Throughout the years, in all different trades, there are inspiring women that were trailblazers and made a real difference. I don't even think most of them really intended to make the impact that they did. They just went about and did the things they wanted to do and fought for it when they were not allowed or told not to do it. When it comes to the paranormal field, I find that often in a historical context, the role women played in paranormal and psychical research is often overlooked. I believe personally it was because the women of the era went about and did their thing without a fuss so to speak. A lot of the higher-profile male figures that are still talked about today sought out media attention and recognition for their work, while I feel like the females just kind of plodded along and focused on the work itself. They released books, they wrote scholarly papers, they held the highest position in esteemed organizations, yet you will find they almost never end up on a 'top 10 list of the best ghost hunters of all time'. Even on lists that do include women, some of the trailblazing Women of our past are not mentioned, only current figures who have been on television. It is a big reason why I started my Ladies of Paranormal Past Series to highlight the work of these ladies. You can read this series here: Ladies of Paranormal Past
Granted, times have changed now and reality television has introduced quite a lot of women into the higher end of the field. It would have been particularly hard for some of the high-profile women. I have read articles where certain talent felt that the cameras were more focused on shots of their ass rather than them investigating. There were dressed in tight jeans which honestly in night vision can sometimes look like you are wearing nothing at all. Often, the women were also put in the medium/sensitive' role or the historian role and were never the lead. Again things have come a long way and now there are a lot of women out there leading the way and headlining their own shows. While we can sit at home and throw pillows at our televisions because we don't agree with some of the things that appear on these shows, we need to applaud these women for giving it a go because ultimately, it would not have been easy nor an easy ride simply because they are a woman.
The #metoo movement changed a lot of things. For the first time as a female, I felt like I was allowed to say that I wasn't comfortable with the way I had been treated in the past. No longer did I have to put up with jokes that were offensive to females. I didn't have to 'hug' people who were trying to cop a feel or those hello or goodbye kisses on the cheek that they would always miss and get you on the lips. The photos opportunities where a hand was placed somewhere it shouldn't be or a tight grip around the waist. I felt like finally I could stand up and say no to a lot of the harassment and even judgment that people passed on me which they cast all because I was a female with blonde hair. It was incredibly empowering.
One of the things that happen in the lives of many females, is the concept of starting a family. When I would apply for jobs, I was asked if I was married. I was always asked when I planned to have a family because reading between the lines, they didn't want to hire someone who was going to get pregnant, and then they would have to find a replacement. Of course, whenever my husband went for jobs, they never asked him about his relationship status, and they certainly never asked when he was going to start a family. Every time I was sick or if I gained a little weight, people would ask me if I was pregnant. I specifically remember before I was even pregnant, there was a rumour going around my workplace because someone thought I walked like a pregnant person and I was called in and asked by management if I was pregnant because they needed to know. A question that was deeply offensive because I was having fertility complications at the time and frankly it was none of their business. The make-up of each individual family is very different and works in different ways. Raising children is the hardest thing anyone will ever have to do. It doesn't end after a baby turns 1. Each year group has its challenges and as the children get older, so too do their demands. As the Mother, we lose quite a bit of ourselves along the way. Once we are out of the baby bubble, we have to find out who we are again. Often we will change career or jobs to suit our new lifestyle or after taking a long period off we may decide to study and start that path we had always dreamed of doing. In some ways, it feels like after we have a child we hit the reset button on our lives and start over. It also means that for an often significant amount of time, our dreams, our goals, and our entire life is put on hold. Not everyone has children for a variety of reasons but everyone at some point will go through a period of self-discovery and need to find out who they really are. Their career could be their baby and let's not forget our beloved pets, sometimes they are more work than kids! Maybe the kids are all grown up and you are back to trying to navigate what life is like without the kids in the house? Regardless of where our life has taken us, you are always a very different person from the one that you were 20 years ago. Of course, you are, because you live and you learn.
