I was reading Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine the other night, they did a cool series called “Strong Woman Feature” I had to read. I love hearing strong, successful women share their vulnerabilities. I think it is so powerful for other women to realize that they don’t have to have their shit 100% together to make a huge difference in the world. I think we see these amazing women and have a tendency to think that it is so far from what we are, when we hear their stories it’s an inspiration to move forward. Anyway, the series is very cool.
Here it is, “Words. Labels. To Make Us Shrink. Comments Meant To Diminish. To Make Us Small. To Make Us Feel Shame. To Disable Us. We ask these strong, inspiring women: What have you been called?” “If we are going to fulfill our big vision and work in the world, we have to stop caring what other people think. We don’t need validation and external approval. Our worth has nothing to do with our appearance or popularity. It’s time to shine, not shrink.”
Women like Danielle LaPorte, Sara Agah, Sarah Deanna, and others share the labels they have been called throughout their lives. They then share how they feel about it and what they did to overcome those labels.
Examples: Too emotional. Too much. Bossy. Too sensitive. Too wild. Crazy. Too independent. Bitch. Vain. Overly flirty. Sensitive. Difficult. Too fat. Too skinny. Slut.
This is just a handful. Not to sound like an extreme feminist but it did really get my feathers ruffled. If a woman is assertive and is labeled as BOSSY. If a man is assertive he is seen as a LEADER. If a woman is flirty she is a SLUT. If a man is flirty he is CHARIMING. If a woman is too wild she is seen as IMPULSIVE. If a man is too wild he is seen as ADVENTUROUS. It’s F’d up.
I started to think about all the labels I have been called in my life, lots of them still stick with me. Too Much. Bossy. Impulsive. Rebellious. Emotional. No Personality. Prude. Too Sexual. Bitch. Mean. Shy. Loud. Vulgar. Sensitive.
It’s kind of funny. A lot of these are contradictory which makes it really apparent that they are just other people’s issues reflected onto me. Anyway, a couple days before I read this article, I was up early one Saturday morning cleaning the house and listening to music and apparently being too happy because my boyfriend told me I was “too much.” Man, it’s a good thing for him that I have been mediating and practicing yoga lately, because I felt this little flame ignite in my being and I wanted to punch him in the head. Those two little words have made me minimize myself my entire life and I was pissed that someone who was supposed to have my back and let me be whatever I want to be was saying those very words to me. Plus, it’s not like I was standing on the couch in the living room with a megaphone protesting. I was cleaning… like a good woman. (I’m kidding!)
It’s interesting to see how other peoples words shape who we decide to become in the world. And it is time to take that potency back!
But as I was thinking about it again this morning, there was something that wasn’t sitting right with me about it. And I realized what it was….
If we are going to demand that respect from the world, the first place to start isn’t protesting to the world what we demand. It’s being that for ourselves. It’s stopping all the verbal abuse we place on our bodies. It’s ending the self-deprecating comments. It’s not partaking in the “I’m too fat, skinny, ugly, short, tall, etc” behavior that we are all so good at. It’s walking away from the gossipy conversations about another woman. It’s being the change we are asking for.
And when you be those changes, those labels will not disappear. They will increase. That’s when you are strong, that’s when you are ready to make the choice not to transform into those labels but to rightfully tell those mofos to F off.
Like I said, I wasn’t standing in my living room that morning with a mega phone… I was cleaning, a very common behavior for me. But there was something different about me. I was being a different energy. I made a choice. I made the choice that my life was going to be different. That I was going to slow down and find joy in all things. That I was no longer going to minimize myself, that I was done constantly being so hard on myself. The energy of being that is far greater shouting your demands through the streets and hoping people will listen.