London, United Kingdom
They belong to…
Charlotte Miles, 34, British. A Filmmaker and fitness professional. Aspiring athlete and storyteller. Currently dating with no kids..
What it’s like to walk in her shoes for a day…
Always lots of work, a crazy schedule, some weightlifting or movement training and time with people I care for. But honestly, way too much work right now.
Growing up in her shoes she was…
This is where it gets more interesting I guess.
So I grew up as an only child into a staunchly catholic family. There was a very traditional setting within the church and at home of what a female was for…child-bearing, cooking, cleaning, tending to the needs of others. I saw this in my Mother. She diligently looked after all around her, sacrificing her own needs and health to make sure everyone else was ok. And often the gratitude she received in return was lacking and therefore she based her sense of achievement on whether people were happy or not. She attached her sense of self worth to how “happy” she could make people and even at a young age I could see this wasn’t sensible. I knew I didn’t want to be that way. So although I am a natural caretaker, it’s not to say that I get a renewed sense of self-worth from that. I look after folk because I can and am fairly good at it.
I digress. Whilst my parents were together my Mum was the carer and Dad the breadwinner…but this changed when at 7 my parents divorced. From that point onwards my Mum “officially” took over both roles (even though she’d really been doing them since my birth) and so my lessons in grit and determination began.
Mum is a lioness. Well…she was. A physically and mentally strong woman, of Scottish and Polish decent, I quickly learnt to stand on my own two feet, be physically capable and mentally unswayed. Despite her caring nature she was also steely in her values and would stand her ground on issues. She was an activist and campaigner, so we went to various drives and protests together; standing on the front line together and me looking up to her and that fire she held within. I wanted THAT! A passion to fight for what I believe in. To create change!
She was also far stronger than most men I encountered. She’d be the person most guys would turn to, to open the proverbial jar of pickles, when they couldn’t get the lid off. It’s Mum who first made me want to be physically strong.
But the most valuable lesson I learned from her was about taking pride in your work. As a single mother, with no job, living off state benefits was very hard. She cleaned people’s toilets for a living and yet never once did she seem to mind. She valued the ability to earn even a small amount of money for herself and not only that, but she did it to a standard she could feel proud of. I learned much from observing her…all of which carries into my work ethic these days. Even the smallest task can be done with joy in our heart and to a high standard.
Her biggest challenges day-to-day…
I don’t face any challenges really, but mainly because I now work in a way that negates that. The clients and organisations I do work with just treat me as a person, not a specific gender. I’m very much just me.
I removed myself from the TV industry in 2015 specifically because I was fed up being treated as a second class citizen; paid lower rates then my male counterparts and was constantly spoken down to. It is with a heavy heart that I have to step back into this industry sometimes and believe me, it sickens me to see how little has changed. I leave after a day or two of work feeling filthy, like I have sacrificed all my beliefs just to earn a decent pay packet and appease my bank manager for another few months.
What are the advantages of being a woman in the 21st Century?
Advantages? Couldn’t say. Again, I don’t like to set myself apart from my male counterparts as this doesn’t seem like the route towards a more connected and fair society. If anything I get more frustrated by women who want to differentiate themselves. We don’t need to lose a sense of manners or chivalry…but I do think that if women want to be considered on a par with men, we need to stop setting ourselves apart. As Kierkegaard said… “Once you label me you negate me.”
Flashbulb memories (s) or what it’s really like to walk in her shoes…
I mean there’s lots of key moments. I’ve faced a lot of bereavement. I guess that’s shaped me a huge amount. I can write more about that if it’s useful. Probably the most defining moment of my life was when my first love (boyfriend of 10 years) committed suicide and I came home to find him. It’s taken years to deal with the trauma and I guess perhaps it’s still a day-to-day thing to negotiate in some ways. I feel very broken…but that’s ok, maybe? I think we all feel somewhat like that. Anyway, there’s much I could write on, with a bit more direction on what’s useful.
Things you should know if you’re going to walk in her shoes…
I don’t feel the need to be understood by others actually. I just want to better know myself and understand my own processes.
Anything else we should know?
Happy to share tons. Just tell me what you need.
Hey you, can you relate to Charlotte’s story? Do you have a favorite quote or thought? Share it in the comments
How about YOUR shoes?
This is Charlotte’s story, it is unique, it is hers and it tells you something about being a woman in the 21st century.
If you identify as a woman, your story is just as important. CLICK HERE to get the questions and be part of our story, history and Her-story.
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