I feel like this is where the paranormal has come in for a lot of us ladies. There is something amazing about being about to go out there and investigate the paranormal. Maybe we unconsciously feel like we are pushing some boundaries because we are out at night without a male to 'protect us'. Maybe it is because during the few hours of an investigation we are not thinking about the large pile of dishes to be done or the school lunches that are being packed. We aren't thinking about anything really. That to me is probably one of the things I love the most about the paranormal is that the rest of the word for me quite literally doesn't exist when I am on an investigation. I can be me. Maybe we just do it because we like it. It gives us purpose. When the only conversation you are having all day is with children, it is so enlightening being able to actually use your brain for research. What about when someone asks for your opinion because they value what you have to say? Even asking someone to be a part of something can make such a significant difference to them. To feel valued and heard is an incredible feeling because I tell you that we do not always feel that way.
There was a time when many females in the field were fighting for a place to be recognized. I do really feel like there has been a massive shift. So many ladies have found the courage to put themselves and their thoughts out there and found that so many people want to hear them. Now more than ever, social media makes it very difficult to do this because there is always a fear of what people will write. While we sit and say that we don't care what people think, deep down a part of us do because certain comments sting and can sting hard. That is what makes this courage to stand up and put yourself out there all the more inspirational. I can't tell you how many times I put information out there, and I am going to generalize here but older males tend to reply in the comments with passive-aggressive comments that basically say the same thing I have written about. They haven't read the article of course. I saw a tweet the other day and it very honestly sums up perfectly how it feels and it is one of the most frustrating parts about what I do. I bite my tongue usually because it is not worth my time, but this and responses of the writer being a 'he' by assumption is incredibly frustrating and a little insulting.
A lot of people have certain role models in the field and often they are high profile people which have a strong presence on social media or those that are on TV. For me, however, it is the everyday woman that I admire because I know how bloody hard it is just to exist sometimes. It is so hard rolling out of bed every morning before the rest of the house gets up to make sure everything is organized for the day. It is hard getting the kids up and ready for school because they are too tired and don't want to go all while you are getting ready for work. It is hard trying to make yourself look presentable because you have massive black bags under your eyes because you stayed up that 1 hour too late the night before because it is the only time you had to yourself all day. It is hard trying to focus at work all day when you know the millions of things that need to be done. It is hard spending your days off running around doing all the things that have to be done, not because you want to, but because you have to. It is hard going and picking up the kids, making sure they are doing homework, cooking dinner, doing the washing, doing baths and showers, and getting them all into bed at a reasonable time no matter how much they argue with you and try for just 10 more minutes! It is close to 10 -11 o clock at night and you finally have a chance to yourself. While you feel like you should be going to bed, you instead spend this precious time watching paranormal stuff, reading paranormal stuff or chatting to your friends about paranormal stuff. The time that you use to focus on yourself, is often channeled in some way through the paranormal.
When the weekend finally comes around, there is often sport and family activities to do. It is SO easy to just chuck your pajamas on and stay inside, especially if it is cold and raining. The thing is, we don't. We dress ourselves up (often in Black our unofficial uniform) and head out sometimes for the whole night to indulge in our love for the paranormal by attending an investigation. I know my youngest often will hang off my leg and sometimes cry telling me I am not allowed to go and he wants to come. I often have to get my husband to hold onto him so he doesn't try to hop in the car. Sometimes it seems like it would be so much easier to just not go and then there is that Mum guilt that is always at the back of our mind. Trust me, I know how hard it is sometimes just to get out the door. There could be an investigation or even another event you have been looking forward to for months, and then when the time finally comes you can't go because your kid is sick. There is an unbelievable amount of sacrifice that goes into being a mother and finding a balance that works for you and your family can be tricky. I very often sit on my laptop and I see what so many ladies are out there accomplishing and I really admire you because I wish I had the guts to do half the stuff you do. I wish there were times where I didn't give up and say I'm just staying home because I'm tired. I can see in your eyes you are tired too, but you are there are you are doing it. Many think of it as living the dream but make no mistake, those who are doing it do so will tell you it is not easy. Not everything is as it seems on social media. We need to remember this and not put so much pressure on one another. We need to celebrate each other's achievements and support each other, even if something doesn't work out.
