Gratitude In Practice
Contributed by Natasha Aquin [Crown + Bliss, Owner & Co-Founder]
For our December theme of gratitude, I serendipitously had an experience that led me to feeling a profound sense of gratitude for being a woman in Canada.
As we go through these monthly Crown + Bliss themes, I’ve experienced and manifested the topics into my own personal and professional life. In October personal growth was our theme. In this month I grew in my ability to balance my many work commitments while at the same time expanding upon my leadership skills. November was vulnerability. In this month I finally took the plunge to quit my full time job, sell my things, and depart on a one way ticket to India to travel and work abroad - although it scared me sh**less. December, our theme was gratitude. I reflected on all that I accomplished this year and all the people that I care for deeply in my life. All of this led to an experience I normally would take for granted, read on to see my story:
I was on a Turkish Airways flight to Istanbul and I was lucky enough to have an empty seat between myself and a Turkish man by the name of Yusef. Yusef and I started chatting and spoke about our travels before taking off.
Moments into the conversation I turned around to find a different Turkish man with a peculiar moustache removing my overhead luggage from the bin. Initially puzzled as to what was going on, I realized he had removed my luggage to make room for his own. When I asked him what he was doing, I kid you not, he proceeded to tell me that his luggage took priority over mine because he was a man and I was a woman and I needed to find somewhere else to put it. Woman? Priority over mine? Please! I understand that we have cultural differences but I was dumbfounded. Without giving it much thought, I went off on the guy. In front of his wife letting him know that his behaviour and what he had just said to me was unacceptable and he should be appalled. He turned bright red and his wife gave me a little smirk.
I’m not sure if this was the first time this guy had been told off but let me tell you that he wasn’t impressed with me. Yusef jumped in reasoning with the guy and helped to find suitable storage solution for both of us. I couldn’t believe this took place and we hadn’t even taken off. After the exchange, something hit me. Natasha, you are not going to be in Canada anymore. You cannot run your mouth when you like just because you feel it’s your “right”. Traveling as a solo female, it’s in your best interest to keep your mouth shut purely out of your own safety.
I think it’s easy to take for granted the equality we have in Canada. Most days, it’s not even something I think about. Yes, there’s always room for improvement but as a whole, we’re pretty lucky. In that moment, I felt complete gratitude towards our country. Being born into a family where I was always encouraged to stand up for myself, speak my mind and when I had an opinion to objectively discuss it with others. Other women in the world aren’t all raised this way. It wasn’t the first time I’ve thought about this and part of the inspiration in starting Crown + Bliss is tied to just that: empowering women to be unapologetically feminine.
Thankfully I made it to Istanbul without any more confrontation…