An Open Letter to Women Everywhere

This week, I am lucky enough to be on a retreat at magical Kripalu with a group from She Recovers. I spend a lot of time talking to women in my regular life, and I have done this kind of intense feminine immersion before too. In fact, since becoming sober, I have been more and more drawn to deep female friendships and connections. I crave time with interesting women, I seek them out, I feel a need deep in my bones. But I notice, over and over, that women everywhere are united by a common thread, myself included. This thread is woven through our coffee dates, book clubs, family events and even yoga retreats. We hold back. We apologize. We dim ourselves down so not to offend others.

At a sharing circle last night, I kept thinking the same thing. What kind of world could we create if we all just LET IT GO? If we all just believed, for more than a few seconds, that we were safe to let down all the guards, to stop worrying and analyzing, to drop the protections and pretenses? What if we all just acknowledged that we are sitting together, thinking many of the same thoughts, without sharing them, without airing them? When showing each other, in fact, could be the key to our collective freedom. Freedom from the prison of self doubt, and freedom from playing small in this life. Freedom from walking around keeping up appearances, because that’s what we were taught to do. What if we all just decided, together, as a group, to stop being quiet and small, to stop apologizing and questioning ourselves? What if we stopped keeping things in, and let them all out? What if we all did that at the same time?

Dear New Friend, Old Friend, Co-Worker, Family Member or Woman I Have Not Yet Met,

You are not unique. Well, yes, you are totally unique. Your awesomeness, your gifts, your intuition, your energy, your love…that is all unique. But this insanity that tells you to be quiet, that tells you to make sure you don’t rock the proverbial boat, this insanity that you allow to dictate your precious and only life? It is not unique. Most of us are carrying it with us as we move about our days. It shows up in various versions and themes, wearing different disguises, it pretends to be unique to you, but it is all the same as everyone else’s insanity. We are all so much the same. And I just want you to know…

  1. You don’t need to lose 10 lbs. You don’t even need to lose 5 . You need to lose zero pounds. Just please keep sharing your beautiful ideas, focus on those ideas and not your thighs. Stop wasting another second basing your self value on your willpower with food. Food is delicious and you should eat it if you want to.

  2. We are all worried about that comment we just made, email we just sent, conversation we just had. We are all analyzing it to death and wondering how we could have been more funny/cool/helpful/smart/appropriate/acceptable. Your comment/email/conversation was awesome, just like you. And no one is judging you. Promise.

  3. Stop Apologizing. Just. Stop.

  4. You are not taking up too much space. Take up more. Don’t shrink your frame, hunch your shoulders, hide in the corners of the room. Take up your space. Own your space. You are worthy of all the space. There is enough space for all of us.

  5. You are not speaking too much, please, keep going. We love hearing your thoughts pour out of that beautiful brain. Don’t whisper, don’t shrink your voice. Use it. We love your voice. Everyone will wait patiently until you are done, everyone will love listening to you until you are done. Please, don’t rush through it.

  6. Your ideas should be statements, not questions. Your ideas are valuable and important. Don’t devalue them by raising your voice at the end of your sentence. Say what you mean, believe what you mean, your opinions and ideas are beautiful living creatures that create engaging dialogue. And beautiful and engaging dialogue is the point of being together. It might be the point of life. And you bring so much to the conversation, you have so much to offer.

  7. Dance. Don’t hold back. We almost all feel like we are awful at it, and none of us actually are. Because there is no way to be awful at it, that just doesn’t exist. Dance because it feels so damn good to let the music move through you. Dance because what’s the point of it all, if we can’t dance while we’re here?

  8. Hug, Cry, Laugh, Scream, Jump for Joy, Wail with Grief. Just don’t hold back. There is nothing shameful about emotions. There is nothing noble about holding back your truth. We will hold each other. You are safe here.

  9. You are Beautiful.

  10. The world needs your light, now more than ever, the world needs our collective light. Please, whatever you do, don’t dim your light. Shine bright, Sister. Please.

Love, A Woman Just Like You