There have been such an incredible amount of males in the paranormal field as well that embrace us ladies and help elevate us based on our work so these guys deserve some credit too. While people call our bad behaviour as they should, there is a lot of good that gets overlooked and that is what I am acknowledging here. So many males both every day and even high profile in the paranormal field have actively promoted and encouraged my work, asking for nothing in return. I never asked them to do it, they did because they respected me. We still however have a way to go. I still get some vulgar comments if I post a picture of myself, usually about my appearance. When a male who I have never heard from or spoken to before and who is older than my father messages me to tell me how sexy they think I look and asking me to chat, I wonder what makes them think that is ok. It makes me feel sick. I retreated from doing a lot of videos and live streams because I would get comments either about my appearance or a small deformity of my nose. Why is it ok to ask me "Why does your nose look weird?". I still have people that think the blog is written by a man and refer to the writer of the page as he. I even get emails through the contact page on my website which clearly has my name and email and the email is addressed to Dear Sir. I still have people that won't even deal with me and want to speak to the male in charge, but it is becoming much less of a thing now.
The ladies of the world have spoken and people are finally listening. I am telling you now is your time to shine! If you ever wanted to go out and do something go and do it! I was a little worried at one point because I felt like in my new self-discovery that maybe I was embarrassing my kids. I dress quite differently from the other Mum's and there have been rumblings I've overheard between some of them that I am weird and talk to "ghosts". The school ground culture amongst Mothers is one of the most toxic environments out there. My son turned to me and told me he liked that I was different because it was who I was - like the way he likes to wear his hair. Maybe it was him telling me he wasn't going to get a haircut but I understood the comparison. In fact. just the other day at School I picked him wearing some short denim shorts. They honestly are not the kind of thing I ever wear but see everyone else wearing them. I don't know why but I got some and put them on. I didn't feel like me at all. I'm normally in vintage or punk-inspired clothing with Doc Martens and a beanie. When I picked him up, he almost walked past me and his words were "Mum what are you wearing? You don't look like you at all!" He at 10 years old knew that it was a part of who I was and he told me he was proud that I am different and that he didn't want me to be like everyone else because that is boring. He even wrote about me for a school project and the fact that I had written books and he aspired to be like me and write a book one day. Here was me worried I was embarrassing them, yet I was inspiring and teaching them to be themselves, no matter who that is. Knowing I have the kid's support and love behind me, I feel like I can go out and do anything!
I know it is easier said than done. It has taken me probably around an hour longer than it should have to even write this article. My two children are home from school sick, I am on the couch with a head cold feeling terrible, and my 8 year has approached me every 2 minutes asking me to get the snare drum down from his Dad's closest so he can play it. I tell him no. He jumps all over me asking why then leaves for about 5 minutes before he finds another way to come back and ask again. He is the kind of kid that will sit and keep repeating himself until I answer yet doesn't take a breath so I can actually answer. He has now just offered me $2 from his piggy bank if I will get the snare drum out of the closet. Sitting alone in a cold dark room by myself seems like absolute bliss right now! I have a passion for what I do. The writing side and the research side is almost like it was the missing puzzle for me. That is why I persevere. I could have just closed my laptop an hour ago, but I tended to what was needed and came back to what I was doing because I wanted to keep writing. I do this not because I have to. I do this not to make any money (it actually costs me a lot of money in Webhosting). I do this not for popularity (I am not popular at all). I do this because I WANT to do it, even when it gets hard.
It is so very easy to lose yourself and even harder to find where you fit. When you do find it, there are challenges but you make it work because it is a part of the new you.
I am a girl ghost hunter and I am a Mum. I make it work because I want it to!
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