“You don’t have to play masculine to be a strong woman.” ~ Mary Elizabeth Winstead
If you receive my weekly newsletter, you will know that I am organising an event called Eat, Pamper, Love that will happen on September 6th in London.
Recently, when sharing about the event with a friend, he asked me why I was doing it.
I gave him a response that went something like:
I think it’s really important for women to take care of themselves and their well being and too many women are at the bottom of their “to do” list. I want to create a space that allows women to take time out for themselves without feeling guilty.
He then asked me why I cared about women taking time out for themselves and why I cared enough to create Eat, Pamper, Love. I gave him a similar response to which he told me that he was not convinced and that he thought there was a deeper reason for me that I had not yet connected with.
We chatted for a few more minutes but it really wasn’t clear to me why else I wanted to create a relaxation and pampering event for women beyond the response I’d given him.
The blessing and curse of multi-tasking
After we finished speaking, I reached for my journal and wrote down the same questions my friend had asked me. Initially I wrote a very similar response to the one I gave him. I continued writing and after a few more sentences it started to become clearer.
I realised that as women we are masters at multi-tasking and it is something that many of us pride ourselves on. I mean, how many times have you heard that old adage that men can’t multi-task but women can?
As a woman, being able to multi-task effectively is like a badge of honour.
Although there can be benefits to multi-tasking, it also comes with side effects. In society today, women work full time, take care of the house (which can range from housework, cooking, managing the finances or even being the sole bread winner), take care of the children, go to the gym, support friends and family as well as any other responsibilities such as volunteering.
Historically, much of our role today as women was previously the responsibility of men. Yes we have come a long way in terms of the choices we have in life, however, I feel we have also been set back a great deal.
It’s a man’s world
Whether we like it or not, we are competing in a man’s world. I believe this has forced us to develop a tougher exterior which over the years becomes a suit of armour.
Just take a look at the media. Words such as “boss”, “fierce” and “independent” are frequently used to describe successful, respected women. These words however also come with a certain amount of responsibility as a woman. If you’re fierce or a boss, then you are often expected to be strong and avoid exposing any weaknesses or vulnerability. This goes against our natural instincts as women. Our nature is to be loving, nurturing, caring and that requires a level of vulnerability.
Looking at myself, I can see the armour I have worn for years and how it has prevented me from really being authentic with myself and others. Going as far back as primary school, I absolutely refused to wear a skirt or a dress as I considered it “too girly”. I did not want to be seen as weak by the boys and I wanted everyone to know that I could compete with the boys in whatever they did.
Sub consciously this continued through my childhood and into my adult years, where I’ve always described myself as “not very girly” or “not into girly things”.
For years I was constantly busy and never made time for myself. I saw relaxing as something to feel guilty about as I felt I should be able to deal with everything life threw at me at all times. If you know my story, you will know that eventually this became unsustainable for my body and I developed health issues.
My health issues were predominantly related to tension and when writing in my journal, I laughed out loud at the irony because I can now see that it was as though I was literally wearing a suit of armour for all of those years.
For me, there was a level of shame to admit, even to myself, that I wasn’t coping with the every day demands of life and that actually I was struggling to be all things to everyone as well as achieve my own goals and aspirations. What else was there to do but to continue with my heavy suit of armour which protected me from being vulnerable and present to my emotions, to fight the battle of being a woman in what still is very much a man’s world.
The Eat, Pamper, Love mission
To answer my friend’s question, I am creating the Eat, Pamper, Love experience to allow women to remove their suit of armour and totally be themselves. To embrace all that it is to be a woman without the need to compete and without feeling guilty. It will provide a safe, loving and fun space for women to be women, unapologetically.
If you recognise yourself in my story and you are tired of wearing your suit of armour, come along to Eat, Pamper, Love and leave it at the door – metaphorically of course.
Although I am still very much on my journey, I now totally get the importance of not only taking time out to relax, but also how critical it is to our happiness and mental and emotional well being to be our authentic self. I hope that Eat, Pamper, Love gives the women who attend access to their own journey.
The Eat, Pamper, Love experience is happening in London on Saturday 6th September. If you would like to come along, you can book your ticket here. It would be great to have you there.