What WOMAN Means to Me – Pt. with Becca Schultz

Becca Shultz is an amazing soul, she is an inspiring presence and I am so very honored that she has written a post for this series! As an empowered WOMAN, Becca has now taken it upon herself to spread the powerful inspirations and ideations that she has been taught by women in her life. I came across Becca’s Instagram page, Becoming_Becca.Again_, and it blew me away, Becca is not only powering through Eating Disorder Recovery like a boss, but she is also busting through the feminist world and making it her own, while advocating for ALL! I hope you enjoy this incredibly depiction of what WOMAN means to Becca.

“Being a woman.” Where do I even begin? I hope I don’t jumble some of my words, I do struggle with self-confidence a lot.

For so long I never really thought about or pondered on the fact of what it truly means to be a woman, to encompass the feminine spirit.

Growing up in a society that has it’s set standards of what being a woman “really encompasses” has caused me to feel confused throughout the majority of my life, questioning where I stood in society, and if my role in society was important or not, and I know that many women feel the same way about this no matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, skin-color, or gender someone is or the sex they were assigned at birth, and the list goes on and on.

Ever since I entered recovery for my eating disorder and other mental and emotional illnesses, I really started to see the actual woman that I was, not the woman that society wanted or still wants me to be, and once I found my space in the community of self-love and intersectionality on Instagram, I actually found my voice, as they say, and that my voice actually does matter.

Crossing paths with so many inspirational and powerful women through Instagram and of course within the world in general (one of them being my bad ass mom!), I feel like I finally am using my voice, believing in the things that I BELIEVE IN, not what my family or others want me to believe. I am an intersectional feminist and it feels good to finally say it. I am so proud of myself in regards to the woman that I am becoming every day, and I thank all of those that have crossed paths with me showing me the way to who I am becoming.

I am more than my hair, my looks, and my legs. I am more than my body! I am an intersectional feminist that is learning every day…learning every day how to be a better citizen and woman to those around me. Taking action to derail patriarchal standards that have created unrealistic expectations that make me and so many around me feel inferior and not good enough.

I am so honored to have this opportunity to do a write up for this amazing blog. My hope is to continue to be the change in this world that needs to happen, to inspire my nieces and nephews and future children to keep fighting for what is right.

I want to give a special thank you and shout out to one of my biggest inspirations, Dana Suchow (@dothehotpants). Thank you for giving me the strength to start “being me unapologetically.”

-Becca Schultz

Soapy Self-Care – The Three Tiers of Self-Care

Self-care is a complex concept, similar to many of the topics that are discussed on this blog. I will break down this concept into three tiers as well as, provide an example of a multi-tiered practice of self-care that I use on a nightly basis!

 

 

 

 

 

1.Simplistic Self-Care is the purest tier of self-care and is also the most difficult to practice, in that it goes deeper than surface level. This level of self-care is introspective, it requires a level of self-compassion and self-awareness, it is allowing yourself to live in the grey, rather than a black and white world. For instance,

-Allowing yourself to feel multiple emotions at one time

-Feeling happy AND anxious AND regretful are all acceptable and rational feelings to have!

-Allowing yourself to cry when you are sad

-Allowing yourself to laugh and smile when you are happy

-Allowing yourself to eat when you are hungry

-Brining awareness to your fears and sitting in the discomfort of your emotions

-Having love and compassion for your flaws

-Taking care of your inner self and wellbeing

-Loving yourself for all of your flaws, inward, and outward

-Giving yourself the TIME to think and feel

-Doing what is best for you at a specific moment

-Calling to your needs

-Listening to your body and your emotional ques

Sometimes some cuddles with my pup is what I need for some introspection!

 

 

 

 

 

2.Luxury Self-Care is the second tier of self-care and it touches more on the surface, although it is is incredibly beneficial and important to your wellbeing! Taking care of yourself in a more tangible way is just as important as taking care of your emotional well-being, in that the two usually go hand in hand. For instance,

-Getting your heart pumping and endorphins flowing through a safe and healthy practice of exercise

-Aroma Therapy

-Having that glass of wine when you need to wind down

-Painting your nails

-Reading your favorite book

-Going for a walk after work

-Having your morning cup of coffee

-Snuggling with your loved one

-A ritual practice of yoga, and meditation

Getting your heart pumping doesn’t have to be strenuous or torturous! Do what is right for YOU, and that is self-care! Listen to your body…
Me post exercise, sweat, sunspots and all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.Self-Care For You is the third level of self-care, and it is when you allow others to take care of you, as we are constantly giving and providing for others. This is also considered luxury self-care, and is JUST AS IMPORTANT as the other two tiers, for instance,

-Getting a massage

-Having someone make you dinner

-Going on a date night

-Sharing your feelings with someone

-Getting your nails done

-Having a girls night

-Going out to the movies

-Going out to dinner

-Getting a babysitter

-Getting your hair done

With all of that being said here is one way that I am able to implement a multi-tiered practice of self-care on a nightly basis!

