It’s ok to be “woman”

This is a manifesto to the women who have ever felt undeserving or ashamed for their feelings. It’s for the women who think being a woman has to look a certain way. It’s for the women who are pressured to be perfect. It’s for the women who maybe aren’t attached to another yet. It is for the women who are single by choice or otherwise. It’s for the women who didn’t follow society’s expectations to be married with two children by the age of 25. I want you to know that it’s time to break the rules, and be ok with some of the ugly stuff that we feel and do because it shapes us as individuals.

I want you to know that as a gender, we’re ok just the way we are, thank you very much.

It’s ok to be lonely. You don’t have to be strong and independent all the time. We’re supposed to just be “ok” alone until our knight in shining armor comes for us. Well you know what? Some of us have been waiting a long time. We need companionship, and it’s ok to feel lonely when your “one” hasn’t shown up yet.

It’s ok to be on a journey. Who says we have to know our calling, who we’re meant to be, what makes us happy, how to balance our lives, etc.? Sometimes there’s just too much pressure to plan our lives that we forget to live them. Sometimes we get so good at trying to be successful and perfect that we don’t even know what we truly love.

It’s ok to say no when you need your “you” time or frankly, when you just don’t want to. Just because you don’t have a family needing you at every moment, doesn’t mean your time isn’t valuable too. You’ll probably be called jealous or selfish. You’re not selfish. You know that to be the best “you” means that you have to be honest with what you need. That’s not selfish. That’s maturity.

It’s ok to be a feminist and feminine, a career woman and a family woman at the same time if that’s who you are, or any other combination.

We all have unique combinations of what we want in life. There’s no cookie cutter life out there, despite what is projected onto us as the “perfect life”.

It’s ok to be desperate occasionally. You probably didn’t realize your actions were desperate at the time. You knew you needed something in that instant, so you curiously explored it. You can learn from every experience, especially when you reflect on why you wanted something at a particular time in your life.

It’s ok to be angry, passionate, and opinionated, even when you’re not exactly speaking from experience. You have a perspective. You are not to be disqualified just because someone has done something before you. When you’re promoted into a new role, you’ve never done that role before. Someone has recognized your abilities and feels confident that you can successfully translate those into the role.

It’s never a good time to accept disqualification. You have a job to do.

It’s ok to be defensive. Defend your choices. Defend who you are. Defend your freedoms. If you don’t, you’ll never truly own what’s rightfully yours.

It’s ok to make mistakes. Mistakes make the best stories. When I die, I hope I leave the impression that I raced to the finish line, taking in all I could, with all the scars, bruises, and laugh lines to prove it. You’ll be rewarded for taking risks, even if it’s not immediate. Most everything in life has the ability to heal and be mended. At the end of the day, you’ll maybe even laugh about it, and yes, you will be ok.

It’s ok to be scared. Scared of illness, loss, hurt, ruin, ridicule, and failure. If not for our fears, we would not succeed in the triumphant ways we do as people. We would not strive to innovate, protect, or mature.

We must use moments of fear to control what we can and elect to leave the rest to fate. Give it to tomorrow to shape you instead of allowing it to paralyze your present.

Consider the uncontrollable to be the surprise chapter in your life, the unexpected blessing, and the out of the blue experience you never imagined.

It’s ok to be envious. Envious of an engagement photo, a bump, a house, a talent, a family. Heck, all of the above. Noticing what someone else has that you don’t doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t love your life. It just means something is missing from your life that you want to add. Make a note of it, and position yourself to get it.

It’s ok to feel robbed. There are people in your life who seem to always get the lucky break, the family member at the top company, the college tuition that was paid in full before graduation, the car on their 16th birthday. Just remember to use the cards you’ve been dealt to their highest potential. Turn jealousy into action, and be proud of where you’ve come from and what you had to do to get there. There are plenty who have gone before you with much less, so be inspired.

It’s ok to feel broken. Whether it’s a breakup, a car accident, a disability, or difficult childhood, you’re allowed to feel sadness and pain.

Just remember that without brokenness, you would not be changed.

You would not be as special the way you are or as grateful for the good days. Those things, as hard as they are, make you stronger, more interesting, and more you. It does not make you unfit for a relationship, success, or ownership. In fact, being able to persevere through hard things should make you the most capable for more challenges and steeper goals. Let your past define your future in helping it shape how you chase after your goals.

It’s ok to want things, people, and experiences. It’s not always needy or materialistic, and it’s certainly not generational. Every single person from the beginning of time has wanted.

The act of “wanting” is a side-effect of ambition.

Ambition is what makes us get up every day to work at our craft, to go online for the chance to find a mate, to go to the gym for the physique or confidence, the corner office to ask for a promotion. In wanting, we’re looking for a result. People who say you should just be content with what you have just don’t want you to overtake them. Don’t let anyone belittle your wants or your dreams for their insecure agenda. Your life has and will always be no one else’s but yours.

Now go forth and be ok. Ok?