I’m not gonna lie, this post is pretty much just gonna be around 1000 words on why women are awesome. If you’re not down for that, fight me. (Please don’t actually fight me, cause I’m kind of a wimp.) This week was International Women’s Day, and Mother’s Day, so pretty much 80% of my social media feeds have been filled with people giving some serious love for women everywhere, so I thought I’d join in.
I’ve always had a bit of a complicated relationship with being a woman. Growing up I always wanted to be one of the boys, I was forever being told not to do things because “girls don’t do that/it’s not ladylike.” I remember feeling so patronised on a school trip to some activity centre when I was around 8 because they praised me for “being first into the deep dark indoor caving system.” My 8-year-old self was very much “what on earth is the big deal, it’s some plastic caves under the floor, it’s not exactly scary, we don’t even have to worry about any rats or anything.”
Admittedly I was lucky enough to have been brought up in a very outdoorsy family, where camping trips were fairly normal, visiting old mines and caving systems probably happened at least once on every family holiday, and water sports were something I was fortunate to do every weekend with my mum. Part of trying to be like “one of the boys” meant that I was competitive as hell, and anything that they could do I wanted to be able to do, and better. One of my proudest moments of my early childhood was racing a group of boys older than me in kayaks, I can still remember the instructor shouting “come on, she’s beating you all and she’s just a little girl.”
The flipside of always wanting to be “one of the boys” meant I had a pretty toxic relationship with other girls my own age, and sometimes with myself because of that. I never really cared much for reality T.V., fashion, make-up, fancy hairstyles, and other things that I deemed essential for being a “proper girl.” It took me quite a long time to accept that actually it doesn’t matter if I want to spend hours doing my makeup and gossiping about crushes or not, I’m still a woman, but the way I chose to show that is up to me, and if I’m dressed in a suit and tie my identity as a woman is still as valid as it is if I’d chose to wear a dress and heels.
Part of accepting myself as I am, and even just part of me trying to be a better person in general, is down to the people I’ve started following on social media. Probably about 70% of who I follow are women from various T.V. shows I watch, and 100% of them are totally awesome. Some of them are awesome because they’re funny, some are awesome because they take no shit and are not afraid to stand up for themselves, some are awesome because they are legitimately trying to change the world. One thing I have noticed though is how much everyone in this little community I’ve built for myself supports each other. (Though that might also be partly because I’ve made a conscious effort to unfollow anyone who causes me too much negativity, as part of caring for my own mental health. But whatever.)
There’s one particular celebrity that I follow on Instagram who is honestly so constantly upbeat about the world, constantly encouraging people to take a step back and enjoy the moment, and constantly encouraging people to accept and love themselves exactly as they are. I’m not gonna lie, at first I found this constant positivity exhausting an annoying, though I was going through a pretty bad depressive episode at the time. Now I’m incredibly grateful for her reminders that we are awesome as we are. Only yesterday I was having a pretty crap day, where I was feeling pretty fragile about my own self-worth and was generally just feeling a bit low. The same day she shared a post that stated:
“Admit it. You’re dope. Stop pretending you’re less than you are to protect someone else’s ego. Be unabashedly aware of your fresh.”
Yesterday I needed that reminder and it helped me get through the rest of the day. I’ve become a huge believer in women helping other women to become the best version of themselves, instead of tearing them down, so following people with a similar mindset has been good for me.
I’ve definitely been incredibly, I was brought up by women who were strong minded and stubborn. My Nan pushed to become a doctor when people told her she should have become a teacher instead. My Mum’s scout group became the first scout group in the district to accept girls, because she told them that if they didn’t let her have girls she just wouldn’t become their scout leader. It wasn’t until we moved to a different area several years later and I wanted to become a Beaver Scout, and that group wouldn’t let me in because I was a girl.
These days I’ve become cub leader to a pack that’s (accidentally) all female, and I swear these kids may just take over the world. I’m hoping that through the things that we do these girls will grow to be independent, will learn to challenge everything, and learn that anything the boys can do they can do better. I encourage some of the chaos they create, so long as it has purpose, like that time we were doing science experiments and one of them asked if we could make things explode. I love their curiosity about everything, and their seemingly endless lack of fear.
These kids are the future, the people that could someday become scientists, or astronauts, or engineers, or politicians, or anything they set their minds to. Just so long as we encourage them to always try their best, to find their own solutions, and to never give up.