Women’s Snickers

I had a lovely International Women’s Day last week. I’d been feeling a bit grumpy on account of lady problems – my bits ached, I was emotional, and I had a savage craving for Snickers like you wouldn’t believe, so I wasn’t massively in the mood to celebrate being a woman. Everything was narking me off and I was very cross at the disruption that hormones can cause. I didn’t want to play the worldwide sport of owning our femininity, I wanted to watch Meryl Streep films in the dark and throw things. Maybe have a little cry over nothing in particular into the dog’s tummy and then eat another Snickers.

But I cracked on because it would have been frowned on if I’d skulked around wincing at my boobs and muttering that I wanted to be a man. That’s not the kind of thing that’s expected of you on International Women’s day. You’re supposed to be at your best, showing anyone who will notice that you are part of a franchise of Gender Awesomeness, not just today, but every day. You are an ambassador of all that is Woman; you certainly can’t grumble about your fallopian tubes.

Somehow I got through the day without weeping, throwing anything, killing anyone or performing a self-hysterectomy with a spoon, and set up for the International Women’s Day event I was doing in the evening, which was a talk on the theme of The Invisible Woman. “I WISH I WAS RUDDY INVISIBLE AND THEN NO ONE WOULD NOTICE ME SITTING IN THE CORNER, PICKING SNICKERS NUTS OUT OF MY TEETH”, I wanted to bellow as I laid out the seats. But that wasn’t the point of the evening.

The point of the evening was to welcome a small number of women to talk openly about whether we feel seen; whether we have to struggle to be seen as young women, get seen for a few years, and then slowly get forgotten again. To discuss whether we want to be seen at all, and if we are seen in the way we want to be seen. I was expecting maybe a handful of people to turn up for an hour’s chat before attending the next events; a talk on domestic violence and a talk on the Essex Girl and her stereotyping. The talk got going and slowly the room filled up until there were no more seats. More women turned up and eventually there were people sitting on the floor, standing by the back wall, and filling the pockets of space at the side. I was pleasantly surprised and settled in to the talk with a warm feeling growing in my tummy. Not unlike when you clutch a hot water bottle to your abdomen because Eve ruined it for all of us when she mucked God about all those years ago or whatever.

The assembled women had brilliant things to say about their experiences; how our lives are shaped by our gender, how often things get brought back to our sexuality when they shouldn’t, and how sometimes it feels very much like some men forget to address things to our faces instead of our boobs. “If anyone talked to my boobs right now I could ruddy bash their face off with one slight jerk” I muttered inwardly, still a bit peeved at the enlargening effects of the monthly tribulation.

It was an inspiring hour of a diverse collection of brilliant women of all ages meandering off and on subject as we achieved what was essentially the point of the day; be with each other, share our stuff, listen to each other, and support each other. We ended the session saying we should do it again soon. On the whole I was glad I’d turned up. Especially as it was my event.

It was so nice I even stopped thinking about Snickers. For, like, an hour.

CIcJUeeUEAA8zo5

Advertisements

Learning To Love Women, & Other Belated Tales

Some twitter-thoughts I surprised myself with on International Women’s Day…

I ping between anger and sadness when women joke (ineffectively) about being Essex girls, mistakenly thinking they are showing people we are liberated and fun.

I think one of the things that riles me is the women making these jokes are utterly unequipped with the irony to carry it off as an actual comment about real women.

They clutch for a ‘LOL’ like it makes them ironic. “Oh, silly me, I’ve got a cock in my mouth again. Typical little slutty me, of Essex.” NO. STOP IT.

YOU AREN’T DOING IT WELL ENOUGH TO DO US ANY GOOD. IRONY IS AN ART AND IF YOU GET IT WRONG YOU CAN DO FURTHER DAMAGE OR AT LEAST LIMIT CHANGE.

I look at heels and think “why?”, as often as I look at heels and think “I wish I was sassier and wore heels.”

Sometimes lipstick makes me feel strong and open. Sometimes it makes me feel weak and exposed.

I feel a bit sad every time I have a period and I look down and think what might have been.

I feel FUCKING RELIEVED every time I have a period and crap myself about what might have been.

I had an abortion and I’m so happy I had the choice, the chance – and know that I should be able to say it here or anywhere, minus all irrelevant personal specifics, without shame.

I worry I am so busy trying to do other stuff that I might not figure out if I want to be a mum in time to be a mum.

I sometimes worry that if I don’t decide to become a mum, I will mother the entire fucking world.

Where does all that ‘motherly’ shit inside go if you don’t have kids? Will you be properly happy channelling it into other things, other people?

I feel guilty for not valuing women more when I was in my teens & twenties. I think learning to value & love women is one of the most important things I have ever done.

You can never really feel alone or despairing when you have good women in your life.

The only loves in my life whom I know without doubt will still be as constant in my heart when I die as today, are women.

Sometimes, so busy in missing my father, I am not as thankful as I should be to my mum.

I used to think being declamatory about anything female was ugly and unnecessary. I now step up its importance a little every day.

Being a woman gets better the more you are proud of all the things that make us different.

Being a woman is as wonderful as you let it.

For the first 30 years of my life I felt safe if a man was in the room. Now I feel a greater, more natural peace with just my gals.

Try EVERYTHING you want to try, and some things you don’t. It’s how you will be able to trust who you are later.

20130313-085038.jpg