I used to think that the perfect woman was uncomplicated, effortless and slim. That was back when I thought "perfect" was a thing. When I thought I needed to look like the women in glossy magazines. The women that ticked all the boxes.
I've had the privilege of living many years since I first had that thought. And I've realized that perfect doesn't exist. More importantly, I've recognized that I don't actually want it to.
I used to buy those magazines that make their millions by body shaming. The ones that highlight cellulite and zoom in on tummies that aren't taut. I contributed to their success. Then I got older and my confidence in who I am increased. I cared less about my own imperfections but I minded more about a media managed world that tried to define me.
Most media would still have us believe that the ideal female has flawless Caucasian skin, a Jessica Rabbit body and a Colgate assisted smile.
And that's just the physical attributes.
On an emotional level we're constantly bombarded with (pharmaceutical profiteering) science on how we can be less stressed and consistently happy.
Consistently happy? That's not my personality. The chances are that it's not yours either.
It's 2015 and women have more opportunity than ever before to be who they truly are. Who they truly are. Not who the billion dollar advertising execs tell us we need to be.
We have hormones. We have moods. We have depth and diversity. We are women. Rarely are we one dimensional. And really, why would we wish to be?
On different days I write in different ways. I honor the multiple parts that make up the unique, rich mix that I am. And by writing that way it serves as a reminder for me to live that way. There is no monotone. No flatness. Rather, an emotional whirl of chaos and creativity. This is who I am. A beautiful badass. An imperfect personality. A woman who is making her way in the world through trial, error and everything in between. And I own that sh*t.
I know my demons. I know them well. I used to shut the door when I saw them coming but they usually just snuck in through the window. They're crafty like that, those demons. So, now I just let them drop by. I don't get out the best china. I don't invite them to stay the night. But I don't hide under the bedcovers either.
My demons are part of me. Denying them doesn't diminish them. Equally, acknowledging their existence doesn't mean I have to succumb to them. It just means I'm aware they exist. Suppressing them isn't an option. Accepting them is.
Show me a woman and I'll show you a fighter. Every time.
So, what does a real woman look like? She looks however the f*ck she wants to look. She looks like you and she looks like me.
She looks like freedom. She looks like hurt. She looks like the tumultuous rain that's pouring itself into every crook and crevice. She looks like passion. She looks like pain. She looks like triumph. She looks like victory. She looks like every warrior that's been before and every survivor that's still to come. She's every color, every shape, every size, every height and every feature. She's every woman. And she's beautiful.
The playing field isn't what it used to be. That's no bad thing. For every single time a woman is struck down, there's a thousand more times that a sister is raised up. We're forming a new movement. We're building on the foundations that our feminist game changers laid down for us and we're moving on up the ladder in every sense. We're not waiting for an invitation, we're not asking for permission and we don't care if you shut the door on us because we're creating a new structure of social justice.
And, yes, Caitlyn Jenner, we do have room for you.
We don't need to marginalize ourselves. We don't have to play down the parts of our personality that want to be seen. We don't have to hide our physique or change how we look. We can embrace all of who we are without comparing ourselves to anyone else. We can be real and we can own it. All of it. Every last badass bit.