Strong Girls Club: Feminism and Me

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am what you would call bossy. I was a bossy child, I was a bossy teenager and now I am a bossy adult (age wise at least). For years, I believed that’s all I was: the bossy older sibling that dragged her sisters around and was always Baby Spice and never ever let anyone else be the teacher.

And yes, maybe I am little rather bossy at times, but I am also part of the strong girls club; strong willed, strong minded and strong of heart. Over the last few years, instead of cringing whenever I hear myself being assertive and overplaying how it sounded in my head, I’ve come to accept that I am, in fact, a bit bossy and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

ezgif-5-7dbb01a70fBeing a strong person has helped me a lot over the last few years; there have been points that even I have felt like I would never make it through the day, let alone get past the darkness ahead. But every time, I have pulled through. Every time I have said ‘not today’ and made myself continue fighting.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that sometimes I can come across a little brusque, but please know that’s never my intention. But if I had to pick the person I am most bossy towards, it’s myself. Every morning, I silently boss myself around, saying “Get out of bed, you can do this”. When I feel myself panicking, I am the one being hardest on myself – “control your breathing, in and out”. When I shut myself away and struggle to talk to people, I say “you’ll enjoy it once you’re there, just go, what’s the worst that can happen?”

And that, for me, is feminism. Not only challenging the expectations and attitudes of society, but of those I carry myself. Never giving up on myself even when others have; even when my brain tricks me into thinking I have.

I am so proud to know so many strong girls who have lifted me up over the years, who have loved me through every bossy word and who have bossed me about just the same.

So this post goes out to them:

To my mum, who has never let me forget that I can do anything in this world.

To Emily, who let me drag her into a Wendy House by her leg without complaining and whose gentle determination fascinates me.

To Lydia, who I forget isn’t a baby anymore, but a strong, independent, incredible young woman.

To Anita, who proves that being gentle does not mean you are weak.

To Granny and Nana, who make up so many of my happy memories.

To Sian; we’ve seen each other to hell and back and there’s so much more to see together; I’m so proud to call you my best friend, you knobhead.

To Emily, who has brought another strong girl into the world and shows her every day what girls can do; that Betsy is only limited by what she can dream.

To Sara & Lizzie & Leanne, who always keep my feet on the ground and even when I can’t see it, remind me that I’m not useless and I am not what my brain tells me I am. Plus, the only three girls I can rely on to discuss food as much as me.

To Jane, who I suspect has also been called bossy in her time – thanks for being in my corner.

To Evie and her mama Kayla, who are the most unbreakable mother daughter team I have ever known.

To Danni, who will prove to her newborn daughter that even when the odds are stacked against you, you can always stare it in the face and prove every one wrong.

To Claire, who has been one of my best friends since Primary school and who is literally so strong and has forced me to do burpees before.

To Claire, who has been one of my best friends since Secondary school, and who heard that ‘science is a man’s game’ and decided to take the challenge and crush it.

To both Sophies, who don’t know each other but have both kicked cancer’s backside and proven what it means to be truly strong.

To Becca, who carries off beautiful bride and badass T-Rex in equal measures.

To Laura, and Aine, and Marie, and Elaine and Cheryl and Mary and Lottie and Tracey, who have all supported me through so much, showed me what it really meant to be be a teacher, never let me give up on myself and who continued to support me even beyond the classroom.

To my Greenacre girls, who supported me through some dark times and who look ‘ladylike’ in the eye and prove that ‘ladylike’ is bullshit.

To Tania, who grew with me and made it through with me.

To Kayleigh and Melissa whose careers couldn’t be further apart, but are both killing it.

To Leah, the apple to my grape and the one person I know who won’t judge me for anything because we’ve already seen everything together.

To Gemma over at Mutha.Hood, who I have never met, but created these amazing T-shirts, and whose Instagram stories are flawless and make me feel like I know you.

To Olivia, who is not only raising two absolutely badass kids, but is the true meaning of girl boss over at Sweetlove Press.

To Audrey, my best pal. You’re only 5 but you already have more sass and determination in your little finger than some people can hope to achieve in their entire lives. You’re not just bossy – you are the boss and I promise to sit through every pre-bedtime dance show, to listen to every fact about wood pigeons you can give me and be your cool Auntie forever.

To every strong girl I have ever known.

And to myself; for reminding the broken parts of my soul that we can do this.

To strong girls; may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

 

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