How traveling empowered me
Question: What is the most empowering thing you have ever done?
For me the answer was a tie:
1. Giving birth to my sons
2. Breastfeeding them
I had completely different birthing experiences with my children, but breastfeeding was relatively easy for me. I was very fortunate. Breastfeeding and childbirth made me feel powerful as a woman. To know that you have created a human life and then proceed to nourish that child with the body from whence it came is really, really cool. The human body is AMAZING.
The downside to breastfeeding is that it is somewhat of a hot topic in the United States. Overwhelmingly I have been greeted with support, but there are many women who haven’t been as fortunate as I have been. Some women are told to cover up, we are marketed products to conceal ourselves and shield others from witnessing a very normal and very powerful part of motherhood and infancy.
Why? Don’t ask the French, Spanish, Italians or Germans. They don’t know why it’s an issue either….
As we continued to travel I continued to become a more confident and empowered woman because:
- I could walk through the streets of Barcelona at night by myself or with my children without the fear of who might be lurking around the corner.
- Despite being warned of the turbulence abroad and constantly being on the receiving end of cautionary tales about robberies and terrorism, we were always safe.
- There were no cat calls, no gawking at my breasts, no staring when I fed Griffin.
- No one told me to smile if I looked pissed off.
- I felt confident in my own skin because so many other women of all shapes and sizes were confident in theirs.
Does the same happen to every women who travels? No. But I needed to be reaffirmed and reprogrammed to understand that the behavior that is so recurring back home isn’t the norm elsewhere in the world.
I needed the French to show me that just because you aren’t constantly apologizing for bumping into one another or scowling, doesn’t mean you are a mean person. It took quite some time for me to realize that I didn’t need to smile at everyone who passed by.
Most importantly of all, traveling gave me the power back as a woman and my experiences gave me the confidence to move boldly through the world no matter what. I am so fortunate to have been able to see how other women move through life in so many different cultures. I honor their confidence and bravery in my daily life and cherish the moments where I was able to see the world differently and learn from it instead of meeting it with resistance.
So I’ll leave you with a little piece of advice:
Go boldly into the world. Travel with an open mind and a strong will to learn. Teach others about the times you felt empowered. Let those experiences live inside your soul for the rest of your life and pull from them when you need reaffirmation or don’t know what to do.
Do what empowers you, no matter what.