What does it mean to be a woman in our society? What do I wish it would be? Those two questions often have a very different response when asked. The responses are conflictive; they battle each other in our minds and our hearts causing distorted views.
When we add views and ideas on beauty, authenticity, and equality, we cause an unknown, internal confusion that can’t find a resolution until we’re honest with ourselves and others.
A few weeks ago, I shared with you about a group I did with the ladies I work with on their views on what society tells them about beauty, and maybe more to the point, who they should be. There were a few moments that were encouraging, but by the time we finished my mind was spiraling from the dialog we had just had.
I continue to be astounded by the views they had about our society and the expectations of beauty. However, while processing (over and over again) there was one conversation I couldn’t move past.
I made my own collage so the ladies could see what my expectations were (both my own and what other people inform me they should be). I tried to get my creative juices flowing. After one of the girls sketched the outline of my face, I began crafting what my perfect self would be.
I started with…
Clear the clutter. I desire to clear all the clutter out of my mind; my life. I want to purge everything unnecessary, unhealthy.
Followed closely by…
Passion and Intense. I want to find those things that move me to the point I can’t help but do something. I want to feel things so intensely and passionately that it becomes part of who I am.
Resilient. My hope is that I’m truly living. When you’re truly living, you get beat up! I want to be able to dig deep and continue to work, survive, and overcome.
Ideas and Discover. I want to continually come up with new ideas and possibilities. I want to search out the new, best thing and explore everything.
Will Travel. I want to experience new cultures, food, and places.
I want to take risks in my choices, my relationships, my life. I want to stay away from the safe answers. I want to live outside of my comfort zone. I want to believe in people.
Despite what society tells me – We can fix you, you have to be perfect, be number 1 in everything, erase all signs of aging, and change anything that WE don’t like about you – I felt optimistic. I finished and thought I could inspire and empower these ladies to dream, but still find contentment with themselves.
After finishing I proudly displayed my creation. The ladies looked at it and then one of them made a comment that startled me back to reality. She looked calmly at me and said, “I love what you want to be, but you’re the only woman I know that won’t settle for being less than that. Most women say it, but they give in.” I was immediately saddened. My thought went automatically went to, “where are all the strong, empowering women at.” As I’ve been processing, though, I also go to how often do I give in to “being less than” what I could be.
So often, I get frustrated with the insecurity and passiveness around me, but I sometimes forget I have the potential to empower when I desire to. When I step out, it can encourage and give permission for others to follow.
This week I finished my collage with a comment at the bottom of it…
“Hoping for a more beautiful tomorrow.”