One, two, three … The sun was streaming into my classroom as I absentmindedly counted away in my upper-division math lecture. There were fewer than 10 girls in a room of nearly 40 people — maybe 11, including our professor.
Perhaps I didn’t notice the skewed ratio of boys to girls in my math class sooner than that day because I’m lucky to say that I have a strong support system in my classmates and my professor, who is a female teaching a difficult subject in a male-dominated field. Yet this isn’t always the case. More often than not (and I can say this from personal experience), it takes courage to speak up and feel comfortable in a room or industry full of men.
I can wholeheartedly say that I’m frustrated. I am frustrated with the way women are repeatedly put down and mistreated. I am frustrated that we feel scared and objectified in more ways than we’d like to ever fathom. And I am frustrated that we worry about speaking up. Yet as I continue to grow up in a time ever so important as now, I’ve realized that the best thing we can do is speak up, find a support system and take time for ourselves.
When everything seems to be out of control and feels like an entire mess, sometimes one of the most important things we can do is take a step back and decompress. If any time is the appropriate time to do so, it’s now. Here are some ways you can — or at least try to — do so.
Take a break and relax
One of the simplest ways to take a minute and recuperate is to spend time taking care of yourself. Take a walk outside, meditate, go to the gym, read a book or do yoga. If you take time to care for yourself, you’ll be able to think clearly about everything that’s happening and how you can make an impact.
Embrace your self-confidence
You are a confident individual and no one can tell you otherwise. If you’re ever lacking energy or confidence, listen to some motivational songs. Whenever I’m feeling tired or upset about anything, I listen to some of my favorite songs as a simple fix to recharge. You are a winner. We are all winners. Embrace it.
While the power of the written word is strong, the power of the spoken word is infinitely stronger. I’ve realized there’s no point in staying quiet. If we experience or witness something wrong, we need to speak up and not be submissive. Just because someone thinks you wouldn’t hurt a fly does not by any means insinuate that you should not and cannot speak up. As The Weeknd croons in his collaboration “Coming Out Strong” with Future, “They take my kindness for weakness / Still comin’ out strong.” We can be strong and emphatic while remaining kind and thoughtful.
Hang out with friends
One of my friends and I had individual experiences that disgusted and angered us. We thought these boys were our friends, but the way in which they talked to us and other girls was flat-out disrespectful and hurtful. Just talking to my friend about everything and venting to each other made me feel, surprisingly, much better. Watch a movie on Netflix together, laugh a little, eat snacks together, but most importantly, talk to your friends about personal experiences and everything happening with the #MeToo movement. You’ll surely feel better, and the first step to progress is to talk.
These are just some ideas you can try to implement if you’re going through a tough time or if what’s happening in the media strikes a chord with you. While these aren’t solutions to what is happening all around us, they’re temporary ideas that’ll help assuage your uneasiness. No experience is insignificant, and if you stay aware and take time for yourself, you’ll have the power to make a change step by step. We at the Clog believe in you.
Avanti Mehrotra is the blog editor. Contact Avanti Mehrotra at [email protected].