Today is International Women’s Day and I am thankful. Thankful for the women I am surrounded by, for of the women that I look up too, that I am able to call myself a woman.
As I get older, I become more aware of the impact that strong, mindful, and powerfully independent women have had over my ‘becoming’. These influences have washed over me in ways that I am still realizing as I reflect on the people in my life.
In this noticing, I am starting to see all of the ‘sorry’s’. All of the things that were part of growing up as a girl that I was ashamed of or uncomfortable with. All of the times I have slouched my shoulders, stood in the back, because maybe then I would be a little smaller, a little less bold. A little less stepping on someone’s toes, a little more status quo.
So last year I wrote this:
I really wanted to whisper that I was sorry.
I swear it was burning against my lips
as I fought to bite it back and swallow it whole.
Why couldn’t I say it this time?
Because I swear I’m trying to change my thinking.
With every neuron in my weary brain I’m trying
to retrain the part of me
that as a woman
was taught that vulnerability is a burden.
So as a result of the woman in my life, what am I no longer apologizing for?
(This should probably read: what am I working towards not apologizing for. Big (baby) steps.)
A multitude of thanks to my closest friends, who are deeply in tune with themselves:
- I am learning to not be sorry for having deep emotion. I am not sorry that my tears make you uncomfortable or that my past experiences have made me intolerant to ignorance or that I find your joke offensive.
- I won’t apologize for pursuing my passions, even if they don’t take me on a direct path or an easy route. This journey is mine and I will live it boldly.
Thanks to the women I met at the Women’s March & the feminists around me who are fighting the good fight:
- They have taught me that I am not sorry for being loud. For stating my opinion. I will unapologetically argue why misogynist views are incorrect. I will not apologize for why I am angry, or frustrated or heartbroken by the way that things still are.
- On the other hand I will not apologize for celebrating. For over- emphasizing the importance of recognizing the strong women around us. I’m not sorry if you’re tired of hearing it.
To the poets, the fearless writers who bare their souls for the world to see, and for my friends who have led by example:
- I’m not going to apologize that the statement, “are there any men here who can lift something for me?” makes me angry.
- Never again will I apologize for not giving my body to someone just because they asked.. or didn’t. It is mine and no one else’s and I owe a lot to the women who have taught me this invaluable lesson.
- I will be wild. I will be messy. I will be raw.
- I will grow my body hair if I want to because if it grows there, that is where it belongs. (This is hard. Society please stop making this such a vulnerable thing.)
- I will not be ashamed of my body. Clothed or naked: it is my home.
To my Mother and Grandmother, for showing me what it means to be a woman:
- I will not apologize for demanding respect or to be heard.
- I will not apologize for the biological factors that make me woman. I’m not sorry for the way hormones effect my emotions, or that I’m in pain because I have a period or that one day I will expect the utmost respect for the body that has birthed a child.
- I will not apologize that I am a leader and that, unfortunately, parts of the world and certain demographics within it do not see a woman occupying that role. I was fortunate enough to be raised by strong women who taught me this is what I could be.
I don’t think I can finish off this blog without mentioning that I can fearlessly type all of these words because of my privilege. Feminism, point blank, is easier (and safer!) for the cis- white- heterosexual female, for the woman who was born into a safe socio-economical space, and for the ones with access to education and the foundation to succeed. (I’m talking food, and water and the ability to not have to work 3 jobs while supporting a family, access to health care, support networks etc.) There are women around me and in all parts of the world who are doing feminism and living unapologetically far better than I, with 700 systemically embedded obstacles in their way. I am at a loss for words for their courage and stamina. For their strength and perseverance.
“If your feminism doesn’t include women of colour, queer women, trans women, fat women, poor women, elderly women, disabled women, homeless women, sex workers, etc. then who is it even for?”
With love for of my beautiful- dazzling – courageous -strong- sisters,