Ani Difranco is one of my favorite badass women. She has opened my eyes to so many things and I will forever be thankful for the mark she has left on me. One of my favorite songs that she wrote is “Not a Pretty Girl”. One line that has always stood out to me is “I am not a pretty girl…that is not what I do. I ain’t no damsel in distress and I don’t need to be rescued…so put me down punk…Wouldn’t you prefer a maiden fair…isn’t there a kitten stuck up a tree somewhere”
When Heath and I began merging our two world…introducing each other to one another friends and family it was like 2 worlds colliding. Up until that day I had never been judged on the way I looked before…or at least so I thought. A friend of his….in this friends’ not so finest hour…made a very snap judgement about me and had no problem letting me know what he thought. I was a newbie and I looked very different from the other people in this social circle. I am tattooed, I have a distinct style, generally dressed to impress, and like to make a statement. This was the first time I had these things used against me in a very vocal and very disapproving way. This friend has since apologized and we have come to love and respect one another.
Well, the more I really think about it, that is most certainly not the first or last time I have been judged so critically. I have people think that I am incapable because I am an attractive woman who is a well dressed eccentric hairstylist with a passion to empower others. I have put myself in a position of trying to inspire and motivate others by sharing my story and my journey. This put’s a huge target on my back for criticism and judgement. Simply the fact that I am a woman has put me at the center of judgment…like I can’t do “man’s work”. Most people don’t know this about me but I love getting my hands dirty. I live power tools, grilling, building fires, shooting guns, and laser tag. I have so many qualities that do not reflect my appearance. We all do…every last one of us.
I have been really leaning hard into grace lately. I am one of the least judgmental people you will ever meet but that does not mean that people don’t piss me off sometimes. Although I always find my way to forgiveness I am able to get there so much faster with grace. This allows me to live such a calm existence. Will the judgement of “who I am” go away…maybe not, but I can call upon my grace to not get mad about that…or at least not stay mad about that. Grace allows me to understand that they are seeing life through their own lens. A lens that maybe never put a woman who is hard core equalist in front of them. (I do not identify with being a feminist…I believe we are equal and all have the something great to offer).
I think my husband is such a great example of this. Heath is hard core old school. I swear he is a 90 year old man trapped in a 43 year old body. Heath and I have very different ideas about life but we are both so open to listening and trying to understand the other that we have both grown exponentially. We have introduced each other to so much…some things that we come together on and others we don’t. Heath and I are the perfect example of how just because you have differences does not mean you can’t unify. We use grace with each other and others around us.
So…be you…whoever you are. Please do not contort yourself to fit into a box you don’t belong in. Make your own damn category and when you do you will find there are many others who identify with that category too. I promise they are out there. When you start showing yourself…so will they.