First things first – Happy International Women’s Day! Whether you are one of my closest gal pals, a stranger who stumbled here through cyberspace or are slowly becoming one of my “readers”, this world wouldn’t be as amazing without women like you in it. If you are a male reader – hey! Happy to have you here, you can learn a lot from this.
On my worst day, all my deadlines at work are pressing against me, my boyfriend is pissing me off about something unimportant, my mother is asking me serious life questions I don’t want to answer and I am having cramps so bad that I want to throw my pelvis into a block of ice. My boobs aren’t sitting in the bra that I over invested in, my foundation is oxidising and turning orange, my shoes are UNCOMFORTABLE AF and all I have really accomplished is being female. Then it hits me – being a woman is one hell of an accomplishment.
I come from a long line of opinionated, strong, intelligent women who worked tirelessly for the things they had. I watched my mother raise three children, climb the corporate ladder, lose 50 pounds and then manage to look like she is still 30 years old. My grandmother was born in rural Jamaica and set off for the Cayman Islands to become a teacher and a nurse. My aunt chose to leave her career in tourism and hospitality to go to law school. All while being woman in a world that even now, still gives men more opportunities.
Even with all these amazing examples, figuring this woman shit out has not been the easiest time. With two fertility threatening conditions, kids may not be in the cards for me and whenever I say I am okay with that, people look at me like I am crazy. Am I not a woman without being a mother? In terms of marriage, I would love to go down that road eventually but I find people are asking me more when it’s happening as I am not a woman until I am a wife. Expressing exhaustion is dismissed with things like “wait, till you have kids” as if my body doesn’t get the right to wear out until I have children to take care of.
Before any of those things happen, I am still a woman. I still walk into a corporate environment and have a glass ceiling over my head. I still have to ignore cat calls and ask men to come out of my space more than once in social settings. I still have to contend with unrealistic beauty standards. I still have to prove that a hormonal difference is not a human deficiency.
Men, if you are still here – we need your help to balance the scales. That means that at work, make sure that there are enough seats at the table for both of us. That means in relationships, take on some of the more traditionally feminine duties and then teach us how to change a tire. Fathers, spend time with your daughters playing dress up and kicking a football around.
Being a woman is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and some days, I wonder what it would be like to be one of the boys. Then it dawns on me that even on my most challenging days, leading life in these uncomfortable af shoes is something I would never change.
Happy International Women’s Day!