With International Women's Day and #daywithoutawoman taking place last week, I started thinking about what being a woman means to me, what the women in my life have meant to me, and what I hope to mean to the women around me.
Women have often been described throughout history as their gender role: as the mother or the caretaker or the housekeeper. For some, this description may still ring true, but being a woman to me is so much more than the stereotype that has kept us in a box for so long.
I have been so fortunate in my life as to have immeasurably strong women surrounding me, guiding me, and teaching me constantly. I was blessed with two amazing sisters whose kindness and willingness to help others inspire me constantly, a stepmother who amazes me everyday with her ability to mold and nurture, two grandmothers who are so different but have each shown me what it means to be a hard and determined worker, girlfriends whose pure love and acceptance have taught me that the world is so much bigger than us, and a mother who teaches me everyday what the definition of strong is, what it truly means to be a mother, a friend, an empowering, inspiring, undeniably smart, passionate, loving woman.
Not until recently, did I actually start thinking about what being a woman means to me, and how my identity as a woman has shaped me.
To me, being a woman means being everything: Being strong enough to one day raise a family, to sacrifice for that family and for the people I love. Being a light, a teacher, a friend, a helper, a shoulder to cry on. Being someone that people can come to, someone who listens. Being a mother and balancing the full-time job of motherhood on top of the full-time job of life and whatever else is thrown in my path. Being someone that people and my kids can look up to.
Being strong enough to hold the world on my shoulders, while also being strong enough to be vulnerable.
One thing I've discovered in my short time on this earth, and one thing that I hope to continue exploring is the misconception of vulnerability. Not as much anymore, but at one time women were seen as the significantly weaker sex. We were fragile, weak, vulnerable. But being vulnerable, being comfortable enough with yourself, your fears, your demons, opening up and showing someone your soul... that is the bravest, most courageous thing that anyone can do, and that is the biggest lesson that the women in my life have taught me- They have taught me how to love myself, love my womanhood, and be proud of my vulnerabilities because those are what truly make us up at our core.
The definition of what it means to be a woman is nonexistent. It is ever-changing with each individual. I cannot speak to what being a woman means to anyone else, I can only speak for myself, but what I can say is that every woman's womanhood is her own and how she owns it is what makes her amazing.
To me, being a woman means being everything. What does it mean to you?