Last summer I wrote this piece, and now, almost a year later, I am bringing it back in a rather timely manner. Over a month ago, my friend, Kristin Kunoff, asked me to write a piece for her blog about women supporting one another. This is a topic I am most passionate about. I told her I had actually written a piece on exactly that some time ago, and I felt it was fitting to bring it back. Because of the madness that happened on my Instagram last week, I felt it was fitting to bring it back to The Cake, too. I said it on my Instagram multiple times, I will say it again- the unexpected and overwhelmingly positive response to just TWO negative comments on my Instagram was truly the most HUMBLING experience of my life. I didn’t even think people would see those comments, let alone have such a massive response to them. I had well over 100 of you reach out to me, comment on my Insta, comment on my Facebook, email me, or direct message me… WHAT. I was genuinely in a state of shock and happy tears for days. All I can say is that if ever I doubted what I was doing, my character, or lacking confidence- you all built me up in more ways than I can even say. I have never felt so loved, cared for, protected, or fought for, and it was all SO unexpected. All this to say- I am SO GRATEFUL for the community that The Cake has brought into my life, and it took an icky situation to reveal just how REAL that community is. Thank you EVERYONE for letting me into your lives. It is truly the most special thing I get to do, and I don’t take it lightly.
Thank you, thank you, thank you x’s a million.
If you asked me what my greatest fear is, a few things would come to mind. Getting eaten alive by sharks, being stolen, frogs (yes, frogs) and, lastly, walking into a room full of women by myself. Everything we experience in life shapes and affects us in one way or another, and my experience with ladies since a very young age has, unfortunately, been more negative than positive. This has absolutely affected me in adulthood when it comes to meeting women and the fear in general of walking into a public setting. Where I once was fearless, I have found myself in multiple instances balled up with anxiety. Nothing can make me shrink up faster or smaller than walking into a space where I feel unwanted. There was one time in particular, I remember walking into a boutique and as all the other people in the store were happily welcomed in, helped or simply even smiled at, I was completely ignored. As if I didn’t even exist, the girls who worked in the shop stared at me without a word as I began to make my rounds in the store. After just a few minutes of clearly being passed by and brushed off, I had to walk out because my eyes began to fill with tears quicker than I could stop them from forming. Has this ever happened to you? Maybe not even identical to my boutique story, but have you ever felt judged or written off by other women? Because this issue with women seems to be the same anywhere you go, the chances are that you can probably say “yes”, thinking of at least a few times if you’re honest with yourself. For whatever reason, our natural inclination as women is this gross need to size up, categorize and compete with every other woman we come in contact with. Have you noticed men don’t have this problem? While women stare down and are fully aware of every other lady in the room- what they are wearing and what size they probably are- men are actually forcing themselves not to look at other men in the room, avoiding having to size themselves up. For the first time in my life, I think I can say I would rather be a man in such cases.
My previous experiences with women have affected me, no questions asked. But, they are also what have shaped my passion and drive for writing, the force which pushes me to encourage and live counter culturally. It’s what makes me shameless in being so transparent. In a way, my negative experiences have empowered me to make waves, making a change in the world of being a woman as best I can. If all it takes is one voice to begin a movement then I will gladly remove the mask of perfection or this facade that I am unwavered by mean girls when I actually am. If this somehow gives another woman the confidence to take a stand against what has become the norm as well, it is worth it. I guarantee all of us at one point or another have felt judged, categorized or misread. I will be the first to raise my hand and admit I have been told more times than I can count that people thought I was going to be rude when they first saw me, but realized differently upon actually meeting me. This is always shocking to me, and it is definitely hurtful. I promise I am not the only one who this has happened to, but why? Think of how many more people we could love and interact with if we didn’t judge. Why do so many of us count out other girls before even talking to them simply because of what they wear, what they look like or how you think they are just by glancing at them? Because I believe every single woman out there has experienced these same emotions, there are more of us in this together than we think. It simply takes more of us removing the masks and waving the flag into battle. We fix cattiness and remove the fear of walking into a room full of women by banding together, joining forces and changing the viscous cycles of being a woman as a unit.
“Girls compete. Women empower.”
When you find enough confidence in who you are rather than feeling the need to compete and be better, you open your eyes and find a freedom to love other women who are doing great things. You have the ability to be unshaken by other people’s success and, dare I say it, even celebrate with them; It just takes making up your mind to do so. You can quickly check the place of your heart on this subject if, when another woman fails, you quietly rejoice. It makes you feel better somehow that someone else didn’t quite hit the mark. As if somehow, there is at least one woman you are better than. Ladies, let’s make a pact, let’s be on one another’s teams. Let’s raise up armies of women who love each other and get excited for one another.
When I moved to Dallas, my fear of women grew greater than ever before. I was quickly immersed into a culture of money and having “things” for status in ways I had never been confronted with. Beautiful girls are everywhere in this city, and it’s hard not to notice or be intimidated. Intimidation can be the first step to judgement, quickly leading to finding things about other women that you label “less than ideal” in order to make yourself feel better. This doesn’t have to be the way it is, though. Sisters, let’s fight for unity and kiss goodbye this gross need to “be better.” Let’s be nice girls. One of the most empowering and life giving situations is when we women feel supported. Women thrive when they have support. We are our own worst enemies by simply creating division and encouraging the “c word” (cliques). I am finding confidence, battling fears that have found a home in my spirit from past experiences, and speaking up for change while doing so. Join us! In a time all about change and being accepting, let’s embrace a change in the way we women interact with each other. Let’s be the group waving the flag of surrender on the front battle lines of competition, gathering together as one and encouraging every step we take as a whole.
You are beautiful, loved, and capable. Show people how to love well today and encourage others who are doing great things. One more time: Girls compete, women empower.