The Northern Connection

Women of Substance, Women of NorthCon

This International Women’s Month, I had the privilege of participating in a content project with fellow women bloggers and content creators of NorthCon. It was indeed a celebration of our diverse personalities and backgrounds, that was bound together by our common vision to bring and share relevant, ethical, and authentic content to others.

One Saturday morning, three of the five women who were part of NorthCon met at the Hotel Supreme in Baguio City. Joining us were Paolo San Juan, one of Baguio’s sought-after make-up artists, and BJ Pagtulingan, one of Benguet’s best photographers. Heading up this project was our very own Macky Benj.

It was my first time in a long while to be dolled up and made up. It was also my first time having a photoshoot, with me as a subject! I had always been self-conscious, more so now that I have more than enough insecurities with my body and the way I look. My nerves somehow settled as the morning went on, because of the company I was in. What I dreaded turned out to be one of the most fun and exhilarating experiences of my life. And the proof of this is how wonderful our photos turned out.

Sharing this experience with Ane and Rae was empowering to say the least. I have always been very self-conscious about having my photo taken, more so this past two years when my metabolism seemed to have taken a vacation and my hormones were wreaking havoc on me physically and emotionally. It felt good to be doted on and given a chance to glam up.

Which brings me to why we were doing this project in the first place. More than half of the core team of NorthCon are women; each of us has our own stories to tell. And everyone deserves to be celebrated, not only during International Women’s Month, but always.

Half a century’s worth of lessons

Who would have thought that I would reach the half-century mark? Yeah, am that old! But, hell yeah, I am proud to say I have lived this long!

I wanted to mark this significant milestone with a very personal piece on womanhood on how it is being a woman in this day and age. Perhaps, I thought, I would churn out some useful life lessons. On the other hand, it may very well be the opposite. Here goes.

Lesson 1: Never stop learning, never stop growing

It’s no longer just about having a learning mindset. What is more important now is having a growth mindset. I have long embraced lifelong learning, learning as you go along with life, and being open to new things and experiences. This has been my mantra for most of my professional life. I never really thought about having a growth mindset up until the past five years or so.

I had always seen growth as moving forward or upward and nothing more. As it turns out, growth also means using your negative experiences such as failures, and turning them into opportunities to learn and gain new and fresh perspectives.

The major setbacks I had early on in my freelance writing career – accepting writing jobs for a pittance, and being too lax on my intellectual property – not only helped me become an established writer. It also made me more passionate about fighting for the rights of freelance writers as workers.

Lesson 2: Celebrate You

Don’t be afraid to celebrate your wins, big or small. As women, we sometimes belittle what we have achieved with our sweat and blood. This is because women in our society are perceived as “mayabang” or “mataas ang tingin sa sarili” if they openly share their accomplishments. Women are not supposed to be heard – they should be meek and humble, as a Filipina should be.

Ever wonder why some women, even the most successful and accomplished ones, feel that they are not deserving of praise? Or feel that they are a fraud? This imposter syndrome, which is a result of social conditioning, makes women feel inadequate or unqualified even if they are not.

As a woman, I have oftentimes suffered from this self-doubt, especially when times get tough. But at the end of the day, I would think to myself – who else will get me out of this mess I made? Who else will dust off the rubble left by failure but me? It is not by sheer luck that I overcome hurdles – it is because I am more than capable to do it.

Lesson 3: Choose When to Give a F*ck

When you are young, your energy seems endless, allowing you to give more of yourself to many pursuits and interests you have. As you grow older, however, you will eventually realize that it is not endless and you can only give so much without exhausting yourself.

I am not only talking about physical energy but also about emotional and spiritual energy. One thing that I have learned is to choose where to channel these energies. This means choosing my battles and choosing when to give a f*ck. This also means choosing to be with people who share the same values and principles. This means staying away from those who do not contribute to your growth. I am lucky to have found my tribe among friends and sisters who love and respect the written word.

Being able to give energy also means knowing how to replenish it. As the saying goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup. Self-care allows you to do this.

Special thanks to Paolo Carantes San Juan, Make-up Artist, BJ Pagtulingan, for our photos, and our project manager, Macky Benj. Follow and like my page The Writing Life.

3 thoughts on “Women of Substance, Women of NorthCon”

  1. Celebrating YOU, celebrating small wins and choosing when to give a f*ck! I love these, Ms. Liezl! Keep inspring not only women but every person that you meet and each person who reads this and your blogs!

  2. ‘Choosing when to give a f*ck’ is the best lesson I’ve learned quite recently but I wish I learned it years ago pa, it would have saved me a lot of heart aches and stress.😅 But I guess I needed to go through all that otherwise I wouldn’t have learned it at all.😅

    Thank you for being in my life, I truly feel like you (and the other women of Northcon) make me want to be a better version of myself.

  3. Pingback: If I Was "The Man": What It Means To Be A Woman | Northcon

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