This is specifically for us women. Men, you can read this too and see if you can get an inside glimpse of how we roll – but trust me, it is a mess inside this world!
Man, do I have a lot to say about my gender! And don’t take that the wrong way – I am here to build us up, not tear us down. I have been true talking to friends a lot here recently and I feel like there should be some some more of that talk happening – it rarely does. We all have similar feelings if we dig deeper, but we rarely do. Our true and authentic selves are rarely seen outside the confines of our house or our comfort. Otherwise we are busy pretending and trying to keep up with the Joneses or portray some perfect image of what we think others want our lives to be. But why is this? Seriously, think of who you are with when you are your best version – your most authentic version of yourself! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be that person all the time?
I have a theory that the majority of my friends grew up reading either Seventeen or Cosmo – lets be honest, we all wanted to read Cosmo, not Seventeen! Think back to being in high school for a moment you Xennials – did you not love getting these magazines from the corner store or in the mail? If you think about the articles, they are all the same just rewritten slightly – how to look your best for your man, how to keep your man wanting you, how to get washboard abs, how to dress to make people swoon, 14 mind blowing ways to satisfy your partner…what the actual fuck were we reading about and what did this do to our self confidence and self image? Really! Where was the article on how I am perfect the way I am, how someone should love me for who I am, how someone should want me without me trying to convince them of such, how to garner my own satisfaction in life, the fact that I am enough without someone else – where were those titles?
Much to do with the above, and I guess just life, most of us women do not think we are good enough. Our self confidence is in the drain. It is often like the old saying “we all want what we don’t have”. The girl with beautiful curly hair would love for it to be straight – easily straight for a day, and the straight haired girl would die for a little volume or wave. Not one of us is perfect. Not one of us thinks our lives or our bodies or our faces or our skills are perfect, although we think that if we just had one attribute like someone else our life would be easier or better. So.Not.True.
I have not been skinny in life. That isn’t exactly true. I would give anything most of the time to be the “fat” I was at 18 years old. I remember the time I realized that my not so skinny frame was actually in better shape than some of my friends who had the perfect in my mind body. Things in life I thought would be easier for them weren’t and it was a real eye opener. My perception on how perfect her life must be was untrue and that was the first time I realized that truth. I was 22. It has taken me this long to actually talk to other women about our self perceived short comings. Possibly we don’t want to do this because we are afraid we will point something out to our friend or *gasp* a love interest that they hadn’t noticed yet about us.
So like I said, I have been having true talks with so many women recently and I want to anonymously mention some of them. I have a friend who is drop dead gorgeous. Seriously! She is about 5’11” without her super high heels that she wears like a bad ass. She is always put together. Not only is she one of the most attractive women I know – you know the kind you would expect not to be very nice because they are so attractive (see, total Cosmo stereotype there) – she is equally as beautiful and full of grace on the inside. She is an athlete. She is a wonderful mom. She is a believer in god, is successful and is seriously amazing. And while we are talking our truth, she tells me she is the ugly duckling. That she grew up the unattractive girl and that haunts her to this day. What I see looking in is not how she feels and she struggles with that daily. WHAT?
In another talk, we dive into the Cosmo talk and discuss how unfocused all of those articles were on us – on women. They were not and probably still aren’t empowering to women, not to mention they are the same article over and over and over again! They set a staunch scenario on how our lives will be perfect as long as we have the perfect mate or perfect body…skinny is what you have to be to be lovable or attractive and let them tell us how to get there. They will also tell us how we need to look, act, think, and feel in order to maintain a relationship with that perfect mate. Not one article is written about how we should fall in love and strive to maintain that one relationship that truly matters so we can have a fulfilling relationship with someone else – we all need to fall in love WITH OURSELVES first! They leave that out.
Another friend finds herself exhausted. She has spent years pretending to be perfect…the perfect doting wife to a husband who 13 days in to their marriage verbally tore her down. But she couldn’t say anything about that. She had to remain perfect. Failure was not an option, so outside of the confines of her walls, she put on a perfect front…not even confiding in the best of friends because she was afraid of their reaction to her failures in marriage. And all of this is happening right in front of me and I didn’t really know from first hand knowledge, I could only speculate that my best friend wasn’t truly happy and deserved so much more in life yet she was unable to speak the truth because of fear of judgement or failure. And sadly, I know these feelings all to well, because I was stuck for quite a while not wanting to let anyone down with my failed marriage, continuing to pretend each time I left the house that everything was perfect and I could excuse the world away.
In other truth talk, I ran into a friend in the coffee shop. And we started talking about how much simpler our lives would be if we had less space – less stuff – more time and more energy. Why are all of us women conditioned to think we need the huge house and perfectly manicured lawn and empty kitchen sink for our life to have worth? The truth is a good mom has crumbs on her floor and lets the dishes sit a minute so she can do something with her kids…but what does that “look” like? Who is really judging, and why the actual fuck are we conditioned to give a shit about that? Why are we conditioned to think everyone will judge us anyway? Are we really just a super judge-y gender?
If we boil all this down, there is always something about us we don’t like or would prefer to improve. No matter our size, all of us have something we are self conscious about. A dimple on our thigh, stretch marks – from weight or babies or both, acne scars on our face from adolescence, c-section scars, scars from other surgeries – mastectomies included, that leave us questioning our perfect when they should be the scars to prove we lived. Our scars, they make us beautiful and give someone else hope. All of these things should be in our conversations. I would love us as women to join together and have truthful conversations with one another. We can then help build each other up by calming these fears we have and allowing each other to be authentic. I need us to be honest and truthful with one another. Think about the time someone validated your feelings – didn’t it feel great to know you were not by yourself – that someone else has felt like this before too and you are in fact not alone in this life. Women can all join together and realize that we may not be perfect, but we can find the value in our progress from day to day on the road to becoming our authentic selves. Our shared strength can help build our confidence and seriously, ladies…we are WOMEN, hear us ROAR!