Gabrielle Gonzales

HOW DID YOU IDENTIFY YOUR PASSION AND THE WORK THAT SATISFIED YOU VERSUS WORK THAT JUST PAID THE BILLS?

In my short life time I’ve had many jobs that just paid bills, a career that has been changed a few times and the creation of my very own business. The one thing that remained the same in all my endeavors was my empathy. Empathy may seem small compared to ambition or the need to be number but empathy for me stems from my passion to help others. What gives me self-worth is my ability to help others whenever I can, in a way it has allowed me to become a natural born leader in every environment. I can honestly say when I’m clocking in and out from a 9-5 or finding new ways to help improve my own business you can always count on my passion and empathy shining through. I’ll never stop caring for others or improving the lives around me with an act of kindness or a simple smile. What makes me who I am, also makes me versatile in any field while finding my own purpose in life.

FFOR YOU PERSONALLY, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FEMINISM AND EMPOWERMENT?

I can hear Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s voice echoing the words from her “We Should All Be Feminists”, she states:
“We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls “You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man”
Because I am female I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are”.

I feel pain in the struggle for acceptance and I feel love from the support of others who believe but most of all I have confidence in the hope that we can all become Feminists in some way. Feminism is to believe in the equality of the sexes socially, politically and economically. Feminism is not just a movement but a revolution, to be celebrated, to be exonerated from persecution and most importantly to be acknowledge around the world. It is and always will be our basic human right to exist as woman.

Empowerment is the process of becoming more of something, claiming that of which was once yours. Woman around the world have been showered with all sorts of power; power to heal, power to love unconditionally and others the power to create endlessly. Unfortunately, many of those women have had that power stripped forcefully and blatantly taken away by their country, their cultures normality and by their own family. Woman are conditioned to believe that we are not enough, we will never be and we will never know what it’s like to be complete and whole. Empowerment is about reaching out to all those women and encouraging their confidence in themselves and their ability. It’s about reminding them that we have always had that power and it’s time to rekindle the flame and show the rest of the world what Women’s Empowerment looks like.

WHO WILL ETERNALLY BE A WOMAN YOU ADMIRE AND RESPECT, AND WHY?

As a child I had to grow up quickly and take care of myself and younger siblings. It wasn’t till I was a little older did I have the honor to meet amazing women whom I admire and most absolutely respect with every ounce of me. I believe I am the woman today because of the women who took me under their wing and shared with me the many life lessons I would never live long enough to learn myself. Each of those women whom I admire represents the many facets of my life including my career, relationships, what it meant to be a woman in this age and pioneering through adversity. I whole heartedly believe I am a successful woman today because those women saw the success in me first when I didn’t. Wither it was the comfort of a shoulder and reminding myself it’s okay to cry or reminding me why higher education was important, it  always started with you are worth every struggle and success just believe in yourself. I consider myself blessed that I could meet strong, intelligent and courageous women from all walks of life.

IN LIGHT OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF OUR HASHTAG #WHYITRIBE, WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO CELEBRATE WHO WE ALREADY ARE TODAY?

It’s important to celebrate woman every day, it’s those subtle validations that remind woman of our importance to society. We have come so far from being homemakers in the 1920’s to entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers and philanthropist in the twentieth century. However, when there is success we can always expect someone to discredit our hard work and determination. A lot of times successful women are brought down by their looks, their culture and their gender. Today and everyday will be different, #WhyITribe is about empowering woman from all cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. THE TRIBE is a support system that influences and encourages body positivity, higher education and global networking amongst women. This is a type of platform that should be encouraged and available through social media and other informative sources to reach all women. The smallest achievement should be praised and nurtured to inspire and motivate woman to do the same. The only glass ceiling that exists is the ones we place on ourselves, it’s time we shatter them and avoid any illusion that ultimately hinders us from our goals. Who we are; are the women we create, nurture and support now and in the future!

WHY DO YOU THINK WOMEN SHY AWAY FROM CELEBRATING OR PRAISING THEMSELVES SO MUCH?

