A Woman's Place - Wherever She Damn Well Chooses
A woman’s place should be wherever she damn well chooses. And wherever that place is, I hope she feels strong and healthy.
I speak to women and serve women and care about the health of women because too often society has been taught not to. Of course, I care for men too - or anyone looking to improve their health. But women will always hold a tender spot in my heart. Chalk it up to camaraderie.
I advocate for women because too often I placed everything before my own wellbeing in the name of feminine, sacrificial love. Relationships, degrees, family, career, community service. All things benign, until I lost myself. Sacrifice is good, great even. Except for when it started to kill me. What’s (not so) funny is that it didn’t have to. I finally realized I wasn’t sacrificing my life for loved ones, in the face of grave danger and peril. I was sacrificing myself needlessly while trying to win the approval of others. Or trying to win the approval of my hardest critic, myself.
That’s why women’s health matters. Because women are built to sacrifice, create, and serve in various environments of life. And women deserve self-love and inner strength to move through life fulfilled.
Everything I want to bestow upon others, I also need to bestow upon myself: kindness, love, nurture, encouragement, honesty, cultivation.
And in today’s reinvigoration of women’s empowerment and feminism, I argue that the best way to be a feminist in society is to be a feminist for myself. Feminism historically (and still in certain circles today) has been a dirty word. Why not reclaim it as a powerful way to love ourselves and each other fearlessly? To love our individual strengths, and to acknowledge our differences, while still encouraging the unity of women?
Some may disagree, but I think the word feminist can apply to any person seeking to improve the quality of life, health, equality, and well-being of women.
Starting from there, unity is within reach.
What are some ways I began to love my [feminine, curvy, witty] body and mind?
Gifting myself ten minutes. I started doing this once a day, now I do this at least three times daily. My role as a nurse and health coach is highly caregiver-oriented. I’ve been told that when I walk into a room I bring sunshine and that my voice has a gentle calmness. If you’ve seen my road rage, you know this can’t be 100% true. I help myself nurture others through my natural, feminine energy by giving myself space. These ten-minute buffers provide rest for my sore feet and rest for my soul.
Moving my body. Some days I move my body fifty minutes, other days only five minutes. But even parking further from a store entrance or patient home, I get my muscles moving and breeze on my skin. Noticing the movement and sensations is almost as important as the movement itself.
Speaking to myself kindly. Self-criticism and negative thoughts are one of my hardest habits to break. Brains are wired to repeat the same statements over and over - whether it’s a self-taught statement or a criticism heard from someone else. But given time and repetition, pathways in the brain can be re-wired. My go-to is thirty seconds of reflection on a self-loving mantra each morning. My mantra from today? I can do hard things.
Grounding myself. I ground myself by literally feeling my feet on the ground. And praying. Ten minutes of meditative prayer helps relieve my stress and bring my flighty, anxious thoughts down to ground-level. When I remember that I am connected to God and connected to others, I literally feel down-to-earth. Even reflecting on the commonality of humanity grounds me.
Lifting my sisters up. Comparison is the killer of unity and joy. But love of others and love of self is the antidote. When I’m able to have compassion for myself AND for others, my confidence is unstoppable.
How do you strengthen your feminine-self?