Five Thoughts on Being a Woman

Dear Pope Francis,

I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat down to try and write today’s letter. There has been so much in my head, that all of my thoughts have jumbled together into one big mess. Every time I sit down to write, I feel like a wall goes up between my mind and my arm. None of the ideas that I have seem well developed enough to write a whole letter about. So instead, of trying to wring out these ideas, I’ve compiled them into a list: five thoughts I have about being a women.

  1. Mood swings are normal, but so are confidence swings. My levels of confidence change all the time. coffeeSome days, I am wearing a killer outfit that I know I look ah-may-zing in. These are the days when my confidence works from the outside (my clothes) in. Other days, I wear a pretty standard outfit: jeans, t-shirt and sneakers, nothing special, but I will feel confident anyway because I know that whatever it is that I am doing, be it giving a presentation, hanging out with my friends, or running a meeting, I can tackle it. This is confidence from the inside out, because it comes from my talents and abilities. But, no matter what, there are days when it doesn’t matter what I wear or what I’m doing that I will doubt myself and my abilities. I know that I’m not alone in these feelings. On these days, I need to acknowledge those feelings, and make time to take care of myself, especially surrounding myself with positive things (like my closest friends and letting the writing flow in whatever form it wants to take).
  2. I am incredibly blest to have the rights, freedoms and opportunities that I have. Hearing the stories about women and girls being shot or abducted for trying to get an education reminds me how lucky I am to have the opportunity to study and not be scared that someone is going to walk into my school and take me away. This extends beyond school as well, in many cultures, women can’t drive or vote or leave their houses without a man with them. I am very grateful that I can do all of those things.
  3. Sometimes I just need girl talk to make things seem better. It doesn’t matter whether the girl talk comes in the form of regularly meeting upon the phone for cheap lattes on Tuesday, or making time for random Skype or phone calls, time with my girlfriends is very important. It doesn’t matter what we talk about, sometimes it’s all the stereotypical things: guys, clothes, etc. Other times, it’s the hard parts of our lives: finding jobs, relationships, etc. What’s important is that we can talk about anything and everything. What’s most important about these conversations is that through our friendship we have a support system that is rooted in faith, which allows us to pray with each other, and for each other.
  4. I need to keep women around me who build me up. All too often I (and many women I know) default into bashing myself for all of my faults. In those moments, I need my friends to help me remember that I’m not necessarily as terrible as I think I am. I still need women to hold me accountable, but in a loving and compassionate way. These are the girl friends who know when I’m being ridiculous in my critique of myself, and can help me see that, but who can also point out perspectives that I may not have considered before.
  5. Finally, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being twenty-something and playing dress up with the clothes in my closet. I never dress upknow what kinds of cool combinations I’ll come up with when I let my imagination run wild. It’s also a great stress-reliever, and a fantastic way to celebrate my natural beauty and unique sense of style (without spending a dime!)

That’s it, my five quips about being a woman on a day, when my thoughts are jumbled. For the women reading this letter, did I miss anything? Add it in the comments below!

Making plans with the girls,

Lauren

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