Power Stories

Be Outstanding as Yourself

Be outstanding as Yourself 

by Author Martha Douwma | Internal Communications | Member Female Wave of Change*

Little me

I can still see myself, reading a lot. As a little girl at my grandparents’ house. Readers Digest, a monthly magazine to which my grandfather subscribed. With stories about impressive infrastructures and transport, special natural phenomena, personal stories, or horrific accidents with spectacular rescue operations. My grandfather had studied chemistry and he was praised and loved for his experience and continued to work after his retirement out of love for his profession. This was his reading interest. Beforehand, I choose the topics I wanted to read first. Then the stories interested me less, because I had time, and it was expected that we would enjoy ourselves. How many of those magazines will I have read, I wonder. It has certainly brought me a wide interest.

I was the only granddaughter of four grandchildren and didn’t always want to play outside. So I read all the typical female magazines from front to back. The names of (female) progressive politicians are burned in my mind. Those made an impression because working women were still a large minority. For scattering, I also read the advisory section of the tabloids. A stereotype role. My favorite was the columns of a progressive sociologist. About social issues and emancipation. That was new and different from the image of the reality of my childhood.

That formed my subconsciousness at the time. It turned out that they were my role models and inspiration.

Growing awareness

Life can only be understood backward; but it must be lived forwards, said Søren Kierkegaard (philosopher). I truly love this saying. I use it regularly, to look into today, to the future, and to the past.

Recently I found out, that in my youth I had not found a woman or mother who was my role model. Or a family which was my example. A traditional role-play, lesser equality or support, or lack of freedom and independence. Before 30 I felt that I should marry (commit) to myself. Before 30 as a single, I decided that without a man, I would have no children. I had no intention to become a single mother. I met my former husband, a man with roots in Africa. I was in doubt about our relationship but got pregnant unexpectedly. We decided to marry and started a family. It was a rational decision. A life-changing decision brought me very beautiful twins. After a lot of effort and difficulties, we noticed that we were too different. Unfortunately, there was no steady base to build a family and future together. Despite this, we stayed in touch. The children grew up into great young adults.

The adult me

Since I became a mother, I felt like I was living somebody else’s life. “Women should become a mother and have families”. It turned out well, I became a good mother. But how often did I feel locked up? Becoming who I am was a battle, which is affecting me still today. I am proud and happy to conquer the difficulties I met. Proud of how my family (my boys and I) grow in harmony. Proud of the support of my parents and the loyal friends I have. Happy with dancing as my passion, my life balance.

I don’t say that I took the wrong turn. But I see that I lost myself, with an impact on more people for quite a long time. Finally, I found myself again and became stronger. What I have learned and what I wish for myself and other women (of course men too) is that we can stick and stand for, more easily, what is good for us. Being who we are. Becoming who we are, when we need to find our way.

My goals

I love to share stories and inspiration. And I hope a lot of women are encouraged to share their stories too, because we can learn a lot from them and about each other.

I would like to inspire women to stand up for themselves and for all of us. Because we don’t have to defend our choices. We can live our lives accordingly to our ideas and plans. Because this strength is fuelling us and bringing good energy to the ones near us!

By making and telling stories I want to contribute to the awareness that you can take the lead in your personal development and growth. Becoming a leader in your personal or professional life or in change for a better society. I still want to develop myself in my working field, I am still growing as a Communication Specialist and want to discover the field of Sustainability and Gender Equality.

If I can do it, you can do it too!

*Martha is energetically led by heart and purpose, in her own way. Driven by sustainable employability and concerns towards the society and future. Passionate, investigative, and writing. Inspires and translates strategy into stories, by “show don’t tell”. Values cooperation, and social capital, but also reduce, reuse, recycle, and up-cycling. Strongly interested in gender equality, leadership, and independence.