worth it. it’s Truth, and i want it to sink deep down into my soul. keep saying it…and you WILL eventually believe it!

      xo,
      ep.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm

  5. Thank you Elena! That spoke to me in oh so many ways! That is me right now. Feeling sometimes "stuck" between what I am doing (serving as a ministry leader, helping others, pulling for my loved ones) and what I'd hope I would be at age 34 (a wife, a mother). God has called me to a beautiful recovery ministry, which I love with all my heart, but can't help but sometimes feel like I am missing….something.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    • thank YOU for reading. for encouraging. for sharing feedback. a million times…thank you.

      xo,
      ep

      June 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm

  6. This was beautiful. I too have watched my life go in an entirely different direction than what I had planned. But I love how God turns our disappointments into redemptive hope. We’re so human and messy. But He’s so God and Potters don’t mind the mess, do they? What kind of woman are you? A True one. :)

    June 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    • you are so right…we are human and messy and though it hurts when our plans fall apart, i know it’s always because He has something better. God sees so much more and dreams so much higher for us than we can possibly imagine!

      xo,
      ep

      June 19, 2012 at 3:18 pm

  7. I can definitely resonate with parts of this. I have realized that one of the biggest lessons God is teaching me this year and in this season of my life is that the most important thing about me is that I am a child of His. He cares more about who I am as a Jesus follower than as a career woman, a wife, a girlfriend, a single person, a friend, etc. etc. When I start defining myself by who I think I am or what the world might call me ("single" and "unemployed"), it's an easy downward spiral. But when I remember that God is only concerned with how I'm living for Him, it changes everything. Thanks for the reminder again that nothing is wrong with me just because my path may look different than some of the other women around me.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    • mmm. i love this. you’re right; the labels that others and society and even ourselves put on us just. don’t. matter. He alone defines us. and THAT is such beautiful news.

      xo,
      ep

      June 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    • Cassidy

      Looooove this post! As someone who is 24, single, and still not employed in my field, this is what I needed to hear. This past year out of school, the pressure seems to be to pick which woman I want to be- career or wife/mom- and hurry up and get to that destination. Instead, I’ve been considering moving outside of the US to serve as a missionary. And even when I tell people of this choice, they assume I mean for a few years before coming back and working toward my career and/or a family. And don’t get my wrong, I want both of those things, but I also know that if God calls me to full time missions, I’ll accept that calling with all my heart. This comment truly sums up my life right now, thank you for posting these inspirational words!

      “When I start defining myself by who I think I am or what the world might call me (“single” and “unemployed”), it’s an easy downward spiral. But when I remember that God is only concerned with how I’m living for Him, it changes everything.”

      TRUTH.

      June 21, 2012 at 12:01 am

  8. Elena –
    Thank you so very much for this candid and inspiring post. As others above had mentioned, your words really resonate with my season in life right now. I too had been rushing full-steam down the path of a powerful and successful career woman. At 28, God said to me, "That's not the life I intend for you", and destroyed my mental and physical health until I was unable to work anymore.

    I continue to struggle with my identity as I am now unemployed (but blessedly married), my castles in the sand crumbled all around me. Regardless, this season has been the most refreshing, character changing, period of my life, and I feel so loved and embraced by God, I'm not sure I would want to be one of the 2 "women stereotypes" society pushes on us. It scared me half to death when this all started because I felt I couldn't fit into either one anymore. But I'm slowly learning that God made me who I am and for Him, that is enough. So for me, no matter what my situation in life, that should be enough.

    Sorry about the long comment! Thanks again! I just felt so relieved and comforted to know that other women are in similar situations, and that there IS a "success story" for women who are not compartmentalized into 2 categories.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    • i loved every single syllable of your “long” comment! thank you for sharing a piece of YOUR beautiful, unique story with me. isn’t it such a comfort to know that God is determined to give us His best, and nothing can stand in His way–not even our own plans and dreams for ourselves? mmm. He is good. thanks again for your sweet feedback!

      xo,
      ep

      June 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm

  9. rachealdhelmick

    God continues to call me to release to Him the "good" things in my life, so that He can give me the best; the best is always Himself.
    Thank you for reminding us not to fall into the trap of comparing our journeys with others. May we encourage each other in the *different* places He calls us to be and celebrate His presence in it all.

    Thanks, Elena for sharing your story.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    • i read somewhere that, often, the enemy of God’s best is our good. i’ve always liked that, because it reminds me that His plan for my life is so much bigger and better than i could even begin to imagine.
      thank you for reading, and also for your kind feedback. it honestly means so much to me.

      xo,
      ep

      June 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm

  10. omgosh so good. thank you.

    June 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    • thank YOU for reading, kristen!

      xo,
      ep

      June 19, 2012 at 5:20 pm

  11. redefinedinlove;

    Amazing!! I love this, thank you for sharing!

    June 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    • thank YOU for your kind words!

      xo,
      ep

      June 20, 2012 at 3:54 am

  12. Faith

    I read this post at the right time today. I am about to move overseas for 3 years and sometimes I catch myself throwing a minor pity party where I wonder if I am missing out. My friends have careers and husbands and although I am confident of this calling, it’s sometimes hard to watch and to not compare. Thank you for posting truth. You reminded me that it’s ok to feel this way but that I am not missing out. God has continually reminded me to not compare because he has called me to something different. And you affirmed that when I was forgetting the truth.

    Thank you.

    Blessings.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    • one of my very favorite quotes is as follows: “comparison is the thief of joy.” there is so much beauty and joy to be found on our own unique paths, and i believe the enemy often tries to deter us from finding those things by getting us to look at what we don’t have.
      i am confident that as you embark on this new journey, much joy and many blessings await you!

      xo,
      ep

      June 20, 2012 at 3:58 am

  13. Hannah

    Simply Beautiful :)…..

    June 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    • thank you, sweet Hannah! your encouragement means so much.

      xo,
      ep

      June 20, 2012 at 3:59 am

  14. Eliza

    Wow! Just like I just read my own story right now…Wl b 29 in a week and being wondering WHY?…so many questions…this is soo encouraging. Thank You

    June 20, 2012 at 10:35 am

    • you are so very welcome. i am glad you are encouraged; trust me, you are not alone in this, sister!

      xo,
      ep

      June 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm

  15. This is so beautiful! So empoering. Blessings. :)

    June 21, 2012 at 5:49 am

    • thank you, Coreen! many blessings back to you.

      xo,
      ep

      June 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm

  16. Agh! I can relate. I don’t want a career but I don’t have a family (or prospect of one at the moment) I think it’s still ok to long for that but I have no desire to replace that dream with a reality that I hate.
    I come back again to trusting that God has it under control . . .

    June 21, 2012 at 4:14 pm

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  18. he sure does, Erin. timing is everything. it’s okay to long for something but to still understand that it’s not the right time for it. there’s wisdom in that.

    xo,
    ep

    June 23, 2012 at 4:08 am

  19. Nicole J.

    This is fantastic.

    September 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    • elena.teresa.ann

      thanks so much for reading, nicole!

      October 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm

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