I find that women’s spaces are ones of pain. Too many of us have been hurt and carry that with us. Too many have been wronged, especially by men in their lives. Almost every one of us can tell a story of when we were abused, either physically or emotionally, or both.
Women’s spaces are ones of doubt. Women not believing in themselves, second guessing what they are doing, trying to prove that they are better – even though they are already great. It is about knowing that we do have to be better if we want to be respected, because people on the outside do doubt us.
Women’s spaces are full of asking for permission. They are about looking to an authority for approval. They are waiting for someone to invite or acknowledge. They are about allowing someone else to decide what you can do and remembering to play the game, as you don’t want to be too strong on your own. They are about proving one’s worth, hoping that someone else will see that and help you push through – because that is the only way.
Women’s spaces are places of need. Needing the people in charge. Needing the people around. Needing affirmation. Needing explaining. One is told to be independent, but then told that you shouldn’t be too independent – no one will hire you; no one will marry you. You need to be weak on the outside, but strong on the inside, but there is only so long before the outside seeps in.
Women’s spaces are about proving that you are able to do what men can do, maybe even better. Women’s spaces are about showing that you don’t need men, even though most of the time, they are the ones in charge. Women’s spaces are about showing how different and special they are, because they are not seeing it themselves or hearing it from the outside.
I wish that this wasn’t the case. I wish that women’s spaces were filled with confidence. I wish that they were filled with a place of respect and not belittling. I wish it was a space that allowed me to have autonomy and not feel like a child. I wish they were spaces that were not about recovering from hurt and brokenness. I wish they were places that we can just do what we are doing without any of this hanging in the air.