Tag Archives: women

Just fkn do it

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I went and checked out a new local gym that opened recently. I was shown around the “women’s” area (cardio, creche and cafe) and the “men’s” area (bigger weights, squat racks and so on). My instant reaction was no way. You don’t gender fitness, you don’t tell people what they can and cannot do based on whether they’re male or female, and you certainly don’t make assumptions about what people – living, breathing human beings – want out of a gym solely on traditional values assigned to gender.

But really, it’s not this new gym owner’s fault. They’re setting this facility up to cater to what has worked for years and years. And I honestly wish them every success.

I don’t want to be told that, though. I am not the weaker sex. I am not ever going to be confined to prancing daintily on a treadmill while sipping some soy latte shit and waving at my children engrossed with their screens in some creche set up. I want to lift weights, I want to increase my strength, I want to do whatever I want to do.

One lone brain thinking this changes nothing.

Fortunately, there’s an army.

The Grrrl Army.

I had the opportunity to meet the leader of this army on the weekend. She’s a woman who has inspired me for the last 12 months. She’s physically and mentally strong, she lifts heavy shit and spirits, she crushes watermelons and barriers.

This is Kortney Olson.

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The first time I became aware of Kortney was when I spotted a pair of gym tights that had a brick pattern on them. They made me smirk because I’ve often been told I’m built like a brick shithouse (which is actually a positive thing). So I checked out the page, then found the Army.

Imagine if a group of women decided to dedicate themselves to cheering each other on. Imagine if that number on your clothing tag didn’t sum you up. Imagine most of all, that liberation and courage found in discovering that who you are is actually OK. More than that, it’s pretty fucking awesome. And the second you start to waver in this, there’s a crowd pulling you back up.

So when the opportunity arose to meet Kortney and some of the other grrrls, initially I jumped at the chance.

However, fuelled not only by stubbornness and caffeine but also by a hefty dose of anxiety and self doubt, as the day drew closer I began to panic. Eventually I shot Kortney a message and told her that I didn’t think I could go, and explained why. Her response?

It’s ok to be scared. Just fkn do it.

So, I did.

And as I walked towards the place we were meeting up for a workout, that self doubt rose again. These women were surely going to be stronger than me and fitter than me and better than me.

But it wasn’t a competition.

And I learned very quickly that as long as you held your own and did your best, then you smashed it.

And we cheered each other on and there was laughter and admiration and praise and in a word, community.

We were not each other’s competition.

We were there together.

I didn’t take any other photos, aside from that selfy with Kortney. I’ve been trying more and more to be a part of the moment rather than hide behind a screen. It’s hard because screens are like a small blockade between life and self, which is kind of nice. But I don’t want blockades all the time. Sometimes I want to be part of the moment and part of life.

Because it can end pretty abruptly.

But while I’m in the alive part of it, of life, I want to tell people that they’re heroes. I want to lift other people as well as heavy weights. I want to see exactly what this body of mine with all it’s floppy skin and stubbornness and anxiety can actually do.

And being a part of something bigger makes me believe that it can be done.

 

One for the ladies

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When I worked as a checkout chick, I remember being startled when a mum gave her toddler son the money to pay for the groceries, with the instruction of “Give it to the lady”. A dirty, snotty, pudgey little hand thrust a $20 note in my direction. That’s when I realised: I was the lady she was referring to.

A lady?

Hahahaha.

Hahahahahahahahahaha.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I had been called many things. But a lady? I wasn’t really sure how to respond, so I took the money off the kid, gave him the change and wished them an enjoyable afternoon.

It was a peculiar moment. Obviously, I had all the bits that made me a lady. But isn’t a lady more than just boobs and ladygarden? Shouldn’t I have been prone to wearing dresses, sipping tea with a pinky extended and at the very least, fond of eye makeup? I was the total opposite of this: I was playing in a seedy band at the time, swore like a sailor and was more comfortable sprawled all over the floor than I was sitting primly on a garden bench. I farted, I burped, and would celebrate both with a trip to the pub. I was more blokey than a lady.

And things haven’t really changed all that much.

Of course, I grew up to become a proper lesbian, which funnily enough is also when I stopped liking beer.

Yet I still know that if I were behind a checkout, someone would tell their child to give the money to the lady.

If you do a quick image search using the term lady, you get this:

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Here are some results that you do not get:

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There seems to be some discrepancy here.

I started to panic. Maybe my vagina isn’t real? Maybe I am neither gender? What if these boobs are just enormous growths? To make everything that much worse, today is International Women’s Day. Sure, rub it in.

Then I had a little think.

Lady is the female version of Lord.

It’s a respect thing.

It has less to do with tits, and more to do with treating a woman with respect.

But why do we still need to have International Women’s Day? Surely if kids are being told to use the phrase “lady”, things must be going ok. Right?

Well… They’ve been better. But – but – think about how far we’ve come.

That’s what International Women’s Day is about now. Recognising progress. Celebrating achievements. And continuing to work hard so that all females are valued, regardless of their age, nationality, religion, or socioeconomic status.

It’s a day to remind and teach girls and women that they are valuable, able, worthy. A day to teach boys and men how to treat women with respect and honour.

Happy International Women’s Day.

Happy Mothers Day

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I argued with myself for ages about doing a post today. In the end, I decided to do it (obviously).

That’s not a forgotten apostrophe in the heading, by the way.

I think today is more of a day for creating and remembering happy mothers. No ownership of the day: just plural mothers, plural happiness.

It didn’t start that way, though. After many plans and discussions, I left the final choice for how we would spend today in the hands of my beloved’s son. He promptly forgot about it, or prioritised himself, or maybe both. I was so disgusted. Both kids forgot last year. There was no way I wanted my beloved to go through that hurt again, but I guess you can only encourage so much.

The dogs gave her a card (signed) and some slippers:

ImageTeenage boy appeared in the afternoon with a mate in tow and some chocolates. The chocolates were for my beloved, so that is a plus.

My own mum died ten years ago this year. I wish she was here. I wish she could see who I am today, the things I do and see how she’d cope with the things I decided not to do. No teaching. No more living in Sydney. No more being a pushover. No more pretend boundaries.

I want to wish her a happy mother’s day. I want to ask if she is happy, if she is being encouraged to pursue happiness.

I write this sitting outside with my Scouty next to me, having spent the day with my beloved. I have veges roasting in the oven, getting ready for dinner with the neighbours. My flatmate is in Melbourne on a surprise-the-hell-out-of-Bev mission. Today is a day for happiness. For creating happiness, for giving happiness, for encouraging happiness, for respecting happiness.

Women are amazing. I have a genuine appreciation for them, for many reasons aside from the whole lesbian thing. Regardless of whether they are mothers, whether they are motherless, whether mum just isn’t around today – I want to encourage happiness.

So, here’s to the women. The women we know. The women we love, the women we respect. The single mums, the married mums, the plural mums. The women who are eternal mums to children in heaven. The women who were honoured today, the women who were forgotten today.

Especially for those women.

The women at work, the women at home, the women being judged or hated or ridiculed. The women who are prisoners, physically or mentally. The women who fight or fought or love or loved.

Because each one is worthy of love.

The women we respect and admire and want to be like. The women who have been told “No”, but only heard yes.

The women, every woman.

Here’s to you:

I encourage your pursuit of happiness.