I actually pity the men and boys in our society/societies. And women/girls. Or really everybody. Here’s why:
This novel was a big favorite of mine. Now I cringe. (source)
Growing up, my mum kept on telling me that if you I want to get anywhere in this harsh patriarchal world, I would have to stop being a sissy and ‘man up’. There are a lot of reasons for her attitude (surprisingly all coming from a place of love), but I believe a lot of mothers shared similar wisdom with their daughters: in this men’s world you have to be a tough rock. An emotional rock. Like… a man.
Boys have it worse. Where is it’s socially acceptable for a girl to wheep somewhere in the corner (while getting labeled as ‘weak’ and ‘emotional’), men have to really ‘man up’. When I was a kid my dad read me his childhood books about knights, Kozaks and Indians and frontier explorers. Looking back, there was a whole lot wrong with these books, historically, racially, but the biggest thing that I know realised is that the main characters (men, of course), well, were emotional desserts. Oh, they had very rich emotional interiors, but the only time they could possibly release all those emotions was by at least beating someone up. Or going on a full-fledged war path. So many a boys (and me) grew up daydreaming of flinging a sword at others, getting into gun duels and just… letting go by doing some bloodshed as part of a fabulous adventure.
Than we all grew up and even though puberty was making a havoc with our emotional ranges, boys had to toughen up and be cool and crude while girls had to seem cold and distance. Letting out some true feelings, both bad and good, was very risque. Not too mention we were all too confused, mainly by the amount of pimples on our faces.
Above: superiors, CEO, overtime, working on weekends, reports, staying up all night
Below: resigning (from company)
And then we grew up, went to work in big name corporations, where we became just one of the millions in an army of ‘ants’. Neither ants nor soldiers are permitted to react to situations around them. They are just to follow commands. And then when they leave their stations… sometimes if you are lucky, and live alone, you will get to cry yourself to sleep. If not..
Even when you leave the corporate world and go into either SMEs or your entrepreneurial journey, you discover that you are still not permitted to get in touch with your emotions: now you have the weight of world on your shoulders and you’ve gotta
And then we all get into our 30s, seeing a therapist once a week and getting by on antidepressants, having epic fights with our significant other, get equally epically drunk on nights out with work colleagues or those last few friends you may have. In most places in the world there are no epic battles going on nor is having brawl and beating the shit out of somebody socially acceptable. So we are just stuck in this dark hole. You may put on a happy face for the world but inside you kind of hate the heavy and dire feeling you have inside of you.
When things become to much and there just isn’t anywhere to let it go.
But I say, humbug! To hell with all that manning up! The hell with becoming dead on the inside out. I say, let’s GIRL DOWN.
Fuck gun fights, knight duals, writing amazing corporate reports. The truth is there is nothing more braver, more courageous than being true to yourself. Than letting yourself FEEL.
Let’s just let it go! (source)
Let yourself me happy and dance about it. Let yourself be sad and cry about it. Be angry and tell outload what made you feel like that. Don’t be a rock. Be a river. Let the emotions flow through, and let them go. Think about it : jedi, yogini, wise man who live in mountains are not rocks. They let emotions flow in and out of them like the wind.
Some of those teaching me to #girldown : Startup Weekend Seoul…
There are a million and one studies on mindfulness and it’s derivatives. There’s zenentepreneuship, barbell meditation and other paths for each and everyone of us. There is no clear cut way of ‘womaning down’, just like there is no one way at being a decent grown up. But it starts with you telling yourself it’s ok to FEEL.
…and Django Girls Seoul
I’m not even going to go into how condescending the phrase ‘man up’ is. Not even to women, but to men themselves. They have to live to these impossible standards of being THE MAN. MANNED UP MAN.
I’m girling down and it’s scary but amazing
I recently cried in front of my coworkers. And, while weeping, told them that it’s just fucking hard, that I feel like I cannot deliver and that the new project and the workload/responsibility it caries scares me to bits. And sure, it was not a pretty sight, and the old me was utterly embarrassed and wanted to slap myself on the face for being such a cry baby and weakling. But there was also this great relief. Because it turned out that my coworkers, veterans of 2 years of military service (including one marine!) were feeling along the same lines. And some more tears were shed.
We also started a new tradition of daily dancing. To celebrate little things like a nice lunch, coworkers good date or positive feedback from a client. And although, just like with showing emotions, it’s awkward at first, within a minute or two you tune in and let your body flow with the music, while endorphins have a party in your head (or… wherever they are released at…).
So let’s reclaim our inner lives. Let’s really be who we feel we are at the moment. They say to listen to our bodies. But how about listening to our souls? And let’s GIRL DOWN.
Get a friend and girl down!
I announce the #girldown the new black. The new Birkenstock of summer and winter. The Ed Sheeran of human standards. The hipster vegan meal of the menu called LIFE.