I believe the reason why so many women steer clear form praising themselves and/or accepting praise from others is quite simple: we have been conditioned not to. A tale as old as time, women through the ages have accomplished so much from human rights activism, Women/girls educations advocates, physicist, elected heads of state and astronauts. For so long women have been told their brains are too small, they are the weaker sex, they don’t belong in politics or we are 2nd class citizens undeserving of equal rights. That it has conditioned us to focus on our inabilities and faults, so we are constantly striving to be better without acknowledging are smallest successes. Even times like the current, women face so much adversity from their inner circles that we have unfortunately internalized our defeat, that it should be expected to fail or forever be incomplete. It’s not just in the workplace that women  feel defeated but also in relationships to. How many times have we been complimented on our smile, maybe our outfit and have been left utterly speechless. Maybe our response is “thanks” just to change the conversation or in the back our mind questioning the motive of others (you’re lying, what do you want?). Even so, women all over the world should start conditioning ourselves to love and validate the hard work we do even if it goes unnoticed. It’s time to realize we are deserving of unconditional love and support from ourselves first so that we may praise others the same way.

HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THE TENDENCY TO DISCREDIT COMPLIMENTS YOU ARE GIVEN?

The military was a huge part of my life and in some small ways still is. I remember being a very determined female wanting to prove to the world that I was tough 17-year-old kid. I had established independence long before this but in my mind, I needed to prove myself even further. My whole life I had very unsupportive family such as physical and mental violence that no kid should have had to endure. I knew in my heart I didn’t have confidence but I did have undeniable strength and will. I thought joining the military would give me this confidence and support I needed. As an adult I was so use to criticism, put downs and other junk that it made me a horrible critic of myself. It took me many, many years later to understand that the love and support I desperately wanted needed to come from me first and foremost. Now when I get validations or praises for my work or close friends I try to absorb as much of that moment as possible. If I can in that moment ill express my gratitude towards them and how much their friendship means to me. Acknowledgment is the first step to accepting praise or compliments, the next step is thanking them for that moment or act of kindness. In this world we can never be too short on kindness. I repeat these two steps daily and try to get in the habit of sharing kindness and accepting kindness with humility.

HOW DOES SOCIETY REINFORCE THE IDEA WE ARE NOT ENOUGH AND HOW CAN WE TAKE THAT POWER BACK?

One of the ways Society reinforces the idea that women aren’t enough by attacking women’s insecurities. I notice more and more each day that women are always brought down by their looks or being told if they start doing “this” maybe you will be happier. Just the suggestive nature in which society defines beauty in magazines and social media platforms has been the leading case of eating disorders and increase in depression amongst women. We are bombarded with images of celebrities who have altered their bodies and are now being renowned as ideal beauty standards. Not to mention the number of celebrities who are representing and advertising companies that sell waist trainers and fat burners that are not approved by doctors. It’s crazy to think we live in a world where women are not being recognized for their intelligence or ability, but rather being judged on how small her waist size is. Let me make one thing clear, I pass no judgment on women who decide to alter themselves because I believe to each their own. Changing how you look doesn’t make you any less of a woman then the woman standing next to you.

WHY IS THE TRIBE MOVEMENT IMPORTANT?

THE TRIBE represents women empowerment, a type of liberation from false beliefs of what women ought to be, instead of women choosing who they want to become. THE TRIBE is a platform that gives women from all backgrounds a way to connect with one another in a proactive space. By sharing stories, insecurities, adversity and triumphs we are all one of the same. THE TRIBE isn’t just a movement but a catalyst for change on how women view themselves, turning them into pioneers of inspiration. One person can’t change the world however, its takes one person to notice the difference and influence others. Together we have become a Tribe of women igniting the flame for all women across the globe to be the best version of themselves. So why is THE TRIBE movement important, you ask? I can’t think of one reason why it shouldn’t be.

Occupation: Pet Sitter, Veteran owned business based in New Braunfels, Texas

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