Mindful Face Washing:

As I look in the mirror I think about all of the stresses, anxieties, and annoyances that I experienced that day, I then decipher which ones I want to shed of. I chose those instances and stressors and wipe away my makeup, and with each wipe I clear away that stress. As I lather my face with face wash I think of all of the emotions that were fostered due to those stresses and as the suds gather so do my emotions. As I collect the warm water in my hands I think of the power of letting go, and with each splash of water I cleanse away those emotions. Once the water runs clear I diligently watch as each droplet of water goes down the drain, ridding of all stress and negative emotion from the day. I then look in the mirror and pat my face dry, and with that I confirm my gratitude’s from the day.

My Soapy Self-Care! I LOVE my Foreo-Luna!
A Good Robe Never Hurt Anyone!

Mindfully washing my face is just one way that I practice a multi-level of self-care! Try it tonight, and let me know how it works, and as always #selfcareitout!

 

 

What WOMAN Means To Me – Pt. 4 with Claire Mattingly

It’s that time again! I am so anxious for everyone to read this post, not just because it was authored by my sister, but also because Claire is a strong, empowering and amazing person. Claire is my younger sister, and she is truly what I hope to be like when I “grow up!” Enjoy!

To me, WOMAN does not refer to a single individual, nor simply myself, but a powerful patchwork, a sisterhood. This sisterhood is comprised of women who care for, listen to, and protect each other. My mom, my sisters, my friends, my guardians.

I am undoubtedly proud to be a woman, but society weighs on me because of it. I am constantly made aware of the lower position my gender affords me. I’m told, “you’re not like other girls, you’re cool,” and I’m expected to react to this attack on my sisterhood as if it’s a gift. I’m told, “don’t get so emotional,” when I’m simply expressing passion. I’m told, “not everything’s about feminism,” when I try to address blatant misogyny.

I’m told. I’m told. I’m told.

I don’t wish to tackle the patriarchy in this moment, but instead to honor the sisterhood. Because the best way to combat the above intrusions is to support each other as women. So often, we’re tempted to put one another down. It’s an impulse that stems from the societal teaching early on that other girls, and later, other women, are your competition. Competition for love, success, and happiness. As if it’s a zero-sum game. I reject that. We all need to reject that.

Women are my strength and inspiration. In my 21 years, I have seen how powerful we are together: The compassion, smarts, and joy we produce when we are in sync is, to put it lightly, kick ass. I want to take more time to nurture and appreciate that bond. I want to make a daily effort to hear each other, to defend each other, and to respect myself just as much. I hope you do too.

So to me, I will reiterate, woman means family.

-Claire Mattingly

“Have You Tried That Cleanse?!”…..#OverIt

“Oh are you doing the cleanse!?”

“Have you tried the Whole 30?”

“You eat carbs!?”

“Do you do clean eating?!”

These are all questions I have been asked in the past week. No, I am not ever offended by these questions, as I believe that people are usually doing their best to exist in this world, and trying to connect on a deeper level. Yet these questions are incredibly problematic, why you ask? Because the diet culture is rampant and oh so wrong! Yes, a cleanse is a diet! Yes, the term “eating clean” is a diet culture term. Yes, restriction of ANY food group is all due to the diet-crazed culture that we live in! Also please keep in mind I am not shamming anyone who has chosen the diet life, if anything I am bringing to light the reality in which we live!

These concepts, such as, cleansing the body, eating “whole” and “clean” foods, and restricting ESSENTIAL food groups such as carbs and gluten, are incredibly destructive  to the human mind! Words have so much power, and these terms and concepts put labels on our daily nourishment, it claims one food as BAD and another food as GOOD, it says that what we are doing is either “clean” or “dirty!”

(Pancakes are not and “indulgence” and donuts are not “dirty”….they are energy, they are FOOD!)

