Today is International Women’s Day.
And I feel fat.
Gasp. How could McCall Manning Dempsey, a positive body image speaker, feel fat? Oh the horror!
Well, folks. We all have our days.
But here is the difference. I know that fat isn’t a feeling and that when I start thinking and having anxiety about my body, I know it is really about something SO much more (i.e. stressful move, work, tiny humans and cramps).
As women, we are programmed by society to go to war with our bodies. Our bodies are seen as the solution to happiness and world peace. If we can whittle down to the perfect size, then we will find ultimate happiness.
When I realized it was International Women’s Day, I thought ‘Hell yeah’. I thought about my personal she-ros: Ellen, Brene, Glennon, my mom, sister and countless friends. I thought about my daughter and nieces. I thought about my friends who are stay-at-home moms. I thought about my camp tribe, my therapist tribe, my high school tribe and my college tribe. I thought about the countless women who have shaped my life into what it is today.
So many extraordinary women in my life. How blessed am I?! But no matter how awesome they are – each and every one of them knows what it means to feel fat – aka feel less than. It really isn’t about feeling fat. I mean, seriously, how amazing is my body? How amazing is YOUR body?
For me, it is about feeling less than. Because as a woman I am split into a million little pieces and jobs: the mom, the maid, the working mom, the carpool lady, the speaker, the writer, the wife, the dog groomer, the accountant..the woman, the myth, the legend. Being a woman is hard y’all. So damn right we get a day.
I know everyone reading this can relate to being divided into a million pieces and feeling like you are so split you can’t do one thing right because you are doing it all half ass. Well, today is about embracing our half ass(ness). Today is about holding up our countless jobs and responsibilities and shouting, “I am good enough. I am woman. Hear. ME. ROAR. Damn it.”
Today is about giving the middle finger to society’s standards and saying, “I am awesome just as I am. My body is miraculous. My mind is exploding with intelligence and I AM WORTHY.”
I refuse to go to war on my body any more. I did that for years and guess what, I was a size perfect and I was MISERABLE. I was dying.
I’ll never forget feeling inferior when I was in my teens and twenties by men who would comment on my body as if it were some inanimate object, like a toaster. I was too ashamed to speak up. I wanted so badly to talk back to the sexist comments, screaming that my was not some new shiny convertible car they could comment on. Sadly, I didn’t have a voice so instead I focused all of my energy on changing my body instead of changing the world like I was born to do.
Well, not anymore. Today, my voice is strong. It may shake from time to time, but it shakes with passion. It shakes because I am using it. A voice can’t shake if it is silent. I speak up and stand up for women today because I was once that silent girl, muted by society’s standards.
I’ll spend the rest of my life speaking out for that girl. I will never stop screaming back at the gremlins in my own head who continue to tell me I’m not good enough. Because I am. I am not perfect, but I am worthy. Worthy of love, of belonging and worthy to have a voice and take up space on this planet.
If you are at war with your body, if you are confused about women’s day, then let me set the record straight. You do not have to be a civil rights leader or international activist to mark your place in history. You are marking your place right where you are by being who you are. You are cementing your place by standing up for others and yourself, wherever you are. Talk back to those gremlins, look in the mirror and say I am worthy. Because that is what International Women’s Day is all about.
Always remember you are WORTHY, valuable and loved just as you are. I no longer waste time feeling fat or unworthy because I’m too busy changing the world to change my body.
Oh Happy day ladies!