I’ve just come back from being a staff member on a Women in Power weekend and I'm on cloud nine. There are few places in the world where I know, really know, that all of me is welcome. That I don’t have to adapt myself or twist myself into a pretzel to fit in and be acceptable. At WIP I can be fully and wholly me without apology. I can be angry, furious, pissed off… and it’s fine, no one is scared. No one judges me. I can say so and no one gets upset or tries to shut me up! I can be sad, really sad, I can cry and cry and no one looks uncomfortable or tries to make it better so they will feel better. They might sit with me or put an arm around me. I can be frightened and I know that I will be met with support and kindness, over and over again. And when I’m happy or proud or excited, no one tells me I’m too much, too big, too powerful!
When I am surrounded by strong, loving, powerful women I feel safe enough to take risks. I feel safe enough to ask for what I want, even if it’s a ‘big’ ask and to not feel ashamed or make myself wrong if I don’t get it. And I can ask for what I want and not feel guilty when I do get it!
I staff this weekend workshop every year and each time I am amazed at just how beautiful women are. Every single one. No matter what her size or shape, age or colour. And every year I feel a well of anger stirring as I hear over and over how so many of us hate the way we look, how ashamed we feel about the bodies we inhabit. I boil over with fury as I witness the self loathing and the body hatred that so many women share. What world do we live in where a woman's value is dictated by the size of her body? How is it possible that the only images we see all around us bear absolutely no resemblance to real women? How is it that we let that happen year after year without protest?
Each year as the weekend comes to an end, I return to the ‘real world’ ever more determined to live my mission: to empower women to know and trust their bodies. Thank you WIP for re-invigorating my passion and commitment. Thank you for reminding me why I do what I do. After five days among women who are truly in their power, it feels as though my arms are twice as long and I can hold myself, my mission, my work, my family and my friends that much more comfortably and willingly… Staffing WIP is like re-charging my emotional batteries. With renewed power and strength (from all that love, laughter & healing) I am ready for another year. By April I am sorely flagging, empty and depleted, counting the days til the next weekend. Only 357 days to go!