#ChooseToChallenge – Positive Reflection Of The Week
#ChooseToChallenge….Yourself (An ode to Women) – by Alia Datoo
On the 8th of March, we celebrated International Women’s Day. Not that we need a day dedicated to celebrate us, because let’s face it, we celebrate womanhood every single day. But, I along with many others Chose to Challenge the paradigm and decided to take myself outdoors.
I had had the worst two weeks. I lost my beloved grandma suddenly and was also dealing with a malady during that time. I was bed-ridden for almost two weeks and was at my wit’s end. So when the opportunity presented itself and feeling a lot better, I decided to head out into my playground and climb a mountain.
Big mistake! You never go for a physically challenging task after being immobile for two weeks. If there was any way to describe my experience it would be “Sheer Hell!” But you know what they say, “If you’re going through hell, keep going”.
And kept going I did. Inching slowly towards the summit, I chose to challenge myself. Not to let any illness or setbacks keep me from attaining my goal – which in no way was the summit. It was a personal vendetta to prove to myself and anything out there, that I will not stop. Nor will I be brought down on my knees.
Apparently, I was not the only one out there challenging themselves. Along what seemed a long and arduous climb I met two and a half women who were on that mountain armed with resilience and determination.
As I sat on a rock (note: SAT not knelt) contemplating my life choices, a first-time hiker came to rest next to me. This was her first hike and her birthday gift to herself. She had no idea what she had signed up for, but at that moment she knew, “I need to get fit”. We sat and chatted for a bit and somewhere in the conversation she mentioned turning back. But then, what was the real reason she was there on that mountain for? As we hit the summit she smiled in delight, “I guess I am resilient after all! I made it through the worst experience of my life!” (Drumroll please).
Did I mention there were two and a half women? Well, soon after this Resilient Woman and I began walking together, we met another woman who seemed to be struggling on her way up. Get this: she was asthmatic! She was huffing and puffing, but her eyes were set on that summit. I didn’t have to look into her eyes long enough to recognize the determination she had to get to the summit by beating all the odds. With a quick puff of her inhaler, she gathered her courage, and together the three of us trudged along in our own personal journeys towards the famed summit. At this point, I could have sworn I was experiencing a myriad of heat-stroke, sun-stroke, altitude sickness symptoms topped with anxiety and frustration. Why was this so hard? Had I not climbed this massif a million times already? What is wrong with you! Ah well, I’m obstinate!
And I know what you are waiting for – the “half woman”! Actually, she is a 15-year-old girl who attempted to conquer her first mountain. Not far from where I met the asthmatic, this little woman was bent over, retching. My immediate response was to take out a bottle of electrolytes and offer this to her to get her rehydrated. But she politely declined and said, “I’m OK.” We all stood by her giving her both the space and time she needed to recover, and soon she was up, backpack strapped on her back, ready to march ahead. “Are you sure you are ok?” asked the first women. “Yes, I can do this!” And together this army of four resilient, determined and persistent women marched towards their summit.
They say it’s not about the climb to the top, but what happens along the way to the top. And I am sure, that in between the starting point and the summit of life, everyone is faced with a situation where they can either choose to give up and turn back, or challenge themselves and keep moving forward.
Choose to Challenge the perceptions, the mindsets and the status quo that we are the weaker sex. Challenge yourself to push through even when things seem not just hard but impossible. Choose to Challenge the situations that hold you back, standing in the way of you and your goals. Choose to break through, instead of breaking down. Choose to Challenge.