Shana P., from Milford, NH responded to the contest after it was closed. Entry sent April 6, 2007. She earned a consulation prize for entering. Shana would be one of the top contestant if she submitted her contest before it was closed. See her response below.
1. How does it feel to be a woman in the 21st Century?
In a word; Empowering. Today there are so many freedoms and so many choices that were never available in the Centuries prior. The technologies are getting smaller and yet somehow simpler. (in some cases, surely not all) I believe the world today is really trying to put a conscious effort toward "thinking green" and putting together community organizations to fuel our intense desire to make our world, our childrens world, our childrens childrens world, and so on. I think certain tragedies have brought us closer as a nation, even if just a little. Everything just has so much more meaning now than ever. Relationships, family and values are taking great strides to step in the right direction as people are realizing friends and family are the crux of a happy, healthful lifestyle. I think woman are also focusing more on taking care of themselves just as much as they do their spouse and children. We realize now that in order to make others happy around us, we need to make ourselves happy and find peace and joy within ourselves. Things like working out and eating healthier are no longer taking a backburner to making sure the house is spic and span perfect or putting everyone elses needs before hers. I beleive todays woman are focusing on balance. Not letting one thing oiutweigh another which is equally important because of feeling guilty that they are taking time out for themselves. Woman today are strong, sensible, educated, and no there are no boundaries stopping them from doing anything and everything they want to do personally and professionly. And all the while keeping our feminine side in check. Just a matter of balance, a juggling act of sorts but we woman do it so well. We are Women, Hear us Roar!!!! (then please excuse us, we've got a roast to take out of the oven!
2. What distinguishes you from other women?
I think what distinguishes me most from other women is that I have qualities about me is that I can be very dominant and strong willed, and very aggressive when I set out to do something and have difficulties with authority. Every personality test I've ever taken tells me I am "creative" and have incredible talent. They usually say I'd be a great manager. My ex used to tell me, "your not like all the other wimpy girls out there, you'd be good being in charge and giving order for the army." I don't know if I should have taken it for a compliment (which I did at the time, since my self esteem isn't exactly on any kind of pedestal so anything even percieved to be a compliment, I ate it right up for all it was worth. I have a very "strong willed" mother, (nd that's putting it in very mild terms,) and an extremely dominant father where everything was his way or the highway. And if you crossed him, watch out. So I truly believe that I didn't have much of a chance of being a meek little ultra femine girlie girl. But I accept it and have grown quite accustomed to it. I am able to speak my mind where a lot of people might hold it in.
3. How do you celebrate your success and the success of others?
The way I celebrate my success and the sucess of others. Well, for starters, I am a mother of 3 beautiful children ages 11, 7 and 3 and a wife to the most wonderful man God could have sent into my life. We are not wealthy by any means and often struggle to maintain the "American Dream" yet still I feel I have won the emotional lottery if you will. Many people have different views as to how they measure their success as well as the success of others (which is also much like comparison) As hard as it is not to compare what you have against your neighbors brand new boat they just carefully glided oh so gently next to the shiny benz they purchased only a few months ago. I believe although it is human nature to compare; either materialistically or vanity wise; it is also where the green eyed monster called envy rears its ugly head and can damage relationships. To sum it all up, sucess is achieving your goals in life, big or little, doing what you want in life and having positive and healthy relationships that add meaning and substance to your life. Its about loving those you care about intently and unconditionally. And last but not least, it's going through life with a positive outlook and attitude and do everything with deep intent and purpose! Be grateful for who you are, what you have, and always strive to do your very best. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone but when jealousy and negativity start to find its way into the scenario, its time to reevaluate all you have and how fortunate we are to be alive in this land of freedom and opportunity. Whenever I start to feel down on myself, I try to think about the less fortunate in the many countries and the fact that we take what we have far too much for granted. It is then that I stop feeling negative and thank God for all that I am and all that I have for being given the most wonderful family a woman could ever ask for!!!