Let's face it: 2018 was absolutely exhausting. This year's social and political conflict strife aside, my personal life was aimed solely at the needs of those around me instead of using the time to mold and shape the person I am supposed to be and take care of myself. In the past couple months, something changed. I wanted to move into 2019 prepared with self-love and motivation to make this MY year and fulfill goals I've had for years.
With the help of some solid boss bitch advice, I've been able to turn my end of the year exhaustive slump into excitement and optimism for the year to come and understand more about what it means to be a woman in this day and age.
1. "Body Positive Power" by Megan Jayne Crabbe.
You may know her as the colorful dancing unicorn of positivity on Instagram, where her profile has racked up over 1 million followers. As a champion of fat acceptance and body positivity online, this book highlights Megan's self-fulfilling struggles with her body and with food from a young age that led to years of yo-yo dieting and self-hatred. She offers an enlightened perspective on how to learn to love yourself from the ground up and shares touching anecdotes to show that although it isn't easy, self-love leads to the most fulfilling life. At the end of the day, diet culture never serves YOU, and isn't that what the endgame of your choices should be?
2. "Shrill" by Lindy West.
I may have found my other half in Lindy West, which is a shame since she's undoubtedly and unapologetically married to a man who plays the saxophone. She's living her best life as a New York Times Best Selling author and acclaimed contributor for "The Guardian" and "The New York Times" but she wasn't always. Shrill weaves a politicized and deeply personal account of what it was like to grow up as Lindy and her many run-ins with the vast misogyny of the internet when she tried to challenge body norms, sexism and rape culture in comedy, and brazenly voiced her pro-choice opinions. Her book, like its author, is a feminist icon and serves to teach its readers valuable lessons about societal issues and its effects while still entertaining you with West's wit and humor. It's a must read for any person struggling with how to start making choices purely for themselves and how to stop giving a sh*t what people think.
3. "How to Be a Woman" by Caitlin Moran.
Caitlin Moran is a British Journalist at "The Times" who, apart from being known for her remarkable intelligence and wit, also has the style of a spunky (and much nicer) Bellatrix Lestrange. One way to sum up this book is with a direct quote from it: "I want a Zero Tolerance policy on All the Patriarchal Bullshit." Moran focuses on women's issues in the workplace and the societal pressures on women to adhere to double standards and expectations compared to their male counterparts. She devotes multiple chapters to what it means to be a feminist (it's a lot more simple than people think!) and true to her writer's voice is blunt and quite crass in explaining her view of the world and topics that are difficult for people to talk about.
4. "All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation" by Rebecca Traister.
Ok, so maybe you aren't quite thinking of getting married yet, but you may want to read a book which offers a unique perspective on the economic and emotional lives of women who have chosen to live their lives without romantic partners. In my experience, so many women think they are not complete without a romantic partner and are conditioned to make choices for other people versus making self-fulfilling for themselves. This book isn't to convince women never to get married or to push the notion that being in a romantic relationship is a bad choice.
Rather, it's to convince women struggling with the notion that they are enough by themselves that they ARE and that there are amazing benefits to focusing on yourself and your aspirations in life without thinking about serving anybody else. Its ultimate message is that women who grow up being shaped by family, friends, work, their environments, and themselves are anything but alone.
5. "The Beauty Myth" by Naomi Wolf.
You'd think that in the day and age of body positivity movements online and the rise of inclusive clothing brands in mainstream media we would be less inclined to believe there is an ideal way to look. Sadly, this 1990 book is still relevant in our culture and its values. Naomi Wolf sheds light on what it really means to chase unattainable ideals, that the pursuit of perfection leads nowhere and distracts a large percent of the population from going after equal pay, higher education, and advancement in jobs. An obsessed population is a controllable one and if there is one thing I learned from this book it is that I will not be subject to a society that aims to change how I or any of my loved ones look. This book is both an educational and sociological study on growing up as a woman in the west and a motivational call to arms to start embracing yourself and what you desire most out of your life.
These books act as resources to learn more about yourself and the environment that affects your every action. Here lies your chance to make 2019 your most determined and self-fulfilling year yet.