By: Gabriela Yareliz
It’s Women’s Month. You know, I had never really paid so much attention to this and the March 8th holiday (International Women’s Day), until I started dating this amazing man who celebrates me, not only on March 8th, but every day. Apparently, this has been a legit holiday in Europe, for a while. I feel like we just started hearing about it and emphasizing it here in the states, just recently. He spoils me.
Okay, so every day is women’s day. Equality is always in vogue. And I will say that when you are in a relationship with someone who believes in you 1000% (sometimes more than you believe in yourself), it sort of makes you relax into this authentic state, one without frills, but one filled with power.
Growing up with a strong, authentic and warrior woman (my mother), I always felt like I could hold my own. I felt like a boxer going into the ring of life, ready to fight. That’s not to say that I no longer fight for what I want– I really do. (I am a lawyer, who is always down for a good fight). But having someone who backs you up, and who you don’t have to prove yourself to, makes a world of a difference. It’s nice to have people you can hang up the gloves with. I hadn’t really experienced that.
People often don’t realize that there are people who have luxuries of financial wealth and networks and all kinds of things that get you to places faster, and in a no-sweat-blood-and-tears kind of fashion (I do not know this life). Society and so many jobs are designed, many times, for people with expansive safety nets and trust funds. (That’s actually why some jobs pay so little. I think it’s in P.S. I Love You, that one of the ladies says that you have to be rich to afford to go crazy or do art, or something like that. She isn’t too far off). Reality is very different for many of us who don’t have that. And often, while we are fighting for a place in this world that comes so easily to others, we often find ourselves trapped in weird expectation bubbles, simply because we are women.
I wanted to take a moment to discuss some things that keep popping up that remind me of what it can mean to be authentically you. This isn’t to say that people who do the opposite aren’t authentic. But this is to say that, sometimes, people act a certain way or engage in patterns of behavior simply because it’s an expectation or because someone else decided it was necessary.
Here are some movements that remind us that there are some women who don’t care what the expectation is or who has set it. And even if you don’t agree with this in particular, maybe there is something close to your heart that makes you feel more authentically you, and maybe this will inspire you to do it or embrace it.
Biological Clocks: Tik Tok
“Twentysomething men are freer than women to screw up both personally and professionally — all studies say they’re going to come out on top eventually. Women do not have this assurance, and so craft these timelines in an attempt to establish a modicum of control in a world where motherhood — even with a supportive partner — remains incompatible with professional fulfillment. Flexible work schedules are elusive, child care is horrifically expensive, and stay-at-home dads are stigmatized: Fixing this stuff would require huge political efforts and a major cultural shifts.” The Cut, The Real Reason Twentysomething Women Are Worried, by Ann Friedman
I don’t agree entirely with this article (so don’t read it and judge me), but it’s filled with data and some truths (and untruths). (Take it for what it’s worth). Regardless, here is the deal: We (women) have biological clocks (and men do too, actually). Women have to work, at times, twice as hard as men to have the same family and career a man has. And while men are freer to screw up and do and undo, I feel a lot of women used to abide by a fear of their biological clock. And listen, that isn’t entirely gone. I think that will always be some weird looming shadow over a woman.
I will say this: I see there are more women waiting longer to have children. And as long as you aren’t putting yourself and the baby in some crazy risky situation (there are realities), women are finally giving themselves permission to hold on to their careers and decide things in a way that benefits them, as well, as opposed to earlier years, where things seemed very one-sided.
And forget career advancement and retention, etc., more importantly, women are waiting until they are the best version of themselves and ready to offer a child an upgrade of their own childhood, before having children. If this isn’t responsible, I don’t know what is. I think this is important and worth mentioning.
Fur & Cycle Syncing: Everything down there
Women are no longer abiding by weirdo male fantasies of nine-year old girls (*enter Fur Oil*) or men who think it’s gross when a woman acknowledges that she menstruates (grow up). Women are changing the conversation around body hair, they are tracking their cycles and stepping away from traditional hormonal birth control, and at the same time, being more responsible regarding family planning.
Au Natural and Grays
“‘It’s my favorite thing about myself,’ says Sophia Roe, a social-media star, chef, and wellness advocate who was sixteen when she started seeing silver. Now 30, she is the proud owner of copious tinsel-like ringlets that punctuate her otherwise onyx curls. ‘It’s like I got bopped in the head with a magical stick.'” VOGUE, Should I Break Up With My Hair Colorist to Go Gray?
Women are embracing non-toxic beauty (in every sense of the term) and learning how to do the most with what they have. While there is a whole generation plastering more pigments and chemicals on their faces, more than ever before (you have seen them on IG)– there is also a rising generation of women who are watching what their skin absorbs, becoming stronger and more physically fit and not rushing to fit into conventional beauty.
When I see these shifts, I recognize how different and empowering this is, versus what some of us have culturally grown up with or what our parents grew up in. And some of us had parents who fit into this authenticity long before it was cool. Here is to hoping we can relax more into who we were created to be, rather than fighting to fit into a box built by a random industry or person, years ago.
As we reflect on Women’s Month, and what it means, and as we remember all we have overcome to reach where we are now, may we continue to search for ways to empower ourselves and others into living more authentically (men and women). When we spend less energy trying to fit into a weird mold, we can spend more energy on being light and healing ourselves and the world around us.