Changing The Status Quo

Erin Brennan {Women on a Mission, San Francisco, Brennan Brand, #rewriteyourstory}

I love the current conversation that is happening in the media right now around women owning their value. But I wonder, is it enough?

In a girl powered world that is fighting unrealistic beauty standards, demanding equal pay and encouraging us to #runlikeagirl because "strong is the new pretty", then why are we being subtly shamed for being too much? And are we being shamed? Or are we shaming ourselves?

Changing the status quo isn’t just about global, social, or political change. Changing the status quo starts with changing ourselves.

Not because we are victims or because someone (your mom, men, life, your boss) has done this to you. It is the brave (read: scary) step of saying “I am not what you say I am, I am what I say I am.”

I can’t speak for all strong, stubborn, opinionated women, but for me — often when I speak up for myself or something I believe in it is followed by a shame spiral no amount of Brene Brown, mint chocolate chip ice cream or Sex & The City can pull me out of.

Maybe it’s just my Amy Schumer envy — but I wish sharing the parts of me that have been labeled “messy” or “too much” wasn’t so scary.

Come on ladies, are we not strong enough to withstand a little controversy?

“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” — Dita Von Tesse

When you are 4 and want to wear a super hero costume to ballet class we celebrate the fact that you march to the beat of your own drum. But when you get older we start telling you to grow up, act your age, be realistic.

Which leaves me with my plea: let’s change the conversation.

The biggest problem isn’t even that this is happening, it is that none of us realize that we are doing it to each other and to ourselves. The power of the words we throw around so causally are what create the voice inside our heads.

As my friends have begun to have kids I’ve gotten to know some really awesome little girls who at times can also be “too much”. They are the ones everyone is drawn to. The ones who have such passion that they will tackle you in kisses upon walking in the door. Or break out into dance in a restaurant. They are also the ones who will scream for 2 hours because they just don’t want to go to bed. Who refuse to brush their hair or randomly say “I love you” because they only know how to feel with their whole heart. For better or worse.

It is these special little girls who have helped me realize why it is so important to own my voice.

I want to be an example to them the way my own girl gang of kick ass women have shown what it looks like to accept all of yourself. These ladies are the ones who love all of me not despite my crazy but because of it. Who encourage me to use my voice, check me when I need to be checked, inspire me by the way they show up and above all else, celebrate a woman who isn’t afraid to be “too much.”

So many of our comments are not really mean but they carry with them the subliminal message that parts of us are wrong because they don’t fit in with the status quo. Where did the applause for the little girl in ballet class wearing a superhero costume go?

This can be seen as an an anthem for rebels or as I mean it to be: permission to be all of yourself. To express. To say. To feel. To let the world see all of you because you love and accept all of yourself. Even the messy not so great parts because we’re all a little messy.

There will be people who praise and validate you. That doesn’t make you good.

There will be people who criticize, don’t understand you and expect you to change. That doesn’t make you bad.

And to be fair — they both might be a little right. Not everyone will agree with and support you. What is important is that you agree with and support yourself. Trying to spend your life getting everyone to agree with you will only lead to unhappiness (and probably cancer).

It’s never easy to put a stake in the ground. What if no one agrees with you. Or if no one likes you because of where you have chosen to stand. Or if you’re proven wrong. Or worse, what if you fail.

But what if all of those things happen but some little girl sees you and it gives her permission to do the same and she changes the world.

It is our not only our job but our right to do this for ourselves, for our younger selves, for our friends, and for all the little boys + girls watching us. We are showing them everyday what the world will let them be.

Don’t we want them to know it is not only their job but their right to tell the world instead who they are choosing to be?