It Is Unbelievable How Enough YOU Are

A few years back my ex-boyfriend and my introverted self found ourselves in a blow-up pool at a party for his university residence. As he went off to get more refreshments, I sat in the lukewarm water, my skin burning under the hot South African sun. I had a black one-piece on with a sundress over it. And honestly, I was not loving it – at all.

As the thought ran through my mind for the umpteenth time that day, one of his housemates came up to me, dumped a cup of water down my cleavage, and walked away, laughing. At first I was completely stunned and surprised by this boy's audacity but then I saw my ex and relief rushed through my veins. Obviously he would see that I am upset and unbelievable uncomfortable, and maybe he might even validate how I was feeling. Maybe he would even be livid! But at the very least we would get out of the party, right?

Needless to say, there is a vast list of reasons why this boy is my ex. Still, that day when he just smiled at me at my flabbergasted face, laughed in his housemate’s direction, and said, “Yeah, babe, of course he would do that. You have such great boobs” – in doing so he unknowingly added another reason to the list.

I was speechless.

Years later, I am reflecting on life and all that it entails as my undergraduate career is coming to an end, that moment depicts so elegantly what women have to go through on a daily basis. Cat-calling, being eye-balled by the boatload of men, depicted as objectively as possible, and the inequality that permeates our global society.

We had been dating for at least three years by then and he knew me, inside out. He knew (and dare I say it) still knows me better than anyone ever, and vice versa. But that day he completely blindsided me. Here was this boy I loved more than life and he follows the exact train of thought as so many of the world's most vulgar predators and harassers.

There exists this theme throughout the ages that men are somehow entitled to the female body; that they are somehow allowed to trespass on it. And this idea forms at a very young age.

In the Afrikaans culture (that is, predominantly, very conservative) the reigning ideology is still that a ring on that finger is what makes a woman someone. Having a baby is what you are supposed to be doing. And although none of that is wrong, we need to see that women having their own voice is what is right and that it is our fundamental right.

I want to live in a world where a generation of women rise up and raise their daughters to be whoever they want to be and raise their sons to be complementary to, and not mandatory, for their daughters’ success.

My roommate is one of the most beautiful and empowering women I have ever met. She stands for unconditional love and understanding for all. She goes through her life inspiring and uplifting all those who cross her path.
But then I also see her raw and hurt parts.

I see all of her. and that makes her life and the way she takes life head on that much more beautiful. She cares for everyone who hurts and knows pain right through her own painful experiences. She takes the curveballs life throws at her and just knocks them out of the park.
Even those that she might miss; they just make her that much more determined to strike a home-run on the next ball.

It is women like her (and so many other that I am privileged enough to know) that reaffirm my belief in our gender and what we stand for.
Just take Emma Watson, Taylor Swift, Zendaya, and so many more celebrities, who know what they stand for – gender equality, non-discrimination, and tolerance of differences. They make us so proud and we should definitely take up that same mission and become the generation of self-empowering, determined, and successful (in anything we want to be) women.

I wish that I had felt this empowered that moment when my ex’s housemate threw that cup of water on me. I probably would not have just sat there, taking it. And I definitely would not have stayed with my ex for another year.

We are women. We are beyond able. We are more than enough. Let’s rise and show the world what it has been missing out on. Let's start embodying the idea that you, we, women are beyond enough.