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To The Women Who Feel Less.

To the women out there who feel lost, who are even now being oppressed, who are stuck in terrible relationships or situations they believe they deserve (they deserve better). Don’t let someone tell you what you can or cannot do, what you do or do not deserve. You have carved out your righteous path with decades of suffering and neglect. You are better than this. You are the beauty of flowers on fire, all dizzying scents and flickering light; strength and delicacy in one unique package. You are all the pennies tossed into fountains with a flick of the wrist and dreams on silent wings, catching the sunlight with breathless delight. You are a woman.

I’ve always thought I deserved less than I did. Why? I can’t say. I had wonderful parents and good friends. Perhaps society itself with its bold, glaring headlines: be thinner (but also have big boobs and a round butt), be beautiful (but don’t be cocky), be strong (but not too strong), be smart (but not smarter than the men beside you). I used to starve myself to fit into a box that never fit. I still feel panicked when I leave the house without makeup, imagining that everyone is snickering behind their hands at my imperfect skin and pale eyelashes. I let men physically and mentally abuse me until I felt as jaded as an idealist going into politics and discovering the ugly truth behind kissing babies and bland smiles. I felt - less. If I was screamed at, didn’t I deserve it? If people I dated commented on my weight gain, or said I should go to the gym, they were only looking out for me - right? If I let someone in, and they ghosted me, that was probably because there was something wrong with me, not them.

That’s how it always felt.

But now, watching all the beautiful women around me, and the self hatred they feel, I want to roar. We worked too hard to be heard. We endured too much to quietly sit back and let someone else take the reins. We love too much to be given so little.

Say it with me: we deserve more.

Howl at the people who want to take away your voice: we will not be silenced.

Love the body you’re given: we will not be shamed; fat, thin, or anything in between, we are perfect.

Walk away from the people who seek to control you, or hurt you: we are strong, we are unique, we are better than this overdone manipulation.

Don’t be afraid to share your opinions, your writing, your art, your fears, your ventures: we are important, and we have knowledge to give to the world.

Make your own path: we are free.

We deserve more.

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