Monday, January 2, 2012

Unrelated to Spaceflight Post: Tips on Balancing a Professional and Personal Life for Young Women

Recently on my Facebook profile, a rather spirited debate took place over this post about the domestic violence being experienced by famous blogger/writer Penelope Trunk. I read Penelope's blog frequently and am understandably alarmed by her recent posts.

This post here is not meant to criticize her at all or pass judgment upon her advice or personal choices - we all make our own choices for a reason and I have no room to judge anyone for his or her flaws. I've made a lot of regrettable choices myself in my life and have screwed up many professional opportunities due to my own lack of responsibility. There is no one to blame but myself for some of my worst choices, which for brevity's sake and for my own privacy, I won't go into here. This is a spaceflight blog and I rarely wish to discuss anything intensely personal. I am not claiming perfection, as I have a very long way to go before I can claim to even be efficient in most things.

However, when it comes to domestic abuse, I am passionate about personal safety. In addition, I have been asked by some young women to bestow tips on how to effectively manage a personal and professional life simultaneously. Here's my take on the whole thing:
  1. Don't wait for a man to be a success: I was very lucky to meet and marry a very patient, genuinely great guy who completely supports my writing career. We are lucky to have a very happy relationship. However, not every romantic partner is as understanding as my husband happens to be. If you genuinely would love to have a career in whatever it is you are interested in, don't wait for someone else - GO DO IT. NOW. If the person really loves you, he'll follow you. Don't wait for him to get his shit together; get your shit together first and find out what it takes to be a success for yourself.
  2. If someone, man or woman, is beating you up, YOU ARE IN DANGER and you need to get the hell out of dodge: Seriously, I shouldn't need to bring up any statistics, etc., to get this point across. Violence is not really about violence, it's about CONTROL. It only escalates over the years and gets much, much worse. Get the hell out; abandon your belongings if you must. It's just stuff; you can always buy new stuff. There is NOTHING worth dying for. If you are doing the hitting or "provoking" someone into hitting you on purpose, GET OUT of the relationship immediately. It's just not healthy and you need to go into therapy to figure yourself out. This is not said out of judgment; this is said out of concern for mental health. Violence engenders violence and there is no reason for it, ever, pure and simple. 
That's basically it. Like I wrote earlier, I'm not claiming personal perfection in the least bit; like all human beings, I have my own issues I deal with on a daily basis. However, if you want to be a success at work and at life, you need to be all about self-promotion and you can't allow someone else to dictate your life's choices. Also, violence of any sort in a relationship is NEVER acceptable. 

On a serious note, if you are in a violent relationship, please visit this web site for some helpful resources: http://www.thehotline.org/