The women I work with are all a bit rebellious.
Here’s what happened:
They spent their twenties doing what was expected of them. Perhaps it didn’t feel like it at the time, but their desire to strive toward some or all of the classically-defined milestones of adulthood – to achieve certain career goals, enter into a long-term relationship, perhaps have children, buy a house, adopt a dog – were, at least in part, driven by a compulsion for external validation or belonging.
And there was no way to recognize it at the time. No, the recognition came sometime in their thirties when they realized that, though they liked their kids well enough, perhaps, and their partner was a pretty good score, other aspects of their lives didn’t feel quite right.
And so began the rebellious process of alignment.
Maybe the house in the ‘burbs wasn’t what they pictured calling home, but it was close to schools and amenities, and had really nice granite countertops.
But the job had to go.
Maybe the kitten heels and pencil skirts started to feel a little bit too constricting…
…but those Vans looked pretty cute.
The 2.5 kids and the dog: definitely good for a few laughs.
But forget the institutionalized school system; they’re enrolled in Forest School.
The minivan is ridiculously convenient.
But there’s nothing quite like the feeling of total badassery that comes with riding your motorcycle around town.
Not all of the acts of alignment that women engage in are rebellious on the surface: they’re not all homeschooling motorcycle babes. But they are rebellious in the sense that they are outside the norm. These women are stepping outside the boxes that society (and themselves!) have used to define them, and they are finding their own path.
Often that path is fraught with what seem, on the surface, like contradictions. The kitten heels go so nicely with the granite countertops and the corporate job, to be sure. But that is what we have come to expect, and women who are pursuing more alignment in their lives are living up to no one’s expectations of them but their own.
It takes courage to live a life that is completely unique. Often that life looks confusing to others because it is different from the schema of success that we’ve come to value as a society. To walk a path of authenticity, alignment in your values, desires, and potential, to live in your own truth, is a rebellious act.
It is, perhaps, the most important act of rebellion we can aspire to.
And “aspire to” is the operative intention here, because rebellion is not a single, unexpected, unprecedented action, but a series of those actions, a practice. Though by definition alignment comes naturally, it does not always come easily. And it doesn’t necessarily happen every day. The more well-trodden path may feel alluring, despite the fact that you must walk it in those damn kitten heels.