The last time I wrote on here I was feeling a bit lost. I felt like I had no place in society and that I was constantly toeing the line between different parts of my identity. Today I feel much better, I feel at peace. I realize that’s the nature of the human experience, you have your on weeks and your off weeks. I guess this week I had an on week, so this post goes out to anyone who is having their off week. And I hope that I will reread it when I’m having an off week myself.
You are never going to feel one hundred percent comfortable. I’ve spent my entire life avoiding what was comfortable because it bored me. I realized that as soon as I settled into a sense of normalcy and peace, a routine without any variance, I was thoroughly unsatisfied.
I find this applies directly to my own behavior as a woman and mentality towards being a woman. I got sick of adhering to behavior reflective of anything other than what I genuinely felt, what some people refer to as “playing the game.” I grew tired of the forced smiles and the constant neglect of my own self respect.
That last part is what I want you to focus on: the constant neglect of self respect. At what point in your life are you willing to set aside your own personal needs to do what is expected of you? At what point did you accept that you’ll always be uncomfortable with other people’s treatment of you, if you don’t start advocating for yourself? At what point do you look back on your past and decide you’re going to defend the tired and hurt person you carried along with you?
I didn’t realize how badly I needed to stand up for myself until someone punched me in the face. That was the day I realized that I was allowing way too many people to influence my opinion of myself. I needed people for survival. I trusted people who knew me superficially to be my family. I put myself out there, raw and defenseless while I spread myself as thin as I possibly could so I could accomplish everything I wanted to in a short time.
The girl who hustled at an entry-level commission based job while also playing tackle football on the weekends… She was a warrior. She was rocked to the core, there were so many moments she wanted to give up. But she was looking out for me, the person I am now. She was fighting so that I could work at my dream company.
And I have to thank her, and respect her. Respect the fact that her feelings were valid, while ignored. Respect that she may not have always known what was right but she allowed herself to make mistakes.
This is feminism to me. Recognizing that I don’t have the answers and I don’t know what is right, but I am willing to make mistakes (and share them) in the hope that it will have an impact on the future of women. I think about the daughter I may have some day soon and how much she can learn from these experiences.
I think about you, who might be reading this and feeling like shit about herself. I realize you deal with the same microaggressions and frustrations and you blame yourself. I promise you, you’re not alone. It’s okay to be frustrated and want to give up, every day is a battle!
I promise you, though, what you are doing matters. What you are feeling is valid. Do not let anyone discount your emotions as anything less than authentic. We need to stop blaming ourselves for everything. We need to voice our opinions without taking others’ reactions personally.
Notice how none of this has to do with me being against men. Feminism to me is a partnership between men and women to do our best. That doesn’t mean every man in my life is always going to get it right and it doesn’t mean I personally will get it right.
We will all accept and acknowledge that our differences are what make us well suited to help one another. In the areas you are weak, there is someone who is strong. All we can do is share knowledge, pay respect, and listen to each other.
That’s feminism to me.