Monday night I curled up on my couch with a warm fuzzy blanket to watch mindless television. A welcome relief from a long day of work and chauffeuring my three teenage boys around. The Bachelor: The Women Tell All was on.
Shining from my flatscreen was a room full of beautiful women with layers of makeup, cleavage baring dresses, and tongues full of spit and fire.
Spit and fire aimed at each other.
Over and over they interrupted, criticized, and accused one another. There were tears and eye rolls and a lot of throwing hands in the air.
And underneath the masks of righteous indignation was a room full of women who have so much more to offer this world than to eat each other alive.
Each woman with a story.
But you couldn’t see it. It was covered with layers of posturing.
I turned it off. I couldn't stomach it.
Haven't we, the collective species of females, all felt this way? Let's be honest. We have all been the accused and the accuser. Not being invited to the party, not being part of the club or even being the “queen bee” who decides who is "in" and who is "out".
I am guilty. I have been harmed and been the harmer.
But, in the last two years I have been interviewing and investigating women as I have been curious about this subculture of competition and harm. I have been offered so much more in this process than I ever expected.
Underneath the masks, the botox and the posturing are millions of beautiful and brave women.
Each individual woman who is fighting a battle you don't know about. Because she won't show you. She is afraid to tell you, to open her heart to you. To you, another woman, who might crush her spirit or judge her choices.
We don't have to continue this cycle of insanity. We don’t want it in our daughters and we shouldn’t accept it in our communities.
Isn’t there enough hate to go around?
Can we choose, today, right now, to knock it off?
I want to. Will you?
Today is a #DAYWITHOUTAWOMAN and #InternationalWomen’sDay.
Today I choose to lean into this amazing culture that is growing where women can be the people God meant for them to be instead of criticizing and judging one another.
Today I celebrate, and hope we can celebrate a world full of amazing women.
What I have found and written about in my book Brave is the New Beautiful: Finding the Courage to be the Real You, is a movement growing like wildfire with women everywhere.
And it is not represented on The Bachelor.
It is in your neighborhood, your grocery store, and your church.
Women every day making choices to do the exact thing they think that cannot do. For some it is facing cancer or divorce. For others it is fighting depression or loneliness. And for many it is being able to have the courage and the strength to overcome the voices that shame them. Fully and boldly stepping out into the world and being themselves, while accepting their own baggage and bodies and boldly being who they are. Not hiding in shame but vulnerably sharing their raw and vulnerable selves with the world. That is a sight to be seen and praised!
I am perfectly unfinished and so are you and we don’t have to hide that.
Brave is not how skinny you can be. Beauty is not how pretty you can be. Bravery and beauty are so much more!
We don't need to look a certain way, or be a certain size. We can be the people, the broken and brave women we were meant to be and encourage that in each other.
So today, could we all work to change that view? Instead of walking into a room and “comparing and despairing”, or looking at her and deciding you know what her life looks like or you know what she is facing.
Could we instead grab one another's hand and celebrate each other?
Can we look each other in the eye and say, I know it is hard. But you, my beautiful friend, are brave and beautiful. Just as you are.
Won’t you do that today?
Tell her she is brave. Tell her she is beautiful.
Tell her that a day without her and a day without women would leave the largest black hole in this chaotic and often painful world.
Women today are so brave and beautiful. In all our mess. You are. I am. And so is she.
No more comparing and criticizing, instead cheer each other on!
Now go encourage her. Tell her she is brave.
Be vulnerable. Be real. Be raw and let your naked bravery shine bright. In doing so, you help others see hope. You help others have faith. That is brave. That is beautiful.
Love and encouragement,