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I used to think I was not good enough for many things.  Not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not your picture perfect girl and I know there are many of you who may be reading this right now feeling the same.

In school I didn’t know what I wanted to do and when I finally settled on doing engineering I was told at the time “A man could barely do it not to mind you, a woman”.  A teacher told me that while I was trying to switch from Business (which I hated) to Engineering. So I did business for my leaving cert and even got an A1 but that didn’t stop me from perusing my dreams to become an engineer. I got accepted to the only Maritime College here in Ireland and I was delighted. Now don’t get me wrong it was painful and tough and I was to spend the next few years again proving myself as an equal in a man’s world and it always boiled down to two things.

1. I didn’t exactly look like your standard Marine Engineering female. I like make up, I like to dress up and look as best as I can when I can and why the hell not!

2. I was a woman. I was seen as the weaker sex but to me that only fuelled the fire within me.

YES! I am a woman. YES! I like to look good. YES! I am as smart as any man.

When I am told I cannot do something you’d better believe I will prove you wrong. I have the determination and the drive. I got that degree and you bet I looked fabulous receiving it too! I was then back to square 1 when I started working on my first ship. I was like an enigma to them. The only female they have ever seen in the engine room. For the first couple of week’s everyday they would ask “Why did you become an engineer? Would you not be better off at home minding kids?” but my response was always the same “Why not?”. Within time I had won them over and they looked at me like I was their little sister. I loved life out at sea. It was my everything, until I got that phone call. I had pictured a month beforehand what it would feel like to get such crushing news but little did I know that my imaginary though was going to turn into a reality and when it happened it was so much worse.

I was thrown into something which I never imagined and I had to restart again. And I did. I still have the same fire within me, even more so now.

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Society dictates the picture of women. We must look like the Kardashians with the grace of Audrey Hepburn. Skinny but with curves you see only on dolls. You are judged if you are too skinny, too fat, too dumb and too smart. Girls must play with Barbie’s and boys must play with trucks. Girls are full of emotions while boys must never show it. We can never win! Society always has dictated what women should and shouldn’t be and every day you see young girls falling into this trap and it’s difficult to get out of. It’s a horrendous time to be a woman right now. Men sexualise you while women look down on you, always comparing.

Here’s my advice to you. The only person you should ever compare yourself to is you! Compare yourself to your yesterday self if you must, compare yourself to your last year self and see exactly how far you have come. If I was living off cucumbers and water I will still never look like the Kardashians and that’s just fine by me. I do not need to compare myself to them, I am my own person just like you are your own person. I have so many talents, just like you do too. Don’t bend to this illusion that society has set because that’s all that it is. Just an illusion and it’s not real. You are not what happens to you, you are what you chose to become. Choose to be happy within yourself and I promise you everything else will fall into place.

So be the girl who plays with trucks and says “Why not?”…”