17-year-old Julie was very proud of the fact that she didn’t have many girlfriends. She walked around angry at the world while sharing with anyone who would listen, that she preferred being friends with guys because girls were just so much drama. She was the meanest of the mean girls and often found herself on the other end of the drama, even when she adamantly reminded everyone how much she hated it. 17-year-old Julie was convinced that competition had to be a part of every one of her female friendships and if we’re being honest; this was one of the smaller problems 17-year-old Julie had (truth be told, she was a mess).
I’m not proud of the mean girl my teenage years shaped and I’d like to say that I had a solid ONE year of foolery but this mentality followed me into my adulthood. If we’re being honest I only recently (about five years ago) started realizing how twisted my mentality was and whenever I’ve spotted a moment to attempt redemption, I’ve taken it. (A lot of former classmates have received long-winded apologies over Facebook Messenger.) Maybe it’s all the Gina Rodriguez interviews I watch or the way Brie Larson consistently lifts up other creative beings on her Instagram or it could be the way Ava Duvernay is constantly lifting up others on Twitter; the point is I refuse to be anything but proud and encouraging with the women in my life.
So on this International Woman’s Day, I want to take the time to remind you that life is so much sweeter when you refuse to compete with the beautiful and powerful women around you. There is room for all of us and success feels so much better when you have a group of women who are proud of you around. The mentality that women must constantly be in competition with each other is ridiculous. I can attest to the fact that it has been proven to me that time and time again women will prosper when we choose to lift each other up. In my day-to-day life I actively try to support the women around me and the women I interact with online. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my niece is soon-to-be 2 and I want her to be confident in her power and supportive of everyone around her.
Though I’ll admit that I am far from perfect and sometimes 17-year-old Julie tries to pull me back because the truth is, it’s easier to be mean. It’s easy to reconcile your failures when you’re tearing other people down for theirs. It’s easy to feel more proud of your own accomplishments when you diminish others for theirs. Except, life can be extremely lonely when you choose to tear other people down. There is room for everybody and now is the time to take up space.
Now is the time to feel powerful in your being and as a writer, I feel extremely lucky to exist now. 17-year-old Julie would be extremely confused with the person I am today but I hope that 17-year-old Sophia (my niece) realizes her power as a woman and sees how sweet it is to surround yourself with other powerful women.
So today I celebrate the powerful women around me: My mother is the epitome of strength and she showed every ounce of it while dealing with my teenage years. My sister-in-law has gone through so much and though our fights happen often, we always come back to each other with love and support. My best friend is my favorite human and every time she succeeds I feel like throwing a parade for her. I work at a place where most of its Executive Team is strong women and I am so lucky that I get to interact with them every day. My niece is about to turn two and though completely unaware of how magical she is, I am certain that she will be a magnificent woman. I mean, this list is endless; Harim, Alex, Melissa, Mayra, Katie, Sarah, Ashlynn, Terri, Sandy, Princess, the list goes on and on. I am surrounded by women who constantly remind me to keep going. I am lucky but I have also worked hard to build strong relationships with the women around me.
On this day I urge you to support women in any way you can: call your mom, listen to Pink, watch an Ava Duvernay movie, stop arguing with your girlfriend when you know that she is right, go see Annihilation with that strong female cast, binge-watch all of Shonda Rhimes shows, watch Salma Hayek interviews, or subscribe to this blog to support ME (I couldn’t help myself).