Happy International Women’s Day!
Being a woman is a complex thing, and if you asked 100 different women what it means to be a woman, you’d get 100 different answers. That in and of itself represents the glorious complexities of women and on this day it is something we should celebrate.
I grew up a tomboy, always trying to do exactly what my brothers did because I most certainly didn’t want to be left out of something because I was girl. When I was 18 and taking my first psychology 101 class, the teacher asked: “Who in here has penis envy?” I enthusiastically raised my hand and shouted “I do!” Not necessarily because of the specific genitalia (although peeing standing up seemed rather advantageous at moments) but because at that point it meant power, strength, and an easier realm of living. In my 18 year old mind men seemed to have it easier, especially when it came to not having to get entangled in all that emotional cattiness that my female peers displayed. Womanhood was foreign to me, while hanging with the boys drinking beer and watching football felt like more like my comfort zone.
It took the better part of my 20’s, and 30’s for that matter, to truly embrace my femininity. I finally know that my range of emotions and real vulnerability are an asset, not a hindrance. Being a woman is a wonderful thing and something only other women can understand which is awesome because we have a built in sisterhood of women everywhere.
We have our work cut out for us in these turbulent times, but like the strong women who came before us and made real change – we must never give up. In trying to find words of inspiration for all my ladies today, I thought about what I’d like to have told my 18 year old self:
You are beautiful, inside and out. Dedicate your time to harnessing your inner beauty because you won’t care so much about the inevitable gray hairs and wrinkles. Stop worrying so much, it gets you nowhere. Ask for help when you need it, for there are people around you willing to help. You are stronger than you ever imagined possible; only the times you see the true brightness of your light is when the world feels darkest. You will follow a path unlike many others around you, and that’s ok because your path is yours and yours alone. Don’t compare yourself to others because the grass is never greener. Continue to give what you can to help the people in your community. Don’t judge other women; it only reveals your own insecurities. Turn the other cheek, just don’t stick around long enough for them to find something else to smack. Hold onto your good girlfriends tight, and let go of the ones who try to undermine your spirit because you don’t need that. Ask yourself in all relationships: “Am I loved and appreciated?” If not, let them go. Instead of sinking to someone’s level, it is actually possible to lift them up to yours instead. It’s ok to cry. Although at times if feels heartbreaking and harrowing, your capacity to love is your greatest asset. ALWAYS trust your gut. Know that there is always another woman out there somewhere who feels exactly the way you do. If someone tells you they don’t understand the words you use- don’t apologize- instead, tell them to go buy a damn dictionary. Stand up straight, put your shoulders back, keep your head held high and rock what you got. Confidence is always a woman’s most stunning ensemble. No one can see your true worth until you see it for yourself first. You are, and always have been, enough. Be authentically and unapologetically YOU. Love, love, and then love some more. Continue to fight for your sisters, especially the ones who think you need to be quiet already. Know that everything will be ok. Lastly, being a woman is AWESOME and you wouldn’t trade it for anything – so own that shit.