THE WOMEN

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Women are strange creatures, I’m not afraid to admit that.

We say that we’re fine when we’re just about ready to burst into tears or throw something at the wall. We can text our friends for 16 hours and still find stuff to talk about when we meet for dinner later that evening. We tend to own a ridiculous amount of something we like, be it lipsticks, shoes, skateboards or vinyls. We fixate. We work out what we adore and then love it to death.

We have in-built alarm bells that tell us if you’re a bad egg, our ability to multitask is second to none and we just sort of… know when something’s not right.

We push something the size of watermelon through something the size of a lemon (thanks for that one, ‘Look Who’s Talking’), we bounce back from the bad times and we bleed for five days a month and don’t die.

But more than anything?

We’re fucking resilient. We have been fighting the battle for gender equality for decades and we won’t stop until we get what we want. Or rather, need.

However, despite our strength and persistence, I know that there are those of you who aren’t quite sure what we’re still fighting for. Many of you are left stumped as to what else we could possibly want; after all, we can vote now…

And what do I say to that?

Go and pick up a newspaper or talk to someone with a vagina.

Not only are we struggling in western society to have our voices heard, to make sure that we’re being paid the same as our male colleagues and to eradicate sexual and street harassment, but women on a global scale are suffering in ways that we can’t even imagine- and guess what? We ain’t quitting until every girl is offered a worthy education, until women are allowed to wear what they please without being objectified and until sexual pleasure for women becomes a right, not something that can brutally be taken away using a dirty scalpel and bad intentions. Basically, we just want women around the world to be treated equally – not better than – men around the world. But apparently, this won’t happen until 2133 if we don’t actively campaign for progress, starting now.

Think about all of the wonderful women who have shaped who you are today. Think about the struggles they’ve faced, that you’ve faced together. And then think about what you can do to stop our current, unjust normality from affecting your children – sons included – because I believe that as long as women are at a loss, so are men too. Both genders offer different strengths and by working together, we can move mountains. Or – more realistically and beneficially – cure cancer, explore the universe hand in hand and generally make the world a happier (and more peaceful) place, side by side.

I’m not doubting how great men are. That’s not what feminism is about. But today is about womankind and I think it’s important to take some time to celebrate us in all our glory and make that (hopefully final) push towards global equality.

We might come in many shapes, colours and sizes, but our bodies are machines; we can sometimes be a little insecure about the way we look (although that will change once attitudes towards us change); we can be sensitive, insensitive, hairy, scary, fearless, fearful and everything in between. These are all things to celebrate today, not berate.

Just because the shackles have been loosened, ladies, that doesn’t mean that we’re free. We can still feel the cold metal resting – albeit loosely – around our ankles and that just isn’t enough for me. And neither should it be for you.

Men say that we are hard to work out. And I quite like it that way.

Once you let us live as you do, only then will we let you know the true magic that lies within us.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY EVERYONE!

THE BOOK OF BRAVE

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Self-help isn’t my thing. I don’t want to be told what to do or how I should do it. And I certainly don’t want to be told that someone else’s route to success is better than mine.

Which is why I love this short by Laura of Superlatively Rude.

Her blog found me about a year ago and I immediately fell in love with her openness. You might think that I’m pretty honest on here, but she’s naked on the Internet honest. And that’s brave. Or, as I’ve now learnt, Laura’s version of brave. My version of brave is something else entirely. As is yours, probably. And that’s okay, which is something that this book has taught me.

A far cry from those irritating ‘Guides to Life’, this book made me laugh and then it made me (on page 38) clutch my chest and gasp – just like in the movies – because I couldn’t believe that someone could get over something so shitty. I tried to put myself into her situation and struggled to cope with it within the confines of my mind, let alone in reality. But she has coped. And the very fact that she can now mention it fleetingly in her successful e-book like she’s talking about her favourite toast topping (when I know how much pain she must have been in at the time) makes me believe that time really might be a healer.

But anyway, back to her writing.

I can totally understand how people would be all like ‘WOAH THERE TIGER! I DON’T NEED TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR ONE NIGHT STANDS, NAKED PHOTO SHOOTS AND CURIOUS EXPLORATION OF THE WORLD!’ but it’s what I need. And I think, if you really lean into it, you’ll realise that it’s what you need too.

For a while now, I have wanted someone to tell me that, in her words, ‘none of us are f**king up like we think we are’ because my twenties have been hard. Way more difficult than my surprisingly spot-free teenage years. Way more trying than the years I spent loving someone who didn’t love me back in primary school. And way more frustrating than that time my brother cut off all of my hair the day before my second birthday. Laura’s book walks me through my twenties in a way that makes it okay to fall, fail, laugh and get back up again. Her writing allows me to reflect and think, ‘you’re doing okay, actually’ which is what I need. And, as I say, you probably do too- whether you are 26, 37 or 52.

I do have to mention one thing that left me feeling frustrated though, because I have to be honest. And Laura, if you’re reading this, I know that you have to be honest with yourself too.

And that’s the typos.

I only mention it because I think that the contents of this book are too good to be delivered in a way that is anything less than perfect. And I think you’re too good not to be critiqued in the way I would critique any other author.

But I digress.

Laura won’t tell you what, how or where you should begin to be your best self. But she will tell you why you should try. She will give you options as to how you can get there. She will remind you that your path won’t be her path, my path or your next-door neighbour’s path. We all have our own routes to success and happiness and Laura encourages us to be brave enough to walk down our own one, despite what other people might say or think.

I could reel off the pages, paragraphs and even sentences that spoke to me, but why would I? You’re going to read it. Because even if it’s not your thing, you’ll find the courage to try something new. And if you don’t want to read it because it might force you to push yourself, you’ll be brave enough to read it anyway.

Start your journey to being #bravereveryday and click here