To my fellow women,
I say this with complete love.
Stop apologizing to me for sharing the same browsing space inside a small store.
Stop apologizing to furniture when you nudge it accidentally.
Stop saying sorry for taking up space or breathing too loudly.
You deserve to exist. You have a right to be in the space you’re in. You have every right to use the voice and the body that you have.
It may not be the body you see on magazine covers in the checkout line at the grocery store, trying to sell you frozen faces and tips to please a man. Fuck those magazines and their unreasonable perception of beauty. Fuck the idea that anyone should try to make you doubt that you are enough. I promise you that you are, just in case you need reminding.
You know what I think is beautiful?
You. Me. Everyone that rocks who they are.
I’m a lot of cool and wild things, and a weirdo is one of them. I’ve been flying that flag a long while, and not everyone gets me. But guess what? I get me and I love who I am, even on tough days. It’s not bitchy or conceited to know your worth—to fundamentally like who you are. I like that I don’t fit comfortably into a mold that someone else created.
I like that my brain can process a thousand things at once and that it provides me with endless curiosity about the world I so love to explore. I love that I care a ridiculous amount about almost everyone I meet. I love my body. And I bet yours is pretty great, too.
My body lets me match my love of life with actual tangible adventures. It lets me haul in a 1,000 pound canvas sail by myself to tack a boat. It heals after heartbreak and keeps me in check with occasional hangovers. It lets me stay up late and have sex and play in the ocean.
It bears my history. My lines frozen from smiling too much in the rawest sunshine. Hips made soft by an affinity for bread, cheese and wine. I have my dad’s blue eyes and a dot of green in the middle from my mom’s green eyes and no one’s curly hair but my own.
You know who else is beautiful? The women in my life:
My South American pistol, with the guts to fight cancer every single fucking day and still have the best perspective on life of anyone I’ve ever met.
My friend who defends women’s rights to healthcare.
The sailor with the most beautiful curves I’ve ever seen, rocking loud tattoos and bright red lipstick while she pounds a glass of whiskey and laughs the loudest.
My friend the poet who can charm even the most savage of male egos into thinking every good thought was their bright idea. When she gives you her presence, you understand how the word got its name.
My dear Swedish clown with the giant heart.
My friend who unfortunately has to remind this insane world, with her incredible writing voice, that black lives matter.
My mom, who got her chest cracked wide open and had a defective valve put inside her heart. Every day she’s forced to think about the way it beats. She is the strongest of women and the fairest person I know.
My sister, who can sweeten the heart of every animal she meets and makes me laugh harder than anyone in the entire world.
My oldest friend who lost her dad last month. Ever since we were 10 and tried to sell her house as a prank, she has been a piece of home to me.
My friend who makes sure every villager has access to health care.
My friend raising the coolest, most intelligent daughter ever.
My friend the nurse who can soothe my soul with a single sentence.
My banjo picking rock star friend who always speaks her mind.
My peace-loving friend who quotes the Dalai Lama and speaks out on mental health issues just before cracking the filthiest joke you’ve ever heard.
My friend, who taught me to swing a sledgehammer like a boss and trust my writing instincts.
Every single one of them is my hero and my equal.
I say all this because I want you to believe that someone sees you the way I see all the women in my life. As goddesses, badasses and soul surfers—powerful beyond measure.
They are not afraid to be vulnerable, which I believe is the greatest strength anyone can have. To own every aspect of oneself and to never confuse kindness with weakness. They understand that questioning themselves occasionally does not equate a lack of self-worth, but rather a heap of it.
My fellow women, I say this with love: You matter. Just in case you don’t know or need a gentle reminder. Your opinions are important.
We should not live in a world that can convince women that the appearance of their vagina matters more than the state of their soul. We should not live in a world where we invest more in the way we look than the way we think. I could go on, but I won’t.
This is a part of our world. But we can choose how we exist within it.
I’m not perfect. I never want to be. That’s boring. It’s not a question of becoming a flawless person. It’s accepting ourselves as we are—not with resignation but with confidence and a sense of humor.
There is no one else like you in the world. No one who has been through your struggles and life experiences. No one who knows what it’s like to wake up with your thoughts in their brain.
Let’s celebrate that. And each other.
Because we do so much more than take up space.