I came across this absolutely wonderful piece on one of my favorite sites the other night…I Am That Girl. It came at a perfect time because I had been just thinking about the topic minutes before. It makes me really sad how we as women treat each other sometimes out of our own jealousy and insecurity. Just like Kate says, we’re all struggling with the same things. We’re all victims of inaccurate and unfair media portrayals. We’ve all been hurt. We all struggle to feel worthy and to feel beautiful. Those commonalities alone should bind us together, not drive us apart.
One of the biggest things we seem to fight about and divide over are men. We act like there’s so few left on the earth that every other woman is somehow getting in the way of our swooping him up (or if we’re in a relationship, that she might try to take him away from us). If she’s prettier, has bigger boobs, better skin…she’s an automatic threat to our happiness. If something doesn’t work out with a guy and he moves on with someone else, instead of trying to move forward ourselves or feeling encouraged that another woman found happiness, we call her a “bitch” or tear her down. When a man cheats on his girlfriend or wife, instead of getting mad at him, our husband and our partner, we get mad at the woman, calling her a “whore” or a “slut” (even if she didn’t even know he was married).
It’s no secret I’m a feminist and I think the only way for progress to be truly made for ourselves in the world is to treat each other with compassion. To try to understand each other and to unify from our struggles and our insecurities. If we’re expelling our energy tearing each other apart, judging and gossiping, we’re only going to step further backward. This is something I definitely need to work on myself too. But I’ve met so many amazing women in my life and I don’t know what I would do without them. And you never know how amazing that woman might be that passes you in the mall that you automatically hate for being prettier than you. You’ll never know what kind of friendship you could build with other women if you’re too busy judging them or being jealous. Together, we can achieve so much more than I think even we realize.
I’ve pretty obviously done a lot of reflecting this year. It’s been really hard not to compare it to last year. I get rather nostalgic thinking about how upbeat and positive I was for most of 2013.
But I realized something…probably the most important thing. It’s easy to be happy and feel fulfilled when everything is going well. It’s when things get difficult that we’re really tested. That’s what can make us stronger and build us up. If we’re never challenged and things just sailed along, maybe we would be happy all the time but we would never grow or learn. True happiness doesn’t come from things always going right or always going the way we want them to. It comes from overcoming obstacles and learning how to cope.
So yes, this has been a pretty shitty year. I got into a bad car accident, my childhood home got broken into, my grandma isn’t doing as well as she did for so many years, I feel unsettled and I’ve been questioning a lot of things in my life. I may not see or feel the strength that’s going to come out of all of these things yet. I may not feel positive about the growth I’ve made or even know what that growth is, but I will. I’ll be sitting at my laptop in 2015 reflecting on this year and how much I struggled but I’ll be grateful I was tested so much and came out of it. Lord knows I know all the ins and outs of a car insurance claim now!
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still wish it was 2013 and wish I was going from one travel adventure to another. I wish I hadn’t gotten faced with my own mortality or that of my family. I wish that I hadn’t been shown how awful people can be to one another in such a big way. The hurdles have been stacked very high but I know it will feel that much better when I jump over them and reach the finish line.
photo credit: Andrew_D_Hurley via photopin cc
Erin Hanson, thepoeticunderground.com
This yeah has felt like the longest and coldest winter of my life (except with the never ending So Cal heat), so I’m really looking forward to spring and the brand new leaves…
The word “ignorance” is one of my least favorite words. It’s right up there with “closed-mindedness”. Lately though, I’ve been completely overwhelmed with the state of the world. The increased rate of rape and assault on women that makes me terrified to even leave the house sometimes. The unfair treatment of women. The overwhelming misogyny of some men. The constant “you’re not doing enough with you’re life because you’re not doing _____”. The drought in California. Police killing unarmed people. The crises in Gaza and Ukraine. The smattering of “look like this” or “do this to find a relationship” articles. The ignorance and lack of compassion we have towards each other…our fellow human beings. I can’t even go on Facebook anymore without having a near panic attack.
I’m just so tired of it all. I know the only thing I can control is me though. I’m never going to be able to stop world wars and stop terrible things from happening in the world as much I would like to be able to. We should live in a world where women can walk home alone or go to the grocery store at night and not have to worry about being raped or murdered. We should live in a world where we actually try to understand one another and our beliefs rather than trying to change them or persecute each other over them. We should be focusing on prettying our insides and not our outsides. We should focus on being compassionate and not being right. We should be doing whatever we can to preserve this Earth we call home. We should be worrying about liking ourselves instead of worrying about how many “Likes” we can get.
Sometimes I wonder if ignorance…to a certain extent…is bliss. I strongly believe we need to know what’s going on in our world and to care about it in order to be better people and to care about each other more. But right now, I think I need a little distance from the constant news feed of social media and of life. Once I get a little more right with myself again, I’ll be able to go back to it, but right now, the less I know and the less negativity I read, the better I think I’ll feel.
It’s no secret that 2014 hasn’t been the best year in my life for a variety of reasons. I think it’s been made even tougher by the fact that 2013 was such an amazing and incredible year, especially around this time. I went from going to Seattle for the first time to a trip all over the US to my dream trip in Ireland. I always knew after I went to Ireland I would probably feel a little bit of “now what?” I checked off #1 on my bucket list so it leaves you feeling a little…empty almost.
I’ve done some travelling this year but it’s been on a much smaller scale. I went to Hawaii for barely 4 days (yes, I know I shouldn’t complain about that) and then Idaho for my best friend’s wedding. I just feel like I’m having travel withdrawls still. I don’t have the milestone of my first big trip on my own. I don’t have a dream trip to look forward to. I’ve been trying to make London happen because it’s another place I’ve wanted to go for a long time. But the clock is slowly ticking on the year and come January, we’ll be getting into busy season at work and I won’t be able to take any substantial time off.
It’s frustrating because I think this year is the year I feel like I need a trip the most. I need to get away and to refresh. I need to do something on my own to remind myself of how capable and strong I am. I need to get out of the monotony of the day to day. This is definitely the first year in my life where I’ve sort of craved solitude or doing things on my own. I’ve kind of just wanted to withdraw from people for a while and get to know myself again. That’s not to say I don’t love and appreciate my friends but sometimes I feel like I just need to unplug from the world and plug back in to myself.
I think about how I was last year and I certainly still had my rough patches, but I haven’t really liked who I am most of this year. I was so happy and upbeat last year. I’ve been irritated and angry a lot more than I’ve been happy and positive this year. I got my new job in January of this year which is the last time I can remember being truly high on life. I’m certainly working through everything and I’m hopeful the year will end on a positive note but I think I feel like travel might be able to fix some of the issues I’ve been having. Ultimately though, really the only thing that can truly remedy that is me. It doesn’t matter how far away I go, the only way that angry, irritated person is going to go away is if I try to overcome it, no matter where in the world I am. I think the bulk of what I miss last year isn’t necessarily the travel itself but more the way it made me feel and the way I felt overall throughout the year.
I still hope I’m able to fit some kind of trip in in the next 6 months. There’s still so much of the world for me to see and the only one who can make my travel goals come true is me. I just have to figure out a way to make it work and make it happen.