I'm not just a "girl".
This evening, my mind was racing and my gut told me to get my butt to my local spin class. And, usually my gut is spot on. So I listened.
And half an hour later, I found myself clipping into my bike as a Sia song started to reverberate throughout the room.
I took a deep breath. And told myself…
“You have the next 45 minutes to put everything you’re thinking and feeling into this ride.”
Exercise has been an amazing tool for me. Not to lose weight. But to constantly reconnect with my body, re-energize and reboot. Even if I don’t feel like it at the beginning, I always leave feeling stronger, more focused and a whole lot sweatier.
So….leaving that aside because I could write a whole book about that!...
Half-way through the class it became very apparent why my gut had dragged me to this sweat fest.
Normally I just plug into the music, but on this occasion, I was completely drawn to the empowering message coming from my instructor.
She said: “Growing up I was taught three things…
- Be pretty.
- Be nice.
- Find a good husband.
But I want more than that. I want to be a soldier.”
Now, of course this was meant to motivate us to put everything into our workouts. But it hit me deeper.
She didn’t mean a soldier of war. No. She meant a soldier of life.
I too, don’t want to be defined by my gender, my looks or the partner I have.
I want to get down and dirty in life and be anything I choose to be. Not what society tells me to be.
As a woman, I want to have an opinion. I want to have a voice. I want to feel capable, strong, worthy. I want to be proud of my intelligence, not hide it because it may be intimidating to men. I want to sweat. I want to be a boss and define success through my own standards.
You may have been fortunate to have grown up in a family where you were taught to believe you could be anything you wanted to be. I was lucky to have an incredibly supportive family.
But even if that is the case. Aren’t we still, to this day, being taught by society, advertising, and schooling that as young women we should be:
And find a good husband?
Because hey, if we have all that, we can live a perfect life with a white picket fence and everything will be peachy perfect.
Except, that’s not all we’re capable of.
But honestly, has society truly opened up to that yet?
Advertising certainly hasn’t. Just look at any commercial. Watch a movie and try to find a scene with only women where a man isn’t being discussed. Flip through a magazine. Or even look at the slogans printed on young girl’s clothing. Slogans such as “I’m a cutie!”, “Princess” or “I like cupcakes more than you!”
I mean, seriously? Is that what we’re telling girls from the moment they’re born?
Now this isn’t a rant against being a woman. I absolutely love being a girl. I love girly things. I enjoy doing my hair and make-up and hey, I even love the color pink.
But what I am saying, as I remind myself, is...that’s not all of who we are.
- We are strong.
- We are powerful.
- We have a voice.
- We are soldiers.
Don’t ever let anyone define you because you’re a ‘girl’. Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty in the trenches of life.
Define yourself. Figure out who you are, not who you think you’re “supposed to be”. And it may be messy, it may be complicated and it’ll probably be constantly evolving. It certainly is for me.
I’m just so grateful for this realization as I sweated my heart out, that I am more than just a “girl”. I’m a soldier. I won’t be put down, told who to be or shown how to present myself. I’ll stand up for “me”, thank you very much.
Now please excuse me as I go and spread some war paint on my face and charge through this week with gusto and determination, knowing I have an inner strength far greater than society tells me I do.
As do you.
Love and light always,
This post is part of the Beauty of a Woman BlogFest VI! To read more entries, and potentially win a fun prize, visit the fest page on August’s McLaughlin’s site between today and 11pm PST March 11th.