“I’ve got this body that is mine and a mind that not one else can tell me how to use”
I was born into a world where my role was pretty cut and dried.
I was told I could do anything and be anything, but I was still a girl.
The world expected me to bear children, find a good husband to take care of me – that was my duty and that’s where I have ended up.
Safe in my nice house with my beautiful children and hardworking husband.
Exactly where I want to be, but not just because I was born a girl – but because this is what I wanted and I fought to get here.
Because actually being born a girl is not that cut and dried. There’s alot of murky shit to wade through. It’s not actually easy to find a man who takes care of you and appreciates everything you have to offer. It’s not easy to bear children, you actually have to really fight for those things, don’t you. Or you have to fight the expectation that they’re the things you SHOULD have, even if you don’t want them
Growing up girl – I’ve faced sexism and misogyny and battled stereotypes.
Admittedly through my life I’ve played up to the role of the fairer sex, I’ve taken advantage of people offering to protect me and I’ve seen benefits in playing to the vulnerabilities of my gender but I learnt I could be more than that.
I’ve been given preference because of my gender and denied a fair chance because of it too. I’ve found opportunities in being underestimated and felt smug in proving someone wrong. I’ve fought off men who thought they could take what they wanted and bit back at people who referred to me as a piece of meat.
I taught myself how to wear high heels and taught myself how to run in them. I’ve pulled my jacket tighter around me when I’ve been out in the cold and been summoned by some stranger to “come over here honey, I’ll keep you warm” and rolled my eyes incessantly at being told id be “so much prettier” if I just smiled.
I’ve felt strong facing people who thought they could look down on me. I’ve felt proud giving people more than they bargained for and I’ve also felt scared walking down the street and vulnerable when I should have felt safe.
I’ve felt like my body wasn’t even mine at times. I’ve said yes when I wanted to say no and I’ve dealt with the consequences of it. I’ve had my body scrutinised, been called fat and at one time in my life I was told id be “worth taking home” if I put a paper bag over my head. I was 12.
I’ve battled cattiness and mean girls and had my heart broken for fun. I’ve loathed myself for not looking the way people thought I should. I tried to be someone different. I’ve faced adversity and unfair judgements and been called names that were of no relevance to my nature. I’ve been slut shamed by angry men and women. I’ve been bullied and harassed and have had the good men in my life defend my character against people who were set to destroy it.
And because of all that, because of growing up with all those fingers that were pointed at me saying “because you’re a girl” and all the do’s and dont’s that were thrust upon me because of that; because of the strong women and decent men I had in my corner and because I had to fight – I’ve got grit. We all do.
What are some of the things you’ve done? The big things and the small things. Use your voice and share your stories,
I beat out all the boys to win the swing rope competition when I was 10. I jumped off bridges into the river when no one else would. I ran hard and fast to let people know I wasn’t to be underestimated. I challenged people and it pissed them off. I did things other people wouldn’t. I made my own choices and owned up to the wrong ones. I learnt from my mistakes. I’ve been told I was “weak as piss” and used that to forge ahead instead of shut down. I didn’t settle. When people said “you won’t because you’re a girl”, I made it clear it was because I didn’t want to, not because my gender prevented it.
Because I was born a girl I deal with all the terms and conditions that come with it. I get my period, I get tired. I cry. I suffer – oh I suffer through some months. I deal with hormonal acne, my body shape changes, I take birth control that makes me sick, I take a different birth control that makes me moody, I fit clothes and don’t fit them, I try not to get pregnant and panic about being pregnant. I spend money on tampons, I deal with the checkout boy being embarrassed that he’s even selling me tampons and I try to carry on when I’m hurting. I have surgery to fix this and that, I have doctors and specialists prod around to figure out what’s going on down there and never get any answers and I do all this in a world where I get called irrational and have jokes made about me because some people pretend like periods aren’t even a thing. Like they’re not the reason we’re all fucking here anyway.
So here I am, not “just a girl” but a woman and what a woman hey? Look at what we do. Look at how fucking outstanding it is to simply be a woman – Look at the triumphs that come with just being that.
I’m a woman who is a wife and mother and at any given time of day, I’m a chef and a counsellor; I’m a sister and daughter and aunty and niece. I’m a friend and a fighter and judge and executioner. I’m an accountant, an entertainer, a mediator, a maid and a nurse. I’m flawed and sometimes I’m weak and that’s ok because I’m human but when you look at all the shit we deal with we are actually so, so strong. I married a man who never looked down at me – he sees me on his level. We’re equals and there is so much value that comes in that knowledge. Because when I met him I never saw myself as “just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her”, I was a womanl standing in front of a man offering him my love and that’s something quite different. I’ve made monumental fuck ups and achieved incredible things. I grew babies, do you know how astonishing that is? That my body created life, that I survived all that, that I nurtured and raised these kids who will move mountains in their time. Or how astonishing it is that you can feel like your body betrays you and survive all that too? Do you know how incredible it is that you can put everything else in front of yourself and still thrive?
I still battle my self worth, but I never see myself as inferior and Id never allow anyone to assume I was or that they could treat me that way.
I’ve got this body that is mine and a mind that not one else can tell me how to use.
Teach your daughters to challenge the status quo. Tell them if they want a man, to find one who will pick up tampons at the supermarket when she needs them and raise your sons to be that guy.
Don’t ever stand for being seen as “just a girl” because you are so much more. There is no such thing as “Just a girl”. We are queens and matriarchs. We are leaders and trail blazers. We don’t always believe that but it is true. Weaker sex? I think not. We are fucking mighty.