I’m exhausted. It’s been a long last two weeks at one job. And I was a bit foolish is agreeing to start the next job right away. Don’t get me wrong. I’m so excited to start new and be back downtown. It’s just tiring saying goodbye to such a big part of your life. I got to know and love some of these people I worked with. And truth be told, my self-esteem and self-worth was at it’s lowest in my 20’s. So really, I got to know and love myself these last six years as well.
Starting a new job feels like the first day of school. I looked in my closet, after having picked up all of my dry cleaning, and washed all of my laundry. Every option is available to me…but I still feel like I need a new outfit. Just like I did when I was 10. And though half of me is full of excitement and possibility at what tomorrow will bring, the other half is fearful and self-conscious. What will they think of me? Will they like me? Will I look OK? Will I be OK? Will I be good enough?
I suppose these emotions are pretty normal when taking the first step towards something new. But I wonder how much more common and prevalent they are for women. Do men feel these same insecurities around their abilities and their looks? I assume not…though I could be very wrong. The cultural conversation tends to be strongest around women and our issues. Sadly, men never seem to be invited or present at the table. Though I think we could all benefit from having a more open and honest conversation about what’s really going on.
Interestingly enough, today is International Women’s Day. My Facebook feed is full of quotes and images of beautiful, strong and inspiring women. Not just in the realm of the national media and culture, but the women who surround me in my life as well.
As I mentioned, these last six years have been brutal, and I finally feel like I’m coming out of the darkness. And it wouldn’t have been possible without these women around me. I can’t name them all, for this post would end up being far too long to read. But I’m pretty sure you all know who you are. And you’ll note the image at the top of the post today? It’s a mix of my favorite pictures of me and the women who’ve been in my life these last 31 years. And even before I was born in some cases.
One of the dreams I have for my life is to become a writer. I have a friend who would correct that statement, and tell me that I am already a writer. But what I mean is that I wish to write book, or many books, one day. To have my name on something that people buy or check out from a library. It has nothing to do with seeing my name in print. More that I feel like I have something to say, and dream about people wanting to read it. Or better yet. That people will be inspired by my words.
The reason I bring this up in today’s post is because the first book I want to write is a compilation of the stories of women. I want to know what makes women feel beautiful and strong. I want to hear their stories, and see the light on their faces as they tell them. And I want to put that down on paper so that we can begin to shift society’s narrow view of female beauty and strength. We all have these stories. And as I sit here, I realize that I’m feeling a strange combination of anxiety and nerves in anticipation of my new job. But it’s mixed with inspiration and awe for the amazing women in my life. And rather than give into fear and anxiety around what makes me not good enough, I want to embrace the beauty and strength I have within.
And I want to hear from all of you, if you’re willing. I want to hear your stories, and start the trend of women voicing their strengths, rather than dwelling on their “faults or weaknesses.” And I know that it can be daunting to put yourself out there so publicly. So I’ll start. I love the way my eyes look in the morning. There’s something about them after I put on makeup, and when they catch the light. I love my determination, and creativity. And I feel my strongest when I cross a finish line. Be it a triathlon, homemade headboard, securing a new job, or designing a knitting project (all of which I’ve done or made!) That sense of accomplishment and the “I did that,” feeling are what drive me.
Now it’s your turn. In the comments section – in honor of International Women’s Day…as well as in an effort to change the way that women talk about themselves and each other – let me know what makes you feel beautiful and strong. I’ll even do a giveaway! In a week, I will randomly select a reader/commenter, and announce the winner. One entry for leaving a comment, two entries for sharing this post on Facebook, and encouraging your friends to leave a comment too. As for the prize, I’m currently building my inventory for an etsy shop at the moment. Handmade scarves, hats, onesies, coasters, temari balls…you name it – I’ve probably made it. And I’d like to give away a temari ball (a few of mine are below, google that if you’ve never heard of them) because they, in my opinion, are the most beautiful things I’ve ever made. But if that’s not your thing, I’m sure we can come up an alternative prize 🙂
I’ve never done a giveaway…but I thought I would give it a try. Because I really want to hear from you. I truly believe we can change the world for women and girls (boys and me too!) if we change the way we talk about ourselves and each other.
Happy International Women’s Day! And a warm heartfelt thank you to all of the women who have touched my life, and helped make who I am today.