It is so important for us to educate ourselves and be aware of these words, questions and concepts that are being thrown at us on a daily basis! Such black and white terms cause us to feel self-hatred and self-resentment for purely nourishing our body, and this causes for a fear in food! And as you know I am all about #NoFearInFood

The weight loss industry is a BILLION dollar industry…I wonder why we haven’t cracked the code yet? If ANY diet or cleanse EVER worked it would be a ONE-dollar industry.

Diets do not work; they are incredibly problematic for our youth and detrimental to our emotional and mental well-being! They cause for us to lessen our self-worth, they create a culture that breeds self-loathing and no room for compassion.

As you can tell, I am incredibly passionate about this topic, and I will be touching on it a lot more, as it is the season for diets…(sigh)!

In the mean time, if you are for ANY reason want to start a cleanse or go on a diet check out this easy and DELICIOUS meal that is a natural anti-inflammatory and has those “cleansing” qualities. Keep in mind that when I use the word “cleansing” I use it very lightly, hence the quotations! The body naturally cleanses itself, you do not ever NEED a cleanse, especially if you are going to substitute the cleanse for a meal. Therefore if you feel the desire to “cleanse” take these tips instead! Avoid those fad diets!

This meal has a great balance of fat, grain, vegetable, and goodness! So skip the diet or cleanse and go with this stuff!

(This is a typical lunch for me, a balanced meal with not restriction.)

-A toasted bagel (whatever kind you fancy!)

-An avocado (how ever much you like!)

-A good sprinkle of turmeric and fresh cracked black pepper (powder turmeric mixed with black pepper is a natural anti-inflammatory, liquid turmeric is also a natural anti-inflammatory, so it’s really preference!)

-Topped with sliced cucumber and butter lettuce or spinach (yummy and crunchy vegetables)

-Always topped with olive oil and some garlic salt! Yummy and nutritious!

Stay tuned for more and don’t forget to self-care it out!

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

What WOMAN Means to Me – Series Kickoff!

This is a start to an extensive and beautiful collaborative series about what WOMAN means, as the concept of female and woman is unique to each and every individual. We will be hearing from women and men from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes, all colors, all cultures and backgrounds. So read on, and stay tuned!

Self-Awareness is such a crucial part of self-care, and self-love, as we can only truly find our self worth and state of happiness once we look at ourselves. We must ask ourselves questions that force us to delve deeper and peel back the layers to find awareness of our true beings; self-awareness helps us understand why and how we are important to the world…. because we are ALL so important, and so incredibly worthy! Self-awareness can start with some simple questions….

Who am I?

What makes me happy?

What do I appreciate about myself?

What do others appreciate about me?

What do I appreciate about others?

How do I perceive myself?

How do I perceive others?

What truly makes me happy?

What truly makes me proud?

So much of my identity is being a woman. My Mom and Dad raised three strong, independent, driven and compassionate women, and with that came a sense of pride! Within this world of oppression, inequality, gender norms and media manipulation it can be difficult to maintain that sense of pride, as others constantly try to tear it down. Therefore, I find that self-awareness towards what makes me a proud woman, and self-compassion within my pride of what being a woman encompasses, is truly self-care at its purest form! I am woman; this is what WOMAN means to me.

To kick off this series, I chose to incorporate a poem called “Where I am From”

WHERE I’M FROM

I am from American Girl, Disney Princesses, Hopscotch at recess and swimming in the summer.

I am from the outer banks of the concrete jungle, from the cozy suburbs, a neighborhood filled with privilege, the bustle of trains and gusts of wind; from squelching summers and freezing winters.

I am from the dandelion blowing in the spring air, the daisy and seashell in the sweet southern sun.

I am from a Christmas Eve’s watching White Christmas with Bing Crosby and strong women from the Irenes, Gorey Girls and Edwards.

I am from the anxiety-ridden tears, eating disorders and unconditional love for animals.

From being an “old soul” and overly sensitive.

I am from Methodist practicing Irish Catholics, from the shame brought upon by converting.

I’m from La Grange, IL, Irish and Italian Catholics, deep-dish pizza and bowls of popcorn and ice cream

From the time Kathie pulled her hamstring while doing the champagne splits the millennium being rung in with innocent cheer, sparkling grape juice and silly string and

Tess, and Claire brushing their teeth to NSYNC every morning before school despite the seven year age gap.

I am from underneath the Christmas tree, on the beaches of South Carolina, the strong trust of my parents, the intense bond with my sisters, the struggle of becoming a woman, the results of being a dancer, the middle child, the sensitive one, and most importantly the love and truth of family.

I am healthy, I am beautiful, I am recovered, I am in love, I am happy, I am strong, I am a WOMAN.