Obviously, there are a few F words I enjoy, but the Merriam-Webster’s word of the year announcement this morning was particularly satisfying. I’d just finished up a five mile run in the best way possible—HOORAY FOR NEGATIVE SPLITS.
You see, I’m unfortunately crippled with self-doubt at times. Yes Virginia, I know we all are, but yesterday was one of those annoying days where the littlest thing (cutting my leg while shaving) forced me to switch up my outfit which made me feel less than I wanted to and left me tearing up and stomping around my closet. My brain was off to the races.
If I didn’t participate in silly rituals like shaving my legs, would my morning have cruised by without the freak out?
For whatever reason, switching clothes pushed the fear buttons and there I was, the committee of voices in my head circling like a bunch of vultures, ready to feast on the last scraps of my self-esteem as they reminded me that I’ll never be smart enough or talented enough to actually get what I want in life and that it’s only a matter of time until the man I’m in love with realizes I’m a big dumb fake.
I pulled it together enough to get through work and still found myself bawling in the empty parking lot at the end of the day, wondering why I’m not just some schmuck who doesn’t care about anything or anyone who could just live out her days of zero introspectivity, punching some clock and watching reality television until her eyes bled. Would that Julie even know where the library was, much less go pick out a book?
IDK. To sum, it was a terrible, no good, rotten day until I got back home. In the win column, the man I love does not think I’m a fake, low energy loser and one of my friends was very insightful in helping me process my stupid brain space.
So I went to sleep and dreamed of nothing, which is pretty odd for me. When I woke, I was still tired and felt like I just wanted to stay in bed forever. But there was a training run on the agenda and I recalled a recent conversation about marathoners being independent and dependable because we know how to make a plan and understand who gets hurt if the plan goes out the window.
The man ran with us for the first couple of miles and then Joey and I went a bit farther north to grab a few extra miles. And I felt good, not tired, and certainly not like the low energy loser the vultures told me I was yesterday. So we really cruised the last mile and in the last half mile I looked down at Joey and remembered that I’m not only part of the Brownhead Team, I’m also a badass warrior goddess. Vultures be damned!
Then I saw that “feminism” is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year, badass warrior goddess indeed. I’ve always been a feminist, whether or not I claimed the label. Ask my brothers if I expected a equal spot with the boys. Hello, Leia?
It’s funny, though. On the inside of my right arm, I have a snake tattooed. It’s vibrant and beautiful and like the phoenix tattoo next to it, it reminds me about the possibility for rebirth. It’s funny because I almost had the word “feminist” tattooed where the snake is, but figured when I reached to shake someone’s hand, a snake would be greeted more warmly than a feminist.
It can be complicated term and one must consider intersections like race, orientation, gender expression, class, body type, and a hundred others I’m failing to mention. And yes, there are all different degrees of feminism, but it certainly isn’t some old school group of women who hate men. I’m hoping that feminism being the most-searched word in the online dictionary this year is helping individuals see how they might not have even realized they are feminists.
What the world told me when I was too young to know better:
“ Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.” – Pat Robertson
What I know now:
“Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” – Marie Shear