A Manifesto for All Women.
I am lying on my sheepskin rug, working on my laptop, completely naked, with the sun streaming into my bedroom window, landing on my skin.
And I am crying while I type this.
I am crying tears of joy and awe and hopefulness for all of the women in the world. I am crying tears of appreciation for the women and the men who have stood up against this patriarchal society that we live in.
I am crying tears of gratefulness for social media platforms, events, and other women for showing me examples of what it means to be a woman.
A lot has changed for me over the last 10 years. I moved away from a small town in Mississippi that I grew up in, stopped eating food that didn’t make me feel good, and became extremely careful about the people that I let into my life. My home environment is completely intentional.
I am not into ism’s. No veganism, consumerism, feminism, capitalism… I am not into any of these things. I am a woman. A woman who knows and loves herself. A woman who stands up for other women.
Everyone’s world, though we are all the same, looks and feels different to each of us. In my world, there are actions that I take and words that I say each day that allow me to fully embody my definition of woman.
To me, being a woman means being whole. It means nurturing and mothering myself first so that I can take care of others. It means filling up my vital energy with self-care practices and loving thoughts towards myself.
I am done with guilt. I am done with shame. I am done with meekness. I am done with conforming. This is my life, and no one, not society and not mainstream media, is going to tell me how to live, act or dress.
I used to feel guilty for saying No. For being selfish. For putting me first. For speaking up and saying my opinion. I used to say I’m sorry during every conversation.
I used to feel ashamed. Ashamed when I first stopped wearing a bra and my nipples would show when I was cold. Ashamed when walking down the street and someone would whistle at me, even in my jeans and a t-shirt. Ashamed when I was in 6th grade and wore a skort (remember those?) and the boys kept making fun of my long skinny legs, calling me Minnie Mouse.
Ashamed of my beautiful body, as society taught me that my body parts are sexual, not beautiful.
I used to feel meek. When I was the youngest employee on a team of 29 and when I was called an intern, two years into one of my careers. When my Mississippi accent landed on deaf ears during conversation, and when I was the only woman in a room full of men.
When I wore a bra with underwire, though my breasts are small. When I wore makeup on my already unblemished skin. When I ironed my hair straight, even though I could smell it burning. When I agreed, just to have friends. I used to conform.
So much awareness has seeped into my blood and my bones. Now, I believe in challenging our country’s expectations and perceptions. I believe in letting my breasts be free and allowing others to feel uncomfortable, rather than myself. I believe in quitting my full-time job and giving up a lot of money so that I can feel rich in other ways.
I believe in letting down my hair, washing my face in flowing water, and eating flowers. I believe in falling in love with myself, before I let anyone else try.
I know these things are good for me and I think that you know too.
We are all ‘La Que Sabe’, which translates to She Who Knows.
Lydia Jarjoura is a spiritual mentor, yoga instructor and owner of Lunar Nourishment, a wellness platform to encourage others to use ancient practices for modern self-care. Connect with Lydia via Instagram or Facebook.