As women, we are told how to feel, how to look and how to act every day by a variety of sources, and when we don’t feel the ‘right’ way we place blame on ourselves rather than on the outside world. Every woman is taught to be self-critical – to wonder why she’s herself and not someone better, thinner, taller, brighter, sportier, healthier, more generous, more driven. This behaviour pattern can form a cycle where we look further and further inside of ourselves for the source of the problem, the reason that we can’t quite ‘make it’ and so we end up with our hearts and heads in crisis.
One of the most valuable things that we can do to get ourselves out of this deep hole of market-supported self-loathing is to spend time with a girl friend that has been there, can empathise and would do anything to make you feel better. Women, more than men, are given the space to truly let rip with their friends. We can reveal our darkest, dirtiest secrets, discuss our hopes, fears and dreams and share experiences that build us up in a way that the best diet or the most money can never do.
This project began for this very reason. Sometimes we feel really good or really bad and our friends can be far away. Sometimes we are between good friends and don’t feel like we have that confidante to share our good or bad story with. These are times where a person can almost burst with the weight of their own story. I felt like there was a need for a space where women could know that they were not alone, and that there was someone out there going through just what they were.
The hope was that one day we would have a book of stories that you could give to your sister, your mother or your girl friend. She could read them and feel a bit better either by reading something she identified with and gaining support from that or by reading a really positive story that inspired her to get through whatever she needed to.
It began with a simple email project. I contacted women that I thought might like to be involved and they were asked to invite women that they thought might like to be involved and so on. This process of snowballing helped me to generate enough interest for just over eighty women to start writing stories. Themes were suggested and writing was submitted.
This writing blew me away.
I began to feel that somehow keeping these stories to my self in the hopes that one day they would get published was delaying the process. I wanted the support to start immediately, not sometime in the distant future. A blog seemed like the easiest and most accessible option.
So I present this to you the reader. The women who wrote these amazing stories will remain nameless to protect them. We all know that sometimes we write a story, not for the story to be told but because we need to get it out. It needs to exist outside of us so that we can encounter it and deal with its source. So I cannot thank the writers enough for sharing stories with me and now with you.
I would love you join the project too. You have two options, you can read these, and join us by commenting and sharing your words of support and feedback with the authors. It can be a way to start shaping your ideas about stories you would like to share, or thank the writers for their stories.
Your second option is to join by writing your own story. You may find that something you read here sparks something in you, or rekindles a desire to share one of your first times. If you do have this feeling then I encourage you to write what you feel, write what you need to write, and write honestly.
If you would like to write a story for this blog, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope that this blog can stay true to the original aims of this project. I want women to feel like they have a safe and powerful space to be themselves, to share their stories of joy and enjoy those stories, and importantly to know that on the worst day they’ve had so far, someone else knows how they feel and would love to comfort them.