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Honesty and courage on International Women’s Day

March 8, 2020

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
#IWD2020 #EachforEqual
March 8, 2020

“An equal world is an enabled world. How will you help forge a gender equal world?
Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.”

This International Women’s Day I choose to celebrate women’s achievement. I’m celebrating amazing women in the online world who for me, inspire positive change, talk honestly, and encourage others to be kind online.

Putting yourself and your personal story online is a terrifying but courageous thing to do, something I had a small taste of recently when sharing my breakup story. In recent months I’ve seen bravery and strength from some inspiring women who have decided to share personal stories online with the intention of helping others and open up conversations.

When we use the platforms we have to share difficult experiences, we’re encouraging others to do the same, to talk more about struggles and difficult topics. Knowing you’re not alone in certain situations and being able to talk about that is such a huge step in the right direction.

Tabby

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International Women’s Day gets me in knots every year. I am so conflicted between gratitude for all of the opportunity and freedom I have and the very real inequality I face day to day as a woman. I absolutely recognise my privilege and (relative) safety living in a western country but there is still a war on women that’s happening in our lifetimes – sexual assault, harassment, domestic abuse, men coming for my rights over my own uterus. I mean WHY am I walking around with keys between my fingers in 2020?! Why can I not walk down the street without being intimidated and shouted at?! Why does anyone think they have a right to an opinion on what I look like?! FUCK OFF. It feels like we still have so far to go. I find every year the picture seems bleaker . . and yet I’m more optimistic than ever. There are more women speaking out, sharing their experiences, stepping into activism, sacrificing their peace and safety to advocate on behalf of others. We’re connecting and bonding and together we’re stronger. I for one want to be a woman that says I fought for change, I raised my voice everyday and I came out on the right side of history. I want to love and empower women to know that we are unstoppable and we will not stand for anything less than absolute equality. [GIFTED Jumper @riverislandpr @riverisland #imwearingri #IWD2020 #EachForEqual £5 of the sale of this jumper will go to the Princes Trust Charity]

A post shared by Tabitha Warley | Take Heart (@takeheartuk) on

I found Tabby from TakeHeartUK last year when I asked my followers for suggestions of who to follow. The criteria was simple, real people who talk positively and honestly online and that is exactly what you get with Tabby – and so much more. Honesty is abundant on Tabby’s channel as she talks about debt, celibacy, and her moments of weakness.

I admire Tabby for sharing her makeup-free-Friday Stories which create a space for others to feel comfortable doing the same. Not feeling the need to hide behind filters or makeup is an empowering thing in the world of Instagram.

Beth

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I lost a baby on Christmas Eve. A life so small and unexpected and yet from the very moment I’d learnt of its existence, the most significant thing in the world to me. No matter what anyone says, you plan out an entire lifetime in those first few months. It was a ‘missed miscarriage’ – only identifiable at a scan punctuated by pained silence rather than joy and ‘managed’ by surgery a week later. Thank you for your patience and kindness whilst I’ve taken time offline over the last 3 weeks. They have been the hardest of my life. I decided to take some space whilst my body healed and I began learning how to navigate this new territory of grief, loss and all the hurt and confusion that accompanies it. I knew the stats, I just didn’t think I’d become one of them. It’s a membership without a cancellation clause to a club that nobody wants to be a part of. So for now I’m taking life a day at a time, buoyed by the immense strength and bravery I’ve witnessed in others. ❤️ #1in4

A post shared by Beth | Travel, Life, Style (@bethsandland) on

I’ve followed Beth for years now and if you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll have no doubt seen me rave about Beth on Instagram before. However, in recent months more than ever I’ve been in awe of her honesty and courage to share such a personal journey online. Beth has talked about her heartbreaking struggle with miscarriage and how she’s coping with grief, and I admire her for showing each and every moment of this, regardless of whether it’s ‘Instagrammable’.

From what I gather, miscarriage is often shied away from online but that statistics show that many women will go through it. According to the NHS, among women who know they’re pregnant, it’s estimated about 1 in 8 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. So I can’t even imagine how many people Beth is helping by opening up the conversation on her channel.

Abbie

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Hello March 👋🏻 Hello Endometriosis Awareness Month 🎗️⁣ ⁣ To all the fellow #endowarriors out there, to all the women who suffer symptoms but are not believed, to all who are waiting for a diagnosis and to the people (men and women) who have never heard of Endometriosis. What I'm about to share on this platform this month is relevant to everyone 💛⁣ ⁣ This March is the first endo awareness month for me, after being diagnosed in May 2019. It's been a LONG journey and I'm very much still on it. My pain started when I was 14, yet I've only just been diagnosed at 23. I've suffered with debilitating periods and ovulation pain for years, until I started having severe pain episodes in between also. Each time I saw a doctor I was told "it was normal" or "I just had a low pain threshold" or "I was too young to have severe endo". I was finally referred for an MRI last year when I started having chronic pain. They found a 4.5cm mass of severe endo stuck to my uterus, bowel, ovaries with likely involvement of my kidneys and bladder. ⁣ ⁣ The wait for surgery is tiring, being in pain constantly, not knowing when you will be crying in the bathroom contemplating going to A&E, despite knowing you will be dismissed and not given the pain relief or scans you need. Having Endometriosis is life-altering, exhausting and frustrating. BUT, it has taught me that I am flippin' STRONG! It's enabled me to meet the most amazing #endosisters (who I've tagged) and chronic illness community. During this time, I've discovered my creativity and I've found a passion for blogging, Instagram and raising awareness ✨ ⁣ ⁣ I look forward to sharing more with you over the course of this month! X

