In the Caribbean culture I grew up in, the ideal image of a woman meant being voluptuous — having a big butt, curvy hips and breasts. That is not the body type I inhabit. And years into my adulthood, each time I looked at myself in the mirror, I still saw a little girl as though I were waiting for myself to mature and blossom.
I know now that this was on a subconscious level, but I felt less of a woman because my body type didn’t fit my culture’s ideal image of womanhood. And honestly, it was only about a month ago when the thought occurred to me: “Wait a minute, I have a different body type! I’m not waiting to mature and ‘fill out.’ Heck! I’m already a woman!”
The idea that I had been holding on to this narrative is ludicrous. But I’m also giving myself a whole lot of grace because I’ve spent years receiving both implicit and very explicit messages that my body needed to be different. (My most recent example was being advised by a maternal figure in my family to add a pair of those removable silicone paddings to my bra to make my breasts appear bigger. I suppose my real breasts weren’t fit for the semi-formal occasion? Lolz) And so it’s understandable that all along those tapes were playing in my subconscious that I needed to be different in order to be a “real woman”.
Loss, Infertility & Womanhood:
While we’re celebrating women this month, it feels relevant to shed light on the experiences of actual, real women who also don’t fit the image of what’s often portrayed as womanhood. “Birth Warriors”—those of us who’ve experienced loss or infertility on our journey to motherhood—might be left feeling less of a woman because loss and infertility are still in the shadows of what our culture highlights about pregnancy and childbirth.
You might be feeling less of a woman if your body has had challenges conceiving…
Less if you didn't carry a baby to full term…
Less if your relationship with your partner has been shaky since…
Less as you’re reminded that your biological clock is ticking and you need to get “it” together already.
If you’re feeling “less than,” this is my reminder to you: Whatever our culture has convinced you that you need to be, do, or have in order to be enough, it is a lie! You are enough, right there where you are. And the moment you accept that you are already perfect, the world around you will organize itself to make space for and embrace your unique brand of magic.
You move differently in your body and in your life when you realize that you don’t need to wait for something outside of you to complete you.
There is more freedom when I look at myself in the mirror now. My life now hums this tune of “Go do your thing, lady!” because I’ve stopped waiting to become a woman!
Whether you are married, going through a divorce or separation, seeking a committed partner, free-styling, trying to conceive, taking a break after a loss, figuring out your career, focusing on your career….you are enough. You in your beautifully unpredictable life, in your perfectly imperfect, body, you, my dear, are an effing work of art.
You are enough. You are enough!
Shout it from the mountaintop: “You are enough!”
And this whole damn month is dedicated to you! You are making history for our generation of women and those to come by refusing to be limited by someone else’s “should’s”. So every morning you wake up in this magnificent body and life of yours, honor yourself and this sacred journey that you’re on. Life is better with you in it.
Happy Women’s Month, love! This one’s for you.