Being Woman: Easing Up on Ourselves

It was International Women’s Day in March and I swear I had never heard so much about International Women’s day as I did this year. Part of me was rolling my eyes and thinking, ‘Here we go – Halloween, Easter and now Women’s Day.’

Don’t mind me, I’m a bit cynical about everything – at first.

But it’s hypocritical. I’ve gladly devoured a couple of Germaine Greer’s books (as controversial as she could be) and I’m happily a part of a business women’s Facebook Group for business women only. Really, when it comes down to it, I’m quite okay with being a woman, being Woman, and nurturing a little woman who is soon turning 8.

As I strutted in my heels into a convention hall, beautifully decked out with white tablecloths, flower centrepieces and my mind was imagining chandeliers (even if there might not have been any), I was wrapped up in warmth and a sense of wonder. Exuded by the entire room was a buzz of over 500 women strutting their gorgeous stuff for Women’s Day too.

I was running late in true Cinderella style and my beautiful bestie stood up to greet me throwing her arms about me. In glamorous, fitted, white dress and red lipstick, she was just stunning. Isn’t that part of the wonderfulness of being a woman? We get to be princesses every now and then!  And why not for Women’s Day?

At our table there was a range of different women, of varying ages from 18 to 65, from different countries, and sporting different styles. One lady admitted she never wears dresses but chose to wear one especially for the occasion and she looked fantastic!

The main presentation was held by Mia Freedman, founder of Mamamia (and I’m sure a lot of us would remember her as editor of Cleo and Dolly magazines in the noughties) and Mia was ever so gracious, funny and raw. She talked to us about how we women are called to deal with crises on a regular basis – from the tantruming toddler to the ageing parents to the best friend who is going through a divorce. She showed us photographs of herself feeding her child baked beans out of a can, and explained that she had texted it to her mother touting herself as worst mother of the year. She shared that her own mother wrote back saying, “Baked beans are full of protein and look at how happy the child is!” I smile with warmth because Mia was ever so candid, making us see that we are all… real.

This is a message that has been coming at me from different angles and directions lately. I’ve been encouraged through different avenues to share more of myself. I wasn’t sure just how I was meant to do that and how to share just what of me, exactly? What would it accomplish, I wondered. After all, I was taught to be humble and meek. But had I, somewhere along the line, confused humility and meekness with invisibility?

As I sat there, laughing in unison with hundreds of women around me, all of us relishing in the highlights of Life evident in the most wonderfully real and raw moments that Mia was sharing, Mia was saying, “See, my sharing of my feeding my child baked beans has warmed this room right up!”

I realised that these are the moments we all live quietly, but quietly together. Maybe I didn’t have to guilt on myself so much for that time we left the house with my child wearing her pyjama shirt, dirty socks and unbrushed hair, gulping down cereal in a cup in the car. (Oh, that was just yesterday).

As Mia openly shared another photograph of herself in the shower no less – eating a bowl of cereal (was it in a huge hurry before a major Awards Night?), I wondered if would there ever be a Men’s luncheon to talk about eating cereal in the shower? No. Because they (a) just get on with it, (b) would never in their wildest dreams take a bowl from the kitchen to the bathroom (nor understand what would drive a person to do that!) and (c) much less talk about it! But we women can unanimously ease up on ourselves, have a little chuckle, and pat ourselves on the back for getting it right most of the time.

I am definitely okay with that.

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