I'm tired of backbiting women with hurt in their teeth and nails like claws who smile so prettily and own a thousand masks and everyone says "Beware, she's like the nighttime, dark and soft but she'll blind your step. She's a woman." I'm bored with society, with culture, with people, who hold a woman like she has a bomb ticking slowly inside her, and no one knows what will set it off. I'm tired of wearing clothes like battle armor, that will shield, and defend. I'm tired of women being proud of men who "put up with them" like they're crazy, like they are the witch in the stories. Up in her tower with a birds nest of hair, waiting, watching, stirring her spells. Wanting someone to love her, agreeing she's too rough to be loved.
Let's root out the bitterness that sits on our tongues, ready to spill into someones life. It's corrosive, it's vile. No more comparing other womens bodies like they're doll pieces put together incorrectly. No more comments about celebrities, like they're not people, like they're owned.
"She looked better before she lost so much weight."
"I hate her haircut now."
"I can't believe he'd even date her. She's crazy."
Ladies, why is this so ingrown in us? Why do we compare ourselves with others, why do we compare strangers with strangers? People point to many of the males in our culture for making problems, and I'll be the first to backup the truth quiet sexism we're faced with. But honestly, I think there's a bigger problem and it doesn't lie directly with our counterpart.
We women don't love freely, openly, without fear. There's bitterness in our hearts started generations ago, from great grandmothers down. It's become our heritage, the passing of a torch, an inheritance laid up for us by those we love, those we trust. I want to burn it.
The only inheritance I want to pass down, above any words of wisdom, gold and precious jewels, is this:
be a woman who loves.
Start with loving yourself.
The truth of the matter is, the only person whose opinion truly matters to you, is yourself. Think about it, you go without makeup for a day and your father says "You look more beautiful like this, don't cover up." and you smile and say thanks. But behind your teeth are the words forming stop lying. I know the truth. No one person can keep you from thinking like this. Or another way, you wear a dress you're not sure of, you're not sure of yourself, you wear it and your boyfriend says you look great, but you don't believe him, you think he's confused. He can't be thinking that, really. This isn't natural.
Don't you remember when you loved who you were? Think about it, think about it hard. Close your eyes, go back to the moment when you first thought "I'm pretty."
Maybe you were a little girl, trying on a new hat, covered in dust from playing outside, you catch your wildness in the mirror and you love yourself. You were little, you didn't think that way long.
Do you remember when that changed? I do. I remember this root of comparing, I remember I wasn't popular. I remember my face was round and my fingers (baby fingers) were chubby and I was nine and I couldn't wear t-shirts without a training bra. I wasn't beautiful any more.
In my mind, being a girl wasn't too great. I was furious that I wasn't the first born son I was sure my daddy wanted. I was furious that all the girls wanted to wear pink and talk about how to raise a baby (we we so young, so young) and the boys wouldn't play because I was the same way. A girl.
It took me eight years to overcome that. To where I could once again look in the mirror, dust on my makeup-free face, a stained pink shirt pulled over baggy jeans and say "I am beautiful."
Do you know how that came to be? It started with anger. It started with me giving up. Saying "I'm not good enough for anyone." There was a quiet voice and He spoke through time, a lesson that took me hard years to learn,"you're good enough for me."
Wash me clean, I'm white as snow again.It took stubbornness, it took cursing. It took me saying "No, I'm going to love myself, you can damn well try to stop me." And I could feel God smiling and saying "'atta girl" (At least that's how God talks to me sometimes) and pulling me up from the dirt with the strength only He has.
Do you know what true ugliness is? An ugly heart. A bitter, selfish heart that keeps and sits and waits. It's a lazy heart, a joyless spirit, it's refusing to change and staying the same. It's whispers behind a friends back, it's that thing we women in the south laugh about doing (all those how are you doings that fall from dead lips onto deaf ears. All those light pats on the back. All the gosep, the hurt, the knowing that no one has your back because you don't have theirs.) Ugliness is comments from women responding to Angelina Jolie having her breasts removed so that she can live to see her babies grow up with biting words that you can imagine coming from the mouth of a victorious cartoon villain. Ugliness is claiming you can't get along with other women. Ugliness is being defensive over "your" man because you think some other woman would steal him away from you. Ugliness is women not hearing a victim's cry and siding against the evidence and saying that if their allegations were true, they would have said it 20 years ago.
The next step is loving others.
Your lack of a thigh gap is not ugly, your un-toned stomach is not ugly, your snaggle tooth is not ugly, the bags under your eyes that you have from staying up late to study for that really important test? They're not ugly.
Ladies, let's be women who love. Let's flee from comparing ourselves, let's run from the faintest idea of needing to be petty with other women. Have an honest face, have a true grip to your handshakes. Don't hug someone if you don't mean it.
Here's a challenge: take a day and correct the way you think. Change each negative thing you say to something positive. Kill them with kindness, so they say. Take every good thing you say and coat it in honey, find that your words were more bitter than you thought. Share your stories with me, if you will! Join me on instagram @imjohannagrace and use the hashtag #womanwholoves on your pictures and passion. From now until...always?
xoxo Johanna Grace