"I'm afraid I took up too much space...opened up too much."
As tears welled up, she looked around at this newly forming sisterhood as they all spoke up in her defense. Assured her that her expression was welcome and enjoyed. Not at all too much.
Which brought this women's group into a process of grappling with the fact that every single woman in that room feels this way sometimes.
Too much. Too big. Too opinionated, too expressed, too emotional, too powerful. Too sexy, too fat, too thin, too plain. Too bitchy, too gruff, too masculine, too feminine, too loud, too needy...
Women, this is patriarchal energy at work. This is what's called internalized misogyny.
When sexism is absorbed by women, it plays out as conscious or unconscious beliefs about how we should be/look/feel/behave and then an attempt to keep ourselves in line with these unspoken rules. And the main apparatus we use to keep ourselves in check? Shame.
Clouded by our own shame, the voice of patriarchy becomes our own.
I was too loud. I shouldn't have spoken out of turn. I should have made sure she was ok with what I was saying. I should have been more...careful. More dainty. More polite. More like a good girl.
My dear sisters, allow me to remind you of what you already know in your bones.
This is bullshit. Utter lies.
You need not have done anything different. You need not keep vigilant watch over your every word and action to make sure you're in compliance. You are allowed a voice, a dissenting opinion, a rogue desire.
You are allowed to take up space.
You are allowed to be you. In all ways, you are allowed to be you.
And you're human, so that also means that you're allowed to feel disempowered at times, apologize when you don't need to, and ask for permission where you don't actually need it. That's all part of learning and growing into our power. No need to shame yourselves for being in a learning process. Your soul came here to learn these lessons and sometimes they take an entire lifetime.
You are allowed to be you. In fact, you must. I'm working on it over here too, so we can all do it together.
You have girlfriends who need to hear that you welcome them taking up space. Use the share button below to celebrate their voice and your own.
All kinds of love,