“I believe in women uplifting other women…Women hurt other women all too often, and that’s a fact. I’d like to see not just us not hurting one another; but us actually making a conscious effort to be happy for another when she is happy, to hope the best for another when she has better, and to lift another up when she is down.”
C. Joybell C.
I was inspired by my dear friend Cecilia’s post about Women and Empowerment, and felt compelled to write about my experiences and thoughts too.
As a teenager, I didn’t have a very good experience with my female friendships. I’ve been betrayed, bullied, excluded, backstabbed and gossiped about and therefore didn’t have many girlfriends I was close to. My best friends at the time and the ones I did everything with were two boys, with whom I felt so comfortable and free around, feelings I never really experienced in my female friendships. I also grew up around boy cousins and naturally got along better with that sex than of the opposite.
As time went on, I became quite weary and anxious of meeting girls. I thought that they were going to use me or be fake. I have had a number of girls who, after meeting me, would say mean things behind my back or hate me for no particular reason. I even got called a slut once for hanging out with boys. It wasn’t until I met my best friend that things dramatically changed for me, and from there, I met other women who changed my opinion on them forever. This breed of women was different than those I had previously met. They were authentic. They were loyal. They were kind to everyone and not for their own gain.
As I grew older and wiser, I also realized how much the women in my family have suffered. They are mothers, cooks, maids, chauffeurs, teachers, seamstresses, babysitters and housewives all into one, all while maintaining their jobs. Most of them also have been victims of abusive, drunken and gambling husbands too. And yet, they still maintain their dignity, their strength, their love. I am endlessly inspired and encouraged by them.
Seeing this kind of injustice, and seeing how all women have suffered in the world, has transformed me into a fiery feminist. I know that this word has been tainted and manipulated to make it seem like a feminist is a man-hating, sensitive and angry woman, but it is not. To me, feminism means believing that women should have equal rights to men – equal pay, equal privileges, equal treatment. It means knowing that there is full worth and humanity between a man and a woman. It means living out what it means to be a woman – strong, fearless and loving. And, in our sexually driven media today, it means standing up to rape culture and the constant portrayal of women as sex objects, as a form of physical pleasure and nothing more and as a bimbo with no brains or ambitions.
If people could only see how it is women who hold up the world with their hands. And if only all women can realize that when we empower, support and be kind to one another that it is truly where our strength lies and it is the only way in which we can live in a world where females are truly honored for all they are. If we don’t treat each other with respect, how can the rest of the world do the same? Women are already tormented and violated by men and the media, so why add to that by tearing each other down?
My friend Beverley once said to me a profound thing: “I would hope that in this generation women would stop tearing each other down and being so competitive… Not all girls are like this, I learned that there are some nice girls out there, but there’s also girls that will tear you down… females should stop doing that and lift each other up. The ideal dream is to have sisterhood.”
That’s the dream. To live in a world where women encourage one another to be the best they can be. Where they support each others dreams and cheer them onto finish line. Where they speak words of life into one another. Where, ultimately, each women can walk hand and in hand with one another in their journey because no woman should be left behind.
I am so thankful to my best friend, for showing me what it means to a woman in all it’s beauty. For showing me what it means to have true friendship which embodies loyalty, respect, trust and love. For pulling me up out of my deepest struggles and walking hand in hand unfailingly with me for six years and counting. I am thankful for my mother for always putting people before her, for working 60 hours a week sometimes just to pay rent and put food on the table. She is strength. And I am also so very thankful to my dear friend living in London who inspired me to follow my dreams, travel the world and see the beauty in the journey of life. Without these women, and many more, who shaped me, encouraged me and believed in me when I failed to do so myself, I wouldn’t be the passionate humanitarian and feminist I am. The Lilac Road truly wouldn’t be what it is today. I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Being a woman is a beautiful privilege and honor. In the beginning of creation, God knew the world was not complete without us. We were the final masterpiece. And we also need each other. It is my hope that each woman will know that about themselves and also see it in other woman. There is this unbreakable and special bond we all share with one another simply because are all sisters in Christ. Let’s treat each other that way, and empower one another in thought, word and deed, to be woman: fearless, courageous, strong, kind and loving.
“…we are made better by making each other better, and at our best when we can help those around us become the best version of themselves.”