I have never been much of a girly girl. Shopping, gossiping and makeup have never been my bag. This is not be mistaken with me being butch, or one of those girls in high school who would golly everywhere and threaten to beat other girls up. I have always been rather gentle and respectful towards others, just not they type of person you would hear discussing this season’s fashion.
Recently, I have been learning about femininity and what it means to be a strong woman. I think it can be hard to know how a ‘real lady’ should act in this day and age. We are often required to bring out our masculine side in our jobs and busy lives so that we can stand our ground and get things done. But then we also need to be the nurturers and the patient loving people for all those around us.
Finding the balance between the hard-arse, cranky woman that everyone is scared of, and the gentle lady that everyone wants to snuggle up to is tough. Luckily for me, I have found a teacher who I think has got this masculine/feminine thing all sorted. Some people call her a bitch, but not me. To me, she is perfect.
This is Sheera, my lady mentor. Aptly named after the Princess of Power, She-Ra (He-Man’s sister), she is everything I could ever dream of in a woman. She’s poised, smart, funny, strong and has a great personality.
Here are the main lessons I have learnt from Sheera:
1. Be warm and open to all
I actually have two dogs with very different personalities. Sheera is very approachable, not aggressive, and interested in other dogs. When she meets another dog, her tail wags and she welcomes the experience. The other one, on the other hand, attempts to rip all other dogs’ heads off (luckily he is only a small dog). He barks and growls at dogs 500m away. I have learnt that life is so much more enjoyable when I act like Sheera in new situations.
2. When the time comes to be protective, be fearless
Very rarely does Sheera feel the need to be protective but when she does, ain’t nothing scaring her. Even though my other dog annoys the shit out of her most of the time – jumping on her and pushing her out the way if she’s getting more attention than him – she takes it upon herself to look after him when he needs it. Numerous times, I have seen her come to his defence if he is being approached by a big or threatening dog. If I am getting angry at him (probably for the 10th time that day for knocking something over, jumping on something he’s not meant to, or stealing food – he’s a Jack Russell – enough said), she will come and stand right in between me and him to shelter him. That takes balls, man.
3. Rest and rejuvenate
Sheera spends at least 50% of her time resting and sleeping. I think that’s why she’s so calm and relaxed. Although, as humans we could never afford that much time, it does act as a reminder that rest is just as important as getting things done. We need to prioritise some down time in order to stay balanced and in a calmer headspace.
4. Get what you want by being smart, not pushy
I think, as women, we can fall into the trap of thinking that we have to be overly aggressive to get what we want – show that we are tough and not a pushover. Especially in male dominated environments. Sheera has taught me that it doesn’t need to be that way at all. While my other dog gets what he wants by being in everyone’s faces, begging for pats and jumping on their laps, Sheera quietly goes about her business in the background. She sniffs around and finds crumbs and food scraps that the other dog is too busy to take any notice of. She also gets into cupboards and bins when no one is looking, which although I don’t condone, usually scores her some extra food. So she gets what she wants.
5. Unconditional love and forgiveness
In the past I had to travel a lot and even though I would always get someone to look after the dogs, Sheera would get a bit down about me leaving her. On my returns though, she would always forget about it within half an hour and go back to being her beautiful, loving self. The same thing happens if I am not able to walk them that day or if I am unable to feed them until a bit later than the usual time. It pisses her off but she always forgives and forgets.
As much as Sheera has been a great role model for me, there is one thing that she does that I will never do – eat another dog’s poo. I do have standards!