I’ve spent so many years of my life attempting to conform to someone else’s standards of what a woman should be. Women should be quiet. Women should be petite with a thin waist. Women shouldn’t swear. Women should be great cooks. Women should be coy. Women should dress modestly. Women should wear makeup but not TOO much makeup. And you know what? F*ck that.

own it

It’s perfectly okay for a woman to be loud, brash, and bossy. I’m not going to change who I am to meet someone else’s unnecessary standards, nor am I going to apologize for it. I don’t need to be tiny or meek or wear dresses every day. I don’t have to only use what someone deems “appropriate” language, or quit making vulgar jokes. The fact that I’m loud and goofy and full of a cornucopia of cuss words doesn’t make me any less of a woman. In fact, owning and being who you truly are is infinitely cooler than fitting into some made-up standard of how you should behave.

It took me awhile to realize, but now I know that it’s okay to not fit into society’s standards of who you should be and what you should look like. Trying to change who you are to please other people can be downright exhausting. And when you stop trying to put yourself into that little box, life becomes so much more magnificent.

When you truly accept who you are, you’re able to see the beauty in yourself, flaws and all, as well as the beauty in others. At 26 years old, I’ve finally seen my curly baby hairs, my immature sense of humor, and my extra-big feet for what they truly are – just another magical part of who I am. 

ignore the judgment

People are always going to have an opinion of you. One of my mantras in life is “You’re always going to be too something for someone”; and it’s true! You’ll always be too quiet, too loud, too big, too small, too silly, too serious for other people. But quit living to please them. Know and accept yourself for who you are, and do the same for the people who are close to you, and that’s all that truly matters.

I recently had someone tell me that upon first meeting my fiance, they thought that I would “chew him up and spit him out” and that he looked like a “complete pushover”. Let me first start off by saying, what a disservice this person is doing to challenging societal norms. They assume that since I’m outspoken and more outgoing, and my fiance is more introverted and reserved, that I must push him around. Upon spending time with me and my fiance, this friend quickly realized that their initial impression couldn’t be further from the truth. My fiance and I have a happy relationship built on mutual respect, and we truly balance each other out; I bring him out of his shell, and he keeps me grounded. Honestly, though – did we owe anyone an explanation?

It’s pretty ridiculous that our relationship was judged so harshly based on these random societal standards. We never asked to play a part in that! Get to know who I am, and who he is, and then place your judgment. Better yet? Don’t assume that because a woman is loud and outgoing that she is an unfair partner. And don’t assume that because a man is more reserved that he is a pushover or “whipped”.

challenge these beliefs

Ultimately I think it’s important that as a society we challenge our beliefs about how a person should look and act. We’re fed so many different ideas from the media, from our families, from history – and it’s okay to look beyond those ideas. Challenge yourself to accept others for what they are, and to accept yourself for who YOU are, as well.

Don’t try to change yourself to please others, or to fit someone else’s standard of beauty. The world is too complex, too great, too much for us to continue limiting ourselves in that way. There’s no shame in being authentically you. Quit trying to shrink yourself – be big, be bold, take up space. Be unapologetic.

“Refuse to apologize for being. You are not taking up space. You are a mountain.” -Alison Malee

Published in life lessons

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