To All The Women Who Are Worried About Fitting In

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woman dancing in a kitchen in her pajamas

By Ashley Allison

For the first time in a while, I had put on makeup and cringed at the idea.

Like many women, I used to think it would cover the bags under my eyes, wrinkles, or blemishes. However, it doesn’t compare to the filters I see on social media.

Now, let’s be honest: I don’t wear makeup to work. I know I look like a hot mess. But you can’t tell me after a 13-hour shift with patients you would want to be wearing eyeliner or powder on your face.

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It made me sad to know I no longer thought the makeup I loved putting on was doing it for me.

Maybe it was caused by depression or just being emotionally crushed by others. Maybe I was convinced I’m not enough if I don’t fit the mold.

Why does it have to be like that though? Why must women be expected to look a certain way or feel a specific way about themselves?

Society says, “If you’re not happy, then you’re not doing it right.”

Yeah, right.

Why do we have to teach young girls the expectations of what things will look like when they’re older? Why do we tell them how they need to dress or act in middle school versus high school?

Should they really know what’s appropriate makeup-wise when they’re thirteen versus twenty?

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Yes, there should be “guidelines” or rather “helpful hints” on how a lady should act within an age range. But everyone is different and matures at different speeds.

So the best advice to give a girl is this: Be yourself.

So what if you didn’t get your ears pierced until you were fifteen, and your best friend is decked out on both ears and waiting for her septum piercing? Everyone expresses themselves in different ways. Jewelry, tattoos, and other accessories are just a few ways to do it.

Some girls are completely devoted to sports, while others are into drama or fine arts. Both activities are a way of self-expression. They don’t define who someone is.

In today’s society, women need to be more consistent with accepting and supporting each other.

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How do we do that?

Surround yourself with like-minded women. Your friends build you up faster than anyone else. It’s not complicated to make lifetime friendships with girls who just want what every other girl wants — to feel accepted.

As women, we know that sometimes we’re the quickest to spread gossip and tear down others who are “different.”

It’s time to cut those barriers and accept that there is no “normalcy” in this world, only equality.

Stand firm in what you believe in and support the women around you who do as well.

Besides, who else is going to do these things if we don’t? No man will ever understand the struggles of being a woman in today’s society. It’s up to us to create that voice for our rights.

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Ashley Allison is a nurse, author and writer for Unwritten who focuses on relationships, health and wellness, and family. For more of her content, visit her author profile.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.