I apologise in advance, this is not recognising the millions of wonderful women out there who do amazing things and empower others in political movements or make historical social advances, this is not celebrating the great deeds that others have done in moments of love and true dedication to a cause. No this is the journey of empowerment that I have experienced in my own lifetime. It won’t go down in history but its what made me into the woman I am today.
Some people I make reference to are women, women who have shaped me with their words and actions, women who have made me question me, my life, and all the stuff in between. Yet it wasn’t due to the moments of inspiration, support and love but more to do with accepting, surviving and coping with the things thrown at me. Some things are personal others are just the day to day experiences in life’s rich tapestry that subconsciously molds us into the people we are and will become.
To the bullies and bitches who taunted me. Your words hurt me, filled me with pain and misery, you made me dread each day when I had to walk down the halls at school. The prodding and poking, the shouting and slapping, the kicking and chasing, it was all a game to you but it was misery for me. But you thickened my skin, you made me build a wall, you made me find strength. “slut”, “ugly bitch”, “grasser”, “swot”, you tried to taunt me from any angle but I didn’t give in, I held my head high finding every fibre of courage to walk past the crowds of you jeering and sneering at me. I kept my head down and worked hard reminding myself every day that I was not going to turn out like you, I was going to be something, I was going to be someone, I wasn’t going to be like you!
To the Teacher who said I couldn’t do it. I didn’t do it, not because you said I couldn’t but your words of discouragement rocked me. You were meant to inspire and guide me but what you made me do was question everything I wanted and doubt myself. But I didn’t give up, I didn’t let it dissuade me, instead it made me realise that maybe I needed time to decide what I really wanted. So I used the time to travel, I saw parts of the world that maybe I wouldn’t have done before, I saw life in the outback, I glanced upon the beauty of the Great Barrier reef and wandered the volcanic parks of New Zealand, I hustled and bustled through the streets of Hong Kong and I bathed in the sea in Hawaii. You didn’t dissuade me, instead I made a plan, I studied something that I was interested and let time and experience guide me and this is where I am today.
To the person who said I was a disappointment, who claimed that no one would love me, and that I was self centred and never good enough. Your words have echoed around my head for many years, my heart has been broken and I carried the weight of those words for so long. But I have cried my last tears, your words were meant to break me but instead they have fuelled me and given me strength. Strength to not be the same as you, strength to do as much as I can do, love as much as I can love, the strength to forgive but remain wise and never forget. It’s ultimately given me the courage to stand up for myself and to never be a victim.
To the ex-friends, the fake friends and the ones who used me then just faded away. I’m sorry I wasn’t good enough for you. At first I questioned what was wrong with me? What did I do? Say? Could I have been a better friend? Should I have cared more? Done more? I would dwell on every move I made, doubt every word I said, I would focus on what I thought were my failings. But then I realised maybe it was me, but maybe it was you! I’m just sorry that you didn’t feel that I was good enough for you but I know now that I am a good person, I am loyal, I care deeply and will always be there for those that need me. I don’t need to doubt myself anymore, if someone doesn’t like me then that’s OK, I don’t need to be friends with everyone, I don’t need to focus on the ‘could have been’ but enjoy the company of those who I am lucky to call my friends.
To the media, magazines and “reality” shows. Your lies are apparent now, so much more than they used to be. Your depictions of beauty and perfection are flawed to the core. You have made me question myself, hate myself, feel disgust and criticise every part of me. But I’m not the problem, there is nothing wrong with me. I don’t need to look in the mirror and wish parts of me away, nip a bit here, tuck a bit there. I am fine the way I am, I have my good days and I have my bad, give me a personal trainer, chef, stylist, make up artist and hairdresser and maybe I would look as “beautiful” as the celebrities that graces our screens but I don’t ‘need’ to be like that. I am beautiful the way that I am.
Amongst all that has influenced my thoughts and feelings, shaping who I am, one of the biggest things in my life that has empowered me is my boys.
My boys have made me the woman that I am today. They have pushed me to the edges of exhaustion and patience, they have changed my body and my mind, but they have made me strong, they have made me resilient, they have taught me more than I thought I could learn in such a short space of time. They make me slow down and appreciate life, the small beauties that are around me. They make me realise that all that other stuff doesn’t matter, what matters is them, their happiness, seeing them smile.
I am a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister, a teacher. I am strong, resilient, powerful and beautiful, I am me, I’m a woman.