I was sitting in a café feeling the emotional nurturing of a hot pot of tea on a wet day. Next to me were a group of older women – some I recognised from a local women’s group who promoted standing for women’s rights. A local women’s group who advocates equality, education, and an end to gender-based violence. It was not hard to overhear what they were saying as they chatted and laughed, obviously enjoying each other’s company. Then their conversation turned to talk about a particular younger woman they all seemed acquainted with. They chatted about her positively but then one commented and said how beautiful that younger woman was and had always been. And how that younger woman could have had anyone she wanted with her looks but instead she chose her career. This later comment was spoken with sadness and almost like the younger woman had thrown away her life by choosing the career path. Her companions all murmured in agreement. Such a waste…
I was having a long overdue phone chat with a long-time friend who runs a very large company of over 50 staff – most who work for long stints, remotely. My friend was saying how frustrating they found HR and the intricacies of males and females working remotely. They said that they had just fired without hesitation, one of their male managers because he had taken advantage of working and living in a remote location with a few female staff. He had decided to take it upon himself to let the women know that if they didn’t provide him with ways to relieve his physical needs then he would ensure they were fired. He got what he wanted on several occasions through the power his position yielded and the threat he held over his colleagues. He has denied any wrong, the women are now victims and the situation is unfolding civilly….
I watched the mesmerising grace and passion that emanated from one of my pole students as she danced in, around and on the spinning brass pole in class while the pretty fairy lights, in the background, added to the beauty of the moment. She was in her own world, expressing the music in her head through her physical and emotional, movement and flow. She was comfortable with the movements she chose, unrehearsed yet so familiar to her. She knew how her body liked to move and she knew how to express its meaning and emotion without fear of judgement, without fear of her dance being interpreted as anything else, without fear of being body shamed, without fear of social mockery, without fear of societal labels, without fear of expectations. She danced as a woman, living fearlessly yet innocently in that moment, in that space, in that time. She danced like the only person who was watching her was her soul. After class she washed her hands, put on her real-world clothes, and went back to her life, where she is required to be aware, where she needs to be guarded, to be careful, where she needs to fit in, where she needs to adjust her everyday self to expectations handed down over time, where she has to constantly adjust her SELF to this supposedly progressive society we live in.
To summarise – Stand up proudly, for who you are and what you want to do. Never be pressured into doing anything to compromise who you are and where you want to go. Always dance while acknowledging you are the beautiful being that you are. Allow life’s music to fill your soul and dance with you, without compromise, without expectations and without hidden agenda. Support the Sisterhood. Own your SELF, your BEING and your LIFE.
Written with Observation by Brandy Hicks