Hello lovelies! So today I was lucky enough to interview someone I love and admire, Aly Dowdell. I met Aly at a convention just outside of Chicago, where she was kind enough to act as a makeup model for one of my panels! I am so excited to have Aly be a part of SFC September, and have her share her thoughts on being a strong female! Please show Aly some love by liking this post!
Tell the readers a bit about yourself.
My name is Aly. I’m a 29 years old, have a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and two Associate of Science degrees, and am in the legal field, although I’ve also worked in the oilfield, the prison systems, fast food, the funeral industry… and for two beautiful summers, I was a professional pyro-technician. That’s right–someone PAID me to BLOW THINGS UP for a living.
What do you think is the greatest strength you have, and how do you bring that out in the work you do?
I really, genuinely like people. I love to meet people, to listen to them talk and tell stories and laugh. I like to help them through hard times and sit quietly with them while we relax. It helps me relate to our clients and my coworkers, and makes me empathetic and aware of the minor changes in the world around me.
What do you “geek out” over?
OMG–how much time do you have? Harry Potter, Magic the Gathering, Doctor Who, Sherlock, D&D, tabletop games, Supernatural, board games, Firefly, cosplay, Marvel, Dr. Horrible, Ren Faires, Orphan Black… Oh! And my husband and I just started watch Sense8 on Netflix. HOW AWESOME IS THAT SHOW!?!?
How do you express your femininity on a daily basis?
I don’t wear pants. Yeah, I know, there are a ton of other ways to do so, but that’s my thing. I wear skirts and dresses every day-I think I -might- own a pair of pants, somewhere? I always spawns a ton of questions, like “Does your husband make you wear those? Is it a religious thing? Do you not like pants?” But really, for me, it’s a form of female rebellion. When I worked in the oilfield, I have to really work harder than the guys; one, because i was their managers, and they absolutely deserved me giving them every ounce i had, and two, because safety and societal standards mean girls aren’t allowed to be delicate, overly feminine girls and still succeed in the job I was doing. I spent my days wearing fire resistant jeans and long sleeve shirts with my hair tied back, covered in dirt and grease and god knows what. When I left that position, I threw away every pair of pants I owned because they were stained and destroyed by my work. I walked to my closet, got out a dress and heels, and haven’t felt like taking them off!
Do you find you are treated differently when you act more feminine? As if you can’t be strong and powerful?
Who are your biggest female role models? How have they helped shape who you are today?
The women in my family are such amazing influences. I come from a very long line of very stubborn, determined, creative women. My Granny raised 4 kids, drove a long-haul semi, ran a farm, and took care of my disabled Papaw. When he passed away, she and her son opened up what because the largest asphalt plant in Western Oklahoma–he drove the truck, she ran the office. My Mahaw took care of the boys and Papaw when Granny was out working. She married her high school sweetheart, was a competition water skier, ran a ranch, a carpentry business, built busses and computer parts, ran a dry cleaners, went from making clothes to upholstering furniture, ran the house and raised two girls. And my mom is the Registrar for a 4-year college during the week, and rides a motorcycle on the weekend. I’ve never seen any of them go, “Oh, I shouldn’t work hard and earn what I want, I’m just a girl.”
How do you deal with people you can’t like things “because you are a girl”? Have you encountered this?
I’m going to tell you guys a secret… I absolutely love when people underestimate me because “I am a girl.” Why? Because I am a Slytherin, and there is nothing I like better than watching people’s world collapse when I destroy their precious dogma.
What advice would you give to young women who are afraid to express, who feel like they can’t be a strong female?
You carry a strength in you that no one knows. It’s in the shyness of your smile, the curve of your calf, the swing of your dress and the powerful click of your heels. It’s hiding in the bob of your ponytail and the crinkle in the fabric of your t-shirt and the texture of your denim jeans; it’s behind the force of your laughter and it traces down the track silent tears leave on your face.
Your strength isn’t defined by your sex, your height, your weight, your income, your education or any other arbitrary quantifier that other people tell you you should be defined by. Your strength is determined by you, in the quiet moments of your life–by the days when you get out of bed despite the fact the the entire world is sitting on your shoulders. It’s found in the compassion when you reach out to a friend who seems just a little bit off and ask, “Are you ok? Are you, really?” It’s in the memories that make you smile when you’re sitting in the quiet, and in the sheer joy you hadn’t expected when you start laughing and can’t stop until you’re laughing and crying and holding your sides and the next day you’re sore and your lungs ache.
Your strength is YOU. Absolutely, 100% you, being you, even when being “you” means pretending you’re someone else to get it done. When you couldn’t carry it anymore and let yourself sit and cry until your were quiet and empty and slept until you could stand up again.
“Female” comes in so many different forms and definitions. “Strong female” comes in twice that number.
There is only one of those definitions that matters, and it’s only three letters long– “Y. O. U.”
Isn’t she such a gem? Thank you Aly for being a part of SFC September. It was so lovely to interview you and hear all you have to say about being a strong female. If you want to see even MORE interviews and tutorials for SFC September, follow this blog so they come right to your inbox!
Till next time,