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 Heroine is not a Hero with Boobs!

Haha…that makes me chuckle — the ‘truth’ always springs a laugh when it lands!

I woke up to this. Can I tell you a Story?

As I crafted adventure and success in the early years of my career — trying to be that ‘Hero with Boobs’ — I tried to accomplish like a man in the testosterone-filled world I was thrust into to pursue my working life.

I was working in the investment banking world then, and I wore suits made from the material of a man’s suits, oxford shirts, smashed down my boobs, and carried the briefcase — to look like my male counterparts. I even cut my hair to within an inch of its life.

Maybe I thought that with this costume that no one would kick me out.

It was also protection. On Wall Street and in Silicon Valley, women have had to find a way to elude the male attention to carry out with their financial fortitude. And much of my career included trying to carry on when there were few rules to support and protect women, including the ‘wild west’ games on Wall Street.

One day, I was walking down the broad city street in the heart of Philadelphia when I ran across a man who was the Treasurer of the City. He was a client of my firm. I had known him in many bond financings, and I knew to steer clear of him, as he had a reputation that hung out in front of him.

As I passed him, he said to me: “Joan, you look perfectly dowdy.” It had worked, I was off his radar screen in my drab, bulky, man’s wear! I quickly said to him: “Billy, coming from you, that’s a compliment!”

But it was dreadful. My femininity screamed. I was forcing myself daily into an appearance that was foreign to me.

One day, one of the guys that I worked with in my office said to me: “But Joan, you wear really sexy underwear!” I retorted, “But how do you know that?” I was shocked at this comment.

But here’s the rub, it was true. I don’t know how he knew — but my femininity just had to express itself somewhere! I was like the Arab women that wear their garb, and then have fashion supreme underneath it all that’s their statement of how they see themselves.

Yikes, as much as I tried to use this escape from my identity to protect myself — it felt awkward and misaligned and a high price to pay.

At the time, I was willing to be inauthentic. I was under the illusion that it could lead to my success. It was a ‘man’s’ world, and for those of us women newly in the boardrooms of our companies, we tried this path out.

But, as much as I persuaded my mind to play this game so I could ‘fit in’, my whole being was loudly proclaiming otherwise.

How did I get that sexy lingerie, you ask?

Well, that’s a funny continuation of the Story too.

Do you know how a drunk person finds themselves in a bar? They don’t even know how they got there. They just know that some invisible force strongly pulled them in that direction. Then, they are there, satisfying a strong urge. It’s compelling and gets their attention — good or bad.

We are compelled. Humans, that is. We have a nature than is deeper than what our minds overtly tell us to do. When you are inauthentic, authenticity is dogging you. It’s that strong force. For me too.

You too?

I would find myself wandering around the lingerie department in Bloomingdales, wondering how I got there! Something had just compelled me to go ward off the heavy testosterone of Wall Street with some lace, lovely color, and femininity. I remember thinking that this would be a place that I wouldn’t be found by the ravishes of the contrived world I’d chosen.

Somehow, I was authentic here, in the lingerie department….and could be so for a while before I went back into the shroud of the male bastion.

And, Bloomingdales in New York had a great lingerie department.

I wondered, at the time, “was I a little weird?” But I got the message. I craved lace and feeling like a woman. It was too taxing to try to come off as a man when that wasn’t me. I believe that people can do weird things when they are out of sorts just to try to balance things out.

The message was loud and clear: I was a Heroine, not a Hero! There is a very distinct difference. My nature was calling me out. And, this life became harder and harder for me as I struggled to play the part.

Here’s the thing: I don’t know if this really happened next — or if I just dreamed it — like my subconscious telling me information that my active mind was trying to disrupt.

I was married at the time. And we lived in a condo that had a separate dressing room. The marriage wasn’t going well, but that’s another Story — but hello, who couldn’t guess that from the box I’d been putting myself into?

The dressing room had big closets. One day when I looked into mine, all I saw were these ugly brown suits hanging side by side. There wasn’t even a pattern or a print — just all shades of dreary brown. It ignited a fire in me to leap into the closet, thrashing, grabbing all these clothes and throwing them out into the hallway, for good.

They were an insult to my femininity. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

In a Fangirl blog, a woman who pens as “Lex” decries the profundity of a Woman as a Hero. She points out that the framework for a Hero is majorly bound up in the values, conventions, and perspectives upon which this understanding is built — and derives from historical myths and stories occurring in very sexist eras of history.

Lex points out that the feminist Journey — The Heroine’s Journey® — has other considerations and experiences which are explicitly in a woman’s life. Her article is titled: “The Heroine’s Journey®: How Campbell’s Model Doesn’t Fit.”

I totally agree.

The goal for our lives is not to see our Stories, our female experience, as looking just like the male Journey — a version of a Hero with Boobs.

That’s as inauthentic for Women — as I was in that horrible Wall Street garb, smashing my Boobs, and razor cutting my hair!

There is a fluid and emotional Journey that compels Women. Women have a decidedly different journey through life in their maturation than does a man.

Here’s another secret I’ll share with you. When I was in those Wall Street circles, when I brought my femininity with me — it was very threatening. That’s another reason that I tried to cover it up.

Because, the truth is that a woman rooted in her nature, strong from her core — The Heroine, is a force to be reckoned with.

That was then, and this is now — and what I will say to you is that the world really needs your authentic self now — Your Heroine Self. It needs your strength, your wisdom, your grounding, and all that is you — to balance the yin with the yang of these crazy times.

Now, is the calling for Heroines. Do you hear the call? Now is the time for Women to take part in shaping the world as we will know it with our feminine spirit intact.

This call is for you. I would be thrilled for you to Journey with me on this magnificent adventure that calls women forth.

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The Heroine’s Journey is an internal journey for you to claim your Self-Worth and your Voice. (It is soooo not the Hero’s Journey). The Heroine’s Journey is the feminine pathway!

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The Heroine’s Journey is the plotline that underlines all of our lives, while each of our stories is uniquely different.

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The Heroine’s Journey is a gift with all things working for you.

The Heroine’s Journey is the best adventure of your life.

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