Hi everybody! My name is Abby McCleery. I am a student at the University of Idaho, and this years Women’s Center Blog Editor. It’s my third year and I intend to graduate early this upcoming December. I am an English major on the pre-law track and hope to attend law school this next fall.
I’ve lived in Idaho all my life. I grew up in Nampa, a smaller town about twenty minutes outside of Boise. I have a typical nuclear family dynamic (except for the expectation of “women in the kitchen”- my mom lacks even the most remedial understanding of
anything culinary related). It is a traditional Christian conservative home that can feel closed minded at times, but my parents are just doing what they know, what they find to be best for their kids. In fact, my brother and me are the driving forces behind all their actions it seams- they would go to the ends of the earth to make us happy. I owe them everything, but my biggest take away from them is learningthe importance of hard work and decorum. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am, or have had the opportunities and experiences that I find identity, joy, and even peace in. Without my parents, and the rest of my family for that matter, I wouldn’t be as confident as I am going into the future full of excitement and ambition.
In addition to my family I have a few other loves and passions in my life, the first being Mixed Martial Arts.
When I was a kid my mom tried everything to keep me busy: ballet, gymnastics, t-ball, school plays. I was the poster child for afterschool activities. But nothing stuck until she put me in Karate. I loved it. After a while it grew into Kickboxing, then Muay Thai, eventually I picked up some Jujitsu and even a little bit of Judo. I’ve been practicing MMA in some form or another since I was a kid, and I couldn’t picture my life without it. The second thing I love and couldn’t live without is cooking- baking specifically. I have this dream where I am a coffee shop owner that sells pastries and specialty cakes. In my imagination this cozy little coffee shop has live music every Sunday night, accommodating my last true passion, which is music. Singer songwriter/ indie vibe is my favorite, so hearing someone play a piano or strum a guitar never fails to make me smile. I think the way people convey pain, happiness, sorrow and love through song is so much more genuine and honest then when someone’s speaks or even writes. My interests and joys come from all over the place, and seeing how different they are give an insight to how across the board I am as a person. I can go from on the whim camping and fishing trips with friends and family to a full day shopping downtown with my sorority sisters the next, to working in the shop fixing up my 66 mustang, to the hermit who can’t put the book down.
Although I may be painting my life to be this daisy filled Disney movie, it’s not faultless. I wouldn’t trade my life the world, but at times it can be a bit much. There’s so much pressure it feels like I’m being crushed by the weight of expectations. And it may seem like a petty concern, the fear of failure and being a disappointment, but it can weigh heavy- always striving for the impossibility of perfection takes a toll. But this goes beyond my parents wanting me to get straight A’s and have good manners, there’s a whole society working to convince you you’re not good enough. The culture we live in is diluted by superficial ideas of what constitutes beautiful, and defines importance. We all go past entertaining these notions; we encourage and employ them on a daily basis. Even as strong as I consider myself, I fell victim to inconsequential ideas of beauty- I was bulimic for two years, thinking that being skinny would make me pretty, that it would me happy. When examining how this culture functions, it’s devastating. Insecurities are exploited to make markets, stereotypes are appropriated to eliminate individuality, and gender is used as a yardstick to measure ability and potential. There is an evident and undeniable display of disregard for the equality and freedom that our proud nation prides itself on.
I took this opportunity with the Women’s Center because I believed they understand these issues and are active advocates for change. Being a part of something that that gives a voice to people who otherwise might remain silent is really empowering. It is my hope, with the articles I write, to connect to the every day person. Because while there are serious issues plaguing every part of the world we have needs we have to handle here, at home, with our friends, family, and even ourselves.
I wish you all good luck and good times for the rest of the semester!