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 unwavered by other people’s success and 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. Today, I present to you women in Dallas who are also living against the flow of culture, empowering women and supporting other lady’s successes. What would the world look like if a movement of women supporting women took place? I will tell you what it’d look like, it would like these ladies right here.
Lauren Sims, Liz Larsen and Shelby Cutting are just a few women I have crossed paths with in this crazy world of blogging. If ever you want to be confronted with the ugly truth of women competing, go to any events where a bunch of bloggers are in the same room and you will immediately want to find the closest exit. But, not with these women. These three women have specifically sacrificed time for me to give advice or encourage me in the same industry, and they are as genuine as it gets. If I had to imagine what a movement of women supporting women looked like, it would be these confident, successful women. I believe the line “Happy girls are the prettiest” to be very true, and I find these women absolutely stunning not only because of what they have accomplished or what they look like, but because of who they are. They are joyful and confident in who they are, which makes them stand out. They have no need to compete, because they are rooted in love. Every single on of them loves Jesus Christ with everything in them and this allows for them to love freely, without restraint or reservation.
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.
As for these incredible women, be sure to check out what they are doing to encourage others. Liz is a business owner and blogger, Lauren is a fashion blogger for Lauren Scruggs’ Lolo Mag, and Shelby is a jack of all trades working for Liz with her business, Accessory Jane, and a missions group called Joshua Expeditions. Everything we are wearing in this shoot is from Milk & Honey. All of our jewelry is none other than Accessory Jane! You can shop all of our looks online!
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.