What WOMAN Means To Me Series – Pt. 3 With Gissell Reyes

Gissell Reyes is another dear friend of mine, fellow woman warrior, future colleague and fellow sister! I am overwhelmed by her beautiful depiction of WOMAN….go ahead and indulge yourself in this amazing illustration of What WOMAN means to Gissell….

Defining your womanhood is unique to yourself. This is one woman’s perspective on what it means to be a woman. Using this word to define the manner in which we keep our relationships with your loved ones and friends, what you give of yourself to those relationships, and how you maintain your balance with both.

Being a WOMAN in today’s society means many things but these definitions belong to society.

 

My definition is my own, just as your definition is wholly your own. When I think of my womanhood, I think of the relationships I maintain and my role in these relationships. Beyond my biology, I am a woman because I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a partner to my boyfriend. All of these relationships have a specific meaning that makes it unique to my idea of a woman.

I am a daughter, different than a son because women are closer to their families. Traditionally, we stay closer to home even as we build our own separate families. There is a saying about this: a son is a son until he gains a wife but a daughter is a daughter all her life.

I am a sister. I am loyal and protective and the keeper of memories. Sisterhood comes from a bond that is soul deep. It is formed through the sharing of adventures and of secrets and of life. To be a sister means to give of yourself for the betterment and wellbeing of your sister. You share your soul with your sister. While your children are your heart walking in the world outside your body, your sister is a piece of you doing the same thing. This is the same for people you chose to share a sisterhood with, your close friends that sub in when you don’t have a sister or are apart from them.

I am a partner. To be a girlfriend or a partner or a wife as a woman means you share yourself with another person. It means that you take care of the other person with compassion and support. To be a woman in a relationship you walk a fine line. You give of yourself without losing yourself. It takes balance and self-awareness to be a woman in a healthy, thriving relationship.

In reality, it takes balance to be a woman in general. In today’s society, women are told how to look, how to act, how to feel, it is more important than ever to find balance and be confident in your own identity. For me, what woman means to me goes beyond the superficial. It is, at its core, about how I maintain my relationships, about what I put into them. It becomes a part of the identity I create for myself. The goals I have and the achievements I accomplish are defining characteristics of the kind of person, the kind of human being I want to be. But what I put into my relationships is what woman means woman.

-Gissell Reyes

Take Up Space

In light of my new collaborative series, What WOMAN Means To me, as well as the social state in which women find themselves in on a daily basis I felt it would be beneficial to talk about the importance of community and this concept of taking up space.

During childhood and adolescence and in the absence of self-care we were taught, coached and trained to constantly compete against one another. We were taught that in order to win or to make it to the top we must be better than someone else, this competition and constant comparison breeds a feeling of confusion and a state of constant second guessing ourselves.

In addition to this competitive nature, women are taught, and told to be small, sweet, coy, kind, polite and caring. We were taught that in order to be a “good little girl” we must smile, stay sweet and take up AS LITTLE SPACE as possible. This concept of small has transcended into our adult years into our concept of woman hood.

In addition to the whole body image piece, how is this even possible or fair?! How can young girls be expected to thrive and grow while being told to do the exact opposite? How are young girls supposed to “win” in this competitive world, while also staying SMALL and quiet? It is quite the concept, and a ridiculous one at that!

Therefore within a world that breeds competition and comparison, young girls, and women have no fair chance, and with that we have learned to tear each other down. With society’s unrealistic standards, women now compete rather than connect, we compare rather than communicate, we tend to take each other down rather than lift each other up….but who is to blame us….we weren’t really given a chance to begin with! With all of that being said I say that it is about time that we stand up for one another! Why not TAKE UP AS MUCH SPACE as we possibly can, but in unison?! How about we put COMMUNITY before competition?!

As I continue to develop my brand, and network within the Charleston area, I am finding that this theme of community shines much brighter than that of competition! All of these incredibly successful, passionate, independent, creative and self-starting women build upon a sense of connection and empowerment rather than competition. We all take up space, and we embrace it! It is OKAY TO be LOUD, BOLD, COURAGEOUS, BIG, AND VIBRANT! I have been making beautiful and REAL CONNECTIONS  with amazing women with varying stories! Yes, we have ALL been told that we must be small in some way shape or form, but my goodness it is about time that we take up some space!

Why not have a girl gang that includes everyone, for ALL women, to lift each other up and thrive as a group?!

Take up space, be loud, be adventurous, be courageous, connect with others, lift others up, communicate, love and, as always, #SelfCareItOut!