A post shared by A b b i e (@cheerfullylive) on

Abbie is actually another lovely Cambridge blogger who runs her Instagram page, Cheerfullylive. Abbie aims to raise awareness of endometriosis as she gives a totally honest picture of the condition and how tough it can be to live with. She speaks gracefully about her struggles with pain and as well as sharing chatty Story updates on her Instagram, Abbie writes awareness posts on her blog. A fantastic way to spread the word and hopefully, educate others on the topic.

Laura

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Wow, guys. I can't begin to explain the relief that I'm finally posting this. I've spent the last 3 years thinking about what I would say when I was finally ready to share my story with you and here we are. For the past few years there's been a block between myself and the camera, and I just want it gone. I love my job, making content, sharing my life with you guys… and that now includes the painful stuff too – like it should.⁣ ⁣ Over the past three years I’ve been dealing with recurrent miscarriage and everything that comes with it. In total, I’ve had four miscarriages 💔 ⁣ Like I have explained in todays YouTube video.. I feel that if I have to go through this journey there HAS to be a reason and I have always maintained that this reason is to help anyone out there in a similar situation. I was once (and sometimes still am!) that girl scrolling through videos, forums, blog posts in a bid to feel less alone. So, whether that person is you, your friend, family member, other half.. opening up this conversation is a positive thing and this is something we NEED to discuss more openly.⁣ ⁣ SO… this is me, what I've been dealing with and wow.. it feels good to just let you know about it 👼🏼👼🏼👼🏼👼🏼

A post shared by Laura Bradshaw (@imlaurabradshaw) on

Before I’d even dipped my toe into the world of online content creation I frequently kept up with Laura on Instagram. She’s an absolute style icon who shares fashion advice, makeup tutorials, and general life updates (including videos of her gorgeous puppy!).

Recently, Laura shared a video on her Youtube channel about her experience with recurrent miscarriage. Something that if I’m completely honest, I had no idea about before I watched Laura’s video. Once again I’m amazed at Laura’s strength for sharing her painful journey online and opening up the conversation, allowing a space for others struggling to do the same.

“So, whether that person is you, your friend, family member, other half.. opening up this conversation is a positive thing and this is something we NEED to discuss more openly.” Laura Bradshaw.

Meghan

‘Real’ is the word that springs to mind when I start to describe Meghan and her online platform. Meghan has been sharing her parenting journey from the moment she got pregnant and gave birth to beautiful Skye. The ups, the downs, and the real low points are all shared on Meghan’s Instagram channel as she brings reality to the world of parenthood.

Aside from talking about being a mum, Meghan recently shared this post on Instagram.

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So a couple of weeks ago I posted a video of myself on stories – dancing in my undies to Lizzo (a regular occurrence!) And my DMs exploded… But mostly with questions of how I learned to love my body and get so much confidence. Here's the thing, I don't love every part of my body – infact sometimes I think it's unrealistic to think we ever will. The difference is I no longer let my body define my happiness – I am so much more, I can offer so much more. So when I look in the mirror I don't focus on what I physically look like – I focus on my kindness, my sense of humour, my determination and the love I have for my family. I'm not saying it was always this way – and it's something that really clicked around 6 months ago… But GOD is it freeing. Also this book which the gorgeous @thesongwritingmum bought me is a BRILLIANT place to start if you want to be more at piece about your looks. Anyway, I think you are all beautiful, because you are beautiful people. There's my food for thought this Friday ♥️

A post shared by Meghan Walsh (@meghanwalshblogs) on

I thought the message behind the photo was so beautiful. Body positivity doesn’t always come with learning to love what you look like on the outside, but actually recognising yourself for being beautiful on the inside. A wonderfully honest thought to share online and it certainly prompted me to think in a similar way.

Criticism for social media is rife and there’s no doubt that it can be a toxic place. But by focussing on such positive messaging and sharing stories of bravery, struggle, and courage I think we’re on the way to making it a safer and more positive place.

Thank you to these incredible ladies (and so many more), for opening your heart up online and offering others a space for support and love. Your achievements are certainly a reason to celebrate women.

Happy International Women’s Day, “Here’s to strong women may we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

 

 

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