Gosh, are we hard on women.
And not just in the depressing way we’re talking about it in the news these days – where people (and entire political parties, apparently) might actually believe women, they just plain don’t care.
And, no, not even in the way we pay women less. Or victim blame. Or slut shame.
All of those are 100% ways we are hard on women.
But, no aside from all of that, we are hard on women in another way. Despite that women are still not equal, facing an uphill battle every day, we additionally make their lives even harder.
We tell women they should want to have savings or have roots or have a 9-5 job, or even to be “younger moms” so they have energy to play with their future, nonexistent children. We tell women that not only do they need the “perfect” partner, not only do they need to watch their biological clock if they want children, but that on top of it all, they are supposed to make it happen themselves. Plan it all out. Set goals.
Be a strong, independent woman who plans out her future codependence. Jesus.
Even worse, we convince women that they should *want* to want these things.
And if they don’t, they are not a strong woman.
That’s the issue right there.
I saw a quote today, as cliche as it seems, that said: “The world is gonna judge you no matter what you do, so live your life the way you want to.”
This is an important piece of advice because we’ve decided amongst ourselves that there’s “rules” to society. Rules that determine if you’re successful or not.
“Enough” or not.
Rules for women that say “your standards are too high.” That say “you intimidate men.” That say “you need a good credit score so you can eventually buy a home.” That say “you have to work backwards from when you want kids, so you know when you should your partner by.”
And, our brains, always trying to protect us, tell us that if one thing we want doesn’t go our way (e.g. a bad first date), it’s easier to drown in misery and depression about everything, than to believe in trying again. In hoping again. You either “have it all” or you’re worthless. (oy vey)
People project their inner voice on us as well.
I was once asked by my family members after breaking up with someone “but, aren’t you afraid to start over?” There’s an unspoken rule out there that you’re supposed to “fix” things that are broken, stick with important relationships, and ultimately settle. Especially if you’re nearing 30.
Yeah, no thanks. I’m good.
The reality is that when we think of extraordinary people we admire, they tend to be rule *breakers.* They don’t stay in the lines of the coloring book. In fact, sometimes, they tear out the pages of the coloring book and fold it into an origami swan instead. (right?)
I honestly find inspiration in my parents. As two people that found each other later in life and started over, creating a modern family, they remind me that life throws you curveballs you weren’t expecting.
Actually – scratch that – I hate using sports terms.
Life doesn’t throw you curveballs, no, it is like a sun shower. It rains even when the sun is shining. There’s hope through the clouds. But there’s lightning in the middle of the day. And sometimes there’s even frickin’ rainbows.
It’s just life.
And yet we keep telling women that they are supposed to manage the chaos.
Perhaps society is still subconsciously grooming women to be patient mothers, despite that it’s not for everyone. Yup, we push onto women the idea that they should try to control life. It’s on their shoulders to make it all come together if they want their dreams to come true.
In some respects, of course, it’s on them. You should be the owner of your life. You should voice your opinion and seek your dreams and follow your heart.
…But that doesn’t mean that you have to have it all worked out.
This is what I mean when I repeatedly say “live in the gray.” Because the black and white – of society, in our minds, etc. – is just bull shit.
I know this because I’ve lived it. I’ve been at a place in my life where I tried to micro-manage my life, and my future, and my sanity. But I came out on the other side. Choosing to ignore the constructs my anxious little mind creates.
See, we continuously come up with these “if, then” statements in our brains. Causing ourselves stress.
- “If I’m not engaged by the time I’m 30, then I won’t have kids til I’m 33”
- “If I’m still renting my apartment in my late twenties, then I won’t have my dream house by the time I’m 40”
- “If I continue to date around, then I won’t ever settle down”
Literally none of these things are true.
I’m not saying that biologists are wrong or that time works differently or that houses are not expensive.
What I am saying is that you have NO idea what might happen in your life. And why would you want to?
If you think you’re making yourself “feel better” now by nervously controlling all aspects of your future in your head, you’re kidding yourself.
Because you’re actually driving yourself crazy. You’re not being present. You’re not stopping and smelling the roses. You’re like a person on Tinder at a Speed Dating event. Like a kid playing Roller Coaster Tycoon (yes I’m dating myself) at an amusement park. What’s the point?
In order to live the way you want to, to feel happiness, you have drop all the rules.
Screw all the societal pressure.
And that’s not easy.
But if you do the inner work on yourself. Live life every day just for you, everything will taste a bit sweeter.
When the next “sun shower” of life hits, you can either put up your hood and run inside for cover, or you can dance in the puddles and take a picture of the rainbow.
You get to pick.
But only one of those fulfills your spirit. Only one of those makes you feel like the real you. We didn’t make it this far as women, becoming increasingly resilient each and every day, to simply be to told take cover.
And remember, that despite what the world tells us, you don’t owe anyone anything.
You’re only job is to be you. And to be happy.
The world may be hard on women. But we don’t have to be hard on ourselves.