Once upon a time, I wanted to be someone else. I had this wishlist in my mind of a hundred things that I was sure would make me happy: glowing skin, a French wardrobe, and peachy cheeks with freckles on them like the stars in the sky. Long hair with flowers braided in it, an amazing academic career, a flawless body. I wished for my lashes to be longer, my nose to be smaller, my butt to be bigger and my waist to be thinner. And even though there is absolutely nothing wrong with all those things, it just wasn’t me.
The kind of woman many of us aspire to be is an illusion, a carefully crafted image. It took me some time to accept that poreless skin is a phantasy, stretch marks are normal, that I did not have to get a nose job because there was simply nothing wrong with my nose. That I had been brainwashed into thinking I needed all these things in order to love myself. As a feminist, I believe that every woman should do what makes her happy and if for some that means getting surgery or losing weight, there is nothing wrong with that. As women, we have to learn what makes us happy and pursue that. Looking in a way that makes us feel confident is amazing, but we need to stop comparing ourselves to what I see on Instagram & co. Stop comparing our bodies to those of other women, and realize that their beauty is not the absence of our own. We can celebrate the beauty and success of others, empower each other without thinking “I have to be like her”. Beauty comes in all sizes, colors, shapes, genders, etc. There is no one way we have to look in order to be beautiful.
Over the years, I decided I want my role model to be a concept rather than a person. I call it “the gentlewoman”. She does not have a body, she is a version of myself. A version I will never fully be, but always try to become.
A gentlewoman is kind. Kind when kindness is needed and least expected. She is soft when talking to others, empowering, giving. She speaks and acts with love. She is not easily angered. She stands up for those who can’t do it themselves, defends not only those she loves most but those who need to be defended. She will be a friend to those who need one, she will fight for what is right. Be accepting of everyone. She will not judge others, respect those with opinions different to hers. She will be patient, forgiving, understanding.
And just the way she treats those around her, she will treat herself. She will love, forgive, take care of herself. She will stand up for herself if she needs to, allow herself to make mistakes, own up to them and grow. She will learn. She will accept help and admit her weaknesses in order to work on them. She will not judge herself. She will respect herself. She will be patient with herself. She will smile at her own reflection and thankful for her body, treat it with love, talk about it with love. She will make time and care for herself, be accepting of the things she can’t change. She is flawed and she is brave.With all those things, she will do her best, she will fail and try again, make an effort every day.
She will never be perfect, but she will be good.
The gentlewoman is my idea of beauty, my role model, and hopefully a way to grow into the light. The woman I aspire to be.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to tell you who or what you need to be. This is a vision I have for myself, an updated wishlist for my life with things I hope will make me grow. I hope this post can inspire you to dig deeper inside of yourself and maybe make your own list of things you want to work on in order to be your best self. I truly believe we will find happiness inside of ourselves.
let’s be friends: