1. Being “difficult”
The world doesn’t like a “difficult” woman. We’re a problem. If you have the audacity to unapologetically be you, the likely story is that people will regard you as hard. Hard because you demand to be taken seriously. Hard because you expect to be treated like you matter. If having agency and prioritising your self worth makes you difficult then pussy up and be difficult.
2. Asking someone out
My sister, it’s 2017. If you like the person, let them know. What are you afraid of? Rejection? Don’t be. It happens! You shot your shot. It didn’t work out the way you wanted but at least you gave it a go. Another person who’s all kinds of hot sauce and gravy will come along. But if you never ask, you’ll never know.
3. Pursuing Your Dreams
I know it can feel like your dreams are too gigantic especially in Malawi where we are inundated, implicitly or explicitly, with the false idea that we are so much less than our male counterparts. You know what I say to that? Bull-fucking-shit! You contain multitudes. Your dreams are amazing. Do not let other people’s doubts get in the way of your ambitions.
4. Enjoying Sex
Are you an adult woman? Great. I have news for you: it’s your goddamn right to enjoy sex. You are allowed to express your sexuality in the way you want. You want to have sex only in a relationship? Awesome. You want noncommittal sex? Great. As long as the sex you’re having is safe and consensual, don’t allow others to shame you for enjoying it.
5. Enjoying celibacy
Are you an adult woman? Great. I have news for you: it’s your goddamn right to enjoy celibacy. Like I said before, you are allowed to express your sexuality in the way you want to. Nobody should make you feel unusual about it. Your choices are what matter.
6. Being proud of your accomplishments
I have to confess. I’m guilty of doing this all the time. I have a tendency to undermine my own achievements. I probably used to think I was showing humility every time I’d play down my accomplishments but I now think it just shows a poor self-image. I’m going to work on owning my successes. You should too!
7. Being Feminist
A lot of people like to make feminism complicated but it’s very simple. Our good old friend Wikipedia defines feminism as the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. Emphasis on equality! There are a lot of faux feminists out there who think that feminism begins and ends at “men are trash”. But feminism is more than just tweeting that guys are fuck boys. It’s about uplifting and supporting women in any capacity that you are able to. It’s not about being superior to men – it’s about being equal.
“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” ―Gloria Steinem
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…you shouldn’t be afraid to claim feminism. If you are a feminist, you should be proud of the fact that you’re an advocate for equality. Not ashamed.
8. Outgrowing people or Removing Toxic People From Your Life
Removing toxic people from your life is a no brainer. People who drain you, bring emotional chaos and do not support you are not people who should be a part of your life. Their presence in your life won’t enrich it in any way – get rid of them!
What about when they’re not toxic? What if you’ve just outgrown each other?
It hurts when the connections we once held close and dear to us seem to be fading. But it’s life. People who were your best friends turn into people you nod politely at in the street. People you used to talk to everyday turn into casual acquaintances. As you grow, your path can diverge from those people who used to be very important. But it’s okay. It’s natural. You have to find a way to accept that though they held a dear place in your heart, we’re not all supposed to stay in each other’s lives forever. We shouldn’t fear outgrowing people. We should just learn how to deal with it when it does happen.
9. Setting Boundaries
I can tell you from experience that setting boundaries is one of the most vital things a young woman can do as early as possible. When you set boundaries for what is acceptable behaviour from the people around you (and yourself), it will help you build relationships and friendships that are respectful, supportive and caring.
(Read More: 10 Way to Build and Preserve Better Boundaries)
10. Radical Self Love
A woman loving herself is a revolutionary act. The world never seems to be shy of voices criticising us and putting us down. Heck, there are entire industries built on preying on the insecurities of women. To love yourself, against all this folly, is rebellion. And it’s so very important.
I love the saying, “Life’s too short to be at war with yourself.” Because it really is. Instead of spending the entirety of your existence in the cosmos being your own enemy, wouldn’t it be so much better and worthwhile to truly be in touch with who you are. To prioritise yourself and your self-care?
We mustn’t be afraid to embrace who we are and love it.