4 Things I Refuse to Apologize For--and Neither Should You. Happy International Women's Day!
In honor of International Women's Day, I wanted to publish something a little more spirtually empowering than my exceptional fashion advice. My various interactions with people in the past few months has taught me so much about myself. All of the things I'll do with no hesitations, (like drive 4 hours to Atlanta on a school night to see queen Bey slay her Lemonade tour and turn around to drive back home that same night) and all the things I absolutely won't budge on (well, you'll see those in a bit). So, my journey of self awareness has been a rejuvenating and beneficial one & I'm pretty excited to share with you what I've learned along the way, (and some shots from one of my latest styling projects!) I was inspired by Amber Gabrielle of IG:@ohshewentglobal to write about the things I refuse to apologize for and since I've recognized this, I've been living well and unbothered ever since. Read on, and prepare for empowerment. Here are some of the many things I'll remain unapologetic about, and you should to.
(And yes, if you we're wondering, Bey was totally worth it!)
#1 Putting Myself First
After pouring into other people’s cups and not having it be reciprocated, I learned pretty quick that you become really empty, and exhausted. Sometimes we get caught up in the idea that we must help others before we help ourselves, but that’s absolutely ridiculous. Unless you have children, which in that case, they should be top priority. However, that’s not the case for me, so I refuse to put so many things above my happiness. It’s so important not to take other people’s opinions into consideration when we make decisions for ourselves. It’s okay to say no, or choose not to answer the phone, or cancel plans (not often though, (please don’t be that friend!)) sometimes if you need to focus on yourself. I’ve learned that being selfless is draining, it’s okay to be a tad bit selfish.
#2 Not Being Intimated by the Opposite Sex
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked back on certain instances and really beat myself up about “staying in a woman’s place” or not taking the initiative to voice an opinion amongst a group of men. But also, I’ve experienced times where I had chosen to step up and challenge a man’s opinion, regardless of the outcome. Let me tell you, I prefer the second option every time. So, I’ve made a mental intentional decision to not be intimated or feel inferior when in the presence of men. This means “leaning in” in the words of Sheryl Sandberg, respectfully challenging the men around me and choosing not to quietly and fearfully move out of the way of a man when walking down the street. Choosing not to validate or succumb to any stereotypes about women being inferior to men, and being more aware of these gender standards when presented with them. Reminding myself every day that I am just as capable as if not more capable than a man.
#3 Spreading the Necessity of Self-Worth
When we encounter hardships or experiences that are challenging, and we don’t handle them well, our internal perspective of ourselves sometimes deteriorates. We use each failure or defeat, no matter how small, to analyze our actions. In time, this can have a viscous negative effect on our self-worth. I think it is vital for us to keep our heads held high and never settle. Constantly remind ourselves how remarkable, beautiful, and worthy we are and making sure the people we are surrounded by treat us accordingly.
#4 Holding People Accountable for Their Actions
This is the best example of the phrase “Teach others how to treat you.” When you hold people accountable for their actions, and set realistic expectations for them, they have no choice but to treat you accordingly. And if they don’t it’s your responsibility to hold them accountable! Allowing people to brush off their clear character flaws as “Oh! That’s Just how I am!” is dead. That behavior is immature and it shows you that those people are often too comfortable with themselves (and not interested in evolving past their harmful ways) to the point where they can’t even identify where their flaws lie. We will not sweep issues under the rug and we will not allow people to use our joy and goodness without reciprocation. Bye. *Insert boy bye hand emoji here!*
The looks (derived from H&M) were coordinated by the styling team here at whitneysylvain.com (and by styling team, I'm referring to myself, Whitney Sylvain). Styling shown is inspired by feminine strength. Assertive silhouettes and vibrant colors combine to represent strength, energy, and unmatched fierceness which all women possess. Happy International Women's Day, kick some ass.
Photography: Morgan Kitchen, Kendall Jackson
Makeup Artist: Sophia Nava
Styling, Art Direction, Creative Direction: Whitney Sylvain
There is indeed strength in numbers. Nothing good ever came from being complacent or comfortable.