"Married women always let themselves go." #praisebe
I laughed awkwardly in response to her words (my brain never seems to work fast enough to come up with the right thing to say on the spot - totally frustrating).
We were at our friends wedding, sitting in an overheated barn underneath the twinkly lights, chatting about what it must be like to be married (we were both unmarried at the time) when she dropped the bomb.
"Married women always let themselves go."
She then proceeded to tell me how she noticed one of her newly married friends was gaining weight so she took it upon herself to call her friend out for it because apparently, they had promised each other to not let themselves go after marriage.
All the while, the newly married couple we were (supposed to be) celebrating, was glowing, making their rounds saying hello's and thank you's and love you's to their guests.
And I was gossiping with a friend about the weight that women gain once they get married. *red-faced sigh*.
So of course it doesn't come as a surprise that I've beaten myself up for weight gain I've experienced since marriage, post-college, pre-financial stability (whatever you want to call it). I've had her voice in my head -"married women always let themselves go" - and the lies start to sink in. Wow, I'm 25 years old and I'm already going downhill. I've gained weight. I hang out in leggings more than jeans. I'm no longer interested in makeup. I've let myself go. Everyone's probably noticing. Pretty soon my family will be calling Stacy and Clinton of What Not to Wear begging them to reboot the show so they can get me a new wardrobe, makeup routine, and hairstyle.
I'm an INFJ people - my imagination is a wild place.
But I know that those things are not true because this is what I know to be true:
Since marriage, I've experienced the man of my dreams kissing parts of my body that at times, I can't even bring myself to look at in the mirror.
Since marriage, I've eaten piles of wings without giving a rats ass how much sauce was on my face, fingers, shirt, or hair. Oh yes. Hair.
Since marriage, I've been a part of an unconditional, everlasting commitment that is more substantial than any weight gain I could experience.
Since marriage, I've felt the sweetest form of freedom that our rigid society of 'women should look small, speak small, act small' never provided.
If that means I let myself go, hallelujah. Can I do it again?
In a culture where women can never *let go* let alone speak, walk, lead, exist in the right way, my response to the fact that women finally feel that they can let go, if only for a moment, within marriage? Thank Mother God. Praise be. It's about time.
Women should be able to let themselves go whenever the hell they want. And in fact, it's a shame that many women feel they have to wait until marriage to release. Let loose. EXIST as more than a pretty face and thin waist.
If we never truly believe that we can let go, are our motives for holding on healthy? Are they authentic? Are they building us up or breaking us down?
If in our minds, we never give other women permission to be free, we will never give ourselves permission either.
Let me be clear: I'm by no means suggesting that all women should eat unhealthy, forgo exercise, and not give a shit about how they look or feel. I absolutely believe in pursuing a life of holistic wellness. But to shame our sisters for leaning into full, unconditional acceptance is a double-edged sword. We cut them down, we fall too.
So to my single, dating, engaged, married, divorced sisters who have found yourselves choosing to skip the makeup to let their skin breath more often, opting to eat an extra slice of pizza because you can, choosing flats because *news flash* heels ain't comfy and are legit bad for the bones in your feet, and simply making choices rooted in self-acceptance rather than cultural acceptance, YES. YOU DO YOU. Let yourself go - go wild, go free, go bravely, go loudly. Go feel good. Go go go.
And the next time you're at a wedding and that chick who you know you won't be friends with 3 months from now starts tearing other women down for "letting themselves go", I've got your response for you so that you don't have to fumble over awkward laughter like I did - "praise be." That's your response. Praise be.
As a woman, you deserve the chance to let go and still exist fully, valuably, and as the worthy-of-unconditional-love human that you are.
In Love + Light,