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I don’t know any woman who hasn’t gone to bed wishing she could wake up as somebody else. Prettier, fairer, curvier, thinner, or smarter. Not too smart though. Just enough to get a seat at the table, but not so much so they don’t want you there showing them up.
I don’t know any woman who hasn’t felt like she doesn’t belong. In her skin, in her family, or in her hometown. And I don’t know any woman who hasn’t molded, misshaped, or edited herself to blend in.
I don’t know any woman who hasn’t been at war with her body at some point or another. Loathing her figure, bathing in anxiety for days about wearing that bikini, or comparing the size of her waist to runway models. Counting calories, bingeing in secret then vomiting the evidence, or running non stop on a treadmill until she passes out.
I don’t know any woman who hasn’t shrunk herself down in order to please others. No woman who hasn’t softened her voice hunched her shoulders, or dumbed herself down to ensure she doesn’t shine too brightly.
I don’t know any woman who hasn’t had to say, me too. No woman who doesn’t cross the road to avoid that construction site, or pray she’s safe while in the back seat of a cab, or avoid walking alone when it’s dark out. And I don’t know any woman who hasn’t, at some point, believed it was her fault that she had to say those words, me too.
I don’t know any woman who hasn’t felt like her worth is determined by the reflection staring back at her in the mirror. That her life is easier or tougher simply because of the genetic makeup she was dealt in the lottery. I don’t know any woman who hasn’t wondered whether that guy is truly interested in her, or merely her cup size. And I don’t know any woman who has woken up every single day, at peace with the woman who greets her in that mirror.
I don’t know a single woman who is lucky enough to wake up every damn day feeling worthy, beautiful, or loved. All I know are women who struggle in a world trying to tell them what perfection is, and what it most certainly isn’t. And women who then spend their whole damn lives trying to reach perfect, but always falling short.
I don’t know a woman who hasn’t been oppressed, violated, or made to feel lesser than her male equivalents, simply for being born a woman. From the pay gap to being told to not show too much skin or we’ll be asking for it, to being taxed simply for bleeding each month. And I don’t know any woman who hasn’t believed this was her burden to own and to carry.
I don’t know any woman who hasn’t wrestled back and forth with feeling too sexy, or not sexy enough. Rolling her skirt up, or desperately tugging it down. And I don’t know any woman who hasn’t believed that her sexiness exists solely for the pleasure of men.
And I don’t know any woman who hasn’t lowered herself to the mindless gossiping bitching or backstabbing that is rife amongst us as a gender. You see, they were already pointing the finger at us, tearing us apart from the seams. So much so, we women declared war on each other because we were looking for an easy target to blame.
This is her story. This is my story. This is every woman’s story.
But I also don’t know any woman who hasn’t overcome all of her has nots.
All I see are incredible women who have risen over and over again, in spite of the force always trying to draw them back down.
All I know are women who are tired of allowing others to tell them who they are supposed to be, what their body is supposed to weigh, and when they should quieten their voice. These women have broken out of the chains that were binding them.
All I know are women who have soaked up all of their pain, setbacks, and challenges; and allowed those to grow them into stronger, more powerful women in the process. And each time, they invite, encourage, and empower another woman to do the same.
All I know are women who have in time woken up to the realization that this is their world just as much as it is anybody else’s. Just try and stop them from belonging.