This post was originally written on August 30, 2012, and appeared on my old website, kintzfactor.com.
I wasn’t going to write this post. What’s behind it makes me hurt, sad and a bit stabby. Even as my fingers move across the keyboard, I can feel my soul swirling with rants against insensitive people and my own insecurities.
However, I know this is important. It’s important to me because it continues to help in the processing of emotions. It’s important because there are women who feel this way and don’t have the kind of support around them that I have to help them rise from the ashes of the lies and embrace what’s happened to their bodies.
These words are for the breast cancer survivors. For the infertile woman who has tried every medical method to get pregnant and can’t. It’s for thirty-year-olds who have hysterectomies. For women who have given up their babies. It’s for the women who struggle every day to overcome the hormone imbalance brought on by menopause or PCOS or endometriosis. It’s for any woman who has wrestled with body image or felt like being created a woman was a mistake.
Because of our diseases or our health struggles, we have been told that we are less than whole. Sometimes, even our own minds whisper the lies to us. There are those who have said that because I no longer can bear children, I am less than a woman. I know of others who have struggled with breast cancer, and because they’ve lost their breasts to a vicious disease, they are told they are no longer whole. Even the smallest things like extra weight, thin hair, crooked teeth, and disproportionate bodies bind us so tightly to the “less than” lie.
However, we are not the sum of our body parts. We are not numbers on a scale. Our femininity is not rooted only in breasts and wombs. We are not the size of our pants or the length of our hair. Our worth is not determined through the beauty of our eyes, our lips or our smiles. Our substance is not the sway of our hips, the height of our heels, or the length of our skirts. The dimples in our thighs and stretch marks that look like road maps are battle wounds, earned through precious children or, admit it, [insert diet fad here].
Sisters, we are so much more than these things. It is time we embrace the things that truly make us feminine. Spread your compassion. Hold fast to your fierce loyalty. Continue to bleed love and gentleness to those who are less fortunate. Share your wisdom. Bravely cry your tears. Cherish your ability to make great relationships. Be bold. Stand firm in the strength you have been given to weather any storm. Accept your imperfections and know they are what make your perfections shine. Breathe life – whether it’s through having your own children, or by speaking the truth to another. Extend mercy. Continue to believe the best about others, and trust the instincts within you when they warn you of danger. Offer your shoulder to cry on. Be beautiful.
Let’s not rise up ready to make war, but first, let’s rise. Above all, know it is who you are – your heart, spirit, and character, that makes you a woman. Overcome the “less than.” Take a look at our world and know it needs the uniqueness that has been placed within you. It longs for your brave story. It needs courageous and beautiful you.
Read #5 in the series: The One Where the End is the Beginning