It’s March 8.
And unless you’re stuck under a rock somewhere, if you have any social media accounts whatsoever, you know that today is International Women’s Day.
I love seeing all the Facebooks posts — some hilarious, loud and amazing, others emotion-filled and quietly beautiful.
There isn’t anything new I can bring to the table that isn’t already out there since the rest of you have already posted and said x10 and more of what I could conjure up.
I will say that I love and admire each and every one my mother figures, sisters, nieces, aunts, cousins, grandmothers, in-laws and friends (and Daisy can’t be left out of the mix I suppose). New and old, blood and chosen — and all those in between — you have deposited much into the person I am today — for that I am indebted to you.
The other night I joined in on a mostly-women Clubhouse (the App) room and also a Zoom this evening with, again, a bunch of women.
In both situations, the moderators spoke with such grace, authenticity, rawness and inspiration. They shared their lives, hardships, failures and triumphs.
I liked listening in on both of them. It genuinely felt nice to be there.
But I haven’t always had those kinds of feelings towards being a part of stuff like that — and I’m still not the most girly or confiding or whatever of females.
The thing is, and what I finally realized a few years ago, was that for many years of my life, deep down I simply didn’t love other women.
I couldn’t accept them for who they were because they were often prettier, happier, smarter, skinnier, stronger, better at whatever or more this or more that.
I couldn’t embrace them because — I loathed myself beyond measure.
Both inner and outer self I did not love. For many years. Many.
At the same time of not liking other gals, I did have lots of girl friends. Though I did like them, I didn’t know how to love them past the level of how I knew to love myself…which was basically nil.
I was angry, bitter and jealous of what they had, what they looked like, what they accomplished, what they stood for, who they had in their lives, where they lived and for probably every other reason out there.
I couldn’t love other women because I didn’t know how.
Growing up, life came with ‘stuff’ — confusing stuff, hurtful stuff, isolating stuff, really hard stuff and sad stuff. It was survival mode only. Most of the time, there was no real space for others in the ‘stuff’ because I could barely stand to hang out with number one.
Fast forward to a couple of years ago.
Ironically, and thanks to various reasons including cancer, pregnancies, surgeries, a horrible-at-the-time marriage, stress, substance abuse, eating disorders, and other events…
- losing all of the things which I envied in others (my health, my exterior beauty, my hair, my feminine body parts, my self esteem) was the very catalyst that enabled me to love myself more than I ever could imagine!
Being forced to decide to either keep hating myself or embrace the inevitable…the realization that Jesus was going to keep loving me whether I loved myself or not and I was not getting out of that…was the best thing that ever happened to me. I had always known it in my head but not in my heart.
Stubbornly giving into God’s BIG love, I realized that if I couldn’t beat ’em, I may as well join ‘em.
And I’m so glad that happened.
I always wanted to authentically love other women, champion them, know how to hang out with them well and to cheer them on — with no strings attached. I always wanted to be able to genuinely compliment one of them without feeling lesser-than or wishing I had what they had.
Now with a lot more veins, a few more wrinkles, more fat than muscle, less style, 2 less breasts, a few less other body parts and a waaayy better skincare regimen, I love myself more than I ever have and more than I ever thought possible.
Thus, I am able to love other women more than I ever have and more than I ever thought possible.
Cheers to International Women’s Day.
Gal pals — now I have ’em, now I love ’em and I’m keeping ‘em!