"You should just say ‘thank you’"

Growing up, I was taught to say “thank you”. When is it appropriate to say “thank you”? 
When someone does something that you appreciate.

I find myself saying “thank you” a lot. 

“Thank you for holding the door.”
“Thank you for posting that today, I needed it.”
“Thank you for inviting me to lunch.”

The other day, I was talking with a male friend about how much I hate going to the gas station. I hate it. Not because I hate getting gas (even though it puts a huge dent in my wallet) or because I hate going inside to grab whatever. 

I hate it because I almost always get unwanted attention. 

Recounting my last gas station experience, some man felt like it was appropriate to make some kind of suggestive comment about how I look/how my body looks/how he’d love to take me home. And then he looked me up and down like I was a steak.
That happens a lot of times to a lot of women.
It makes me cringe. 

I am not a thing. I’m not some item that he can just buy and take home with him because he purchased it. It is not okay to just say whatever the hell he–or anyone else–wants to me.
And then, when I reject him via ignoring him, he gets mad. 
“You don’t have to be a bitch about it. I was just saying I like how you look.”

To this story, my male friend said, “You should just say ‘thank you’, he just wanted you to know you’re attractive.”


This is wrong. 
I should not have to be subjected to inappropriate comments and then say “thank you” like it’s okay. Like I appreciate being talked to like that. Because I don’t.
There’s a difference in being complimentary and being disrespectful.
“You are lovely” does not equal “aye, girl, I like that ass”.

Gender roles suck.
As a woman, I’m expected to just say thank you because women are demure and genteel. Where if a man were receiving unwanted attention, it would be perfectly fine for him to aggressively reject that attention. 
If I reject that attention, I’m labeled a bitch.

I will not say “thank you”.
I will not let anyone think it’s okay to touch my body without my permission or talk to me in a way that is derogatory or demeaning.

I am not a thing. I am a person who is deserving of being treated like a person. 

I will not say “thank you” because I don’t appreciate what you’re doing.
I will not say “thank you” because I strongly suspect that people would change their behavior if they realized that #YesAllWomen deal with this treatment. Even your sisters, daughters, mothers, aunts and friends.

I will not say “thank you” because I don’t owe a thank you, much less any of myself to you.

The things every woman needs to hear

You are beautiful.
You are strong.
You are capable. 
You are worthy.

You need to hear this. 

I want to apologize for society. Society would make you believe you are less than. Society and advertising would have you apologize for your wrinkles by selling you anti-aging creams. They’ll have you be embarrassed by your stretch marks and ashamed that you are not the world’s idea of perfect.

But you should not be made to feel embarrassed.
You do not need anyone’s permission.
You don’t owe anyone an apology.

You are more than likes on an instagram picture.
You are more than followers.
You are more than pouty lips and bedroom eyes.
You are more than a body in scandalous clothing.
You are more than something for people to ogle.
You are more than an object.

You are owed an apology because society has failed to show you who you really are.

You are beautiful
From the top of your head to the tips of your toes. You are GAWGEOUS. The things you’re worried about? Your stretch marks, your wrinkles, your belly…no one notices that. What people notice? Your smile. Your warmth. The way you light up a room. Your passion. Beauty radiates from within you. Your flaws are beautiful. 
You are every bit as beautiful as you believe you are. 

You are strong
Strong minds. Strong bodies. Strong hearts. Maybe you don’t lift weights or maybe you don’t lift the heaviest weights in the gym, but you are strong. Everyday you make decisions that have an impact on a wealth of people–the strength to do that–the courage–is no joke. You are strong for you, for your family, for your friends, for life. You are so strong that you can show your emotions openly. You take risks by expressing your ideas and going after your dreams. You are made from an invisible steel that is seen and admired by everyone. 
You are every bit as strong as you believe you are.

You are capable
You get shit done. There is no task too large and no assignment too daunting because you are capable. You have the ability and the drive to do what you want to do. What you need to do. You believe in doing it. You understand that sometimes you have to do the things you don’t want to do to get where you need to go but you’re going to do it–BECAUSE YOU CAN. You’re going to be the best person you can possibly be today simply because you are capable of being that person.
You are every bit as capable as you believe you are.

You are worthy
This is important. Everything good that you have earned is yours. You earned it. You are worthy of being told everyday how wonderful you are. You are worthy of self-praise. You are outstanding. You deserve a day off and a bubble bath. You are worthy of those PR’s and pull ups. You are worthy of good things because you woke up today and decided to do the damn thing. Some days are great other days we’re lucky to just make it to the bed and not fall asleep in the hallway on the way to bed, but you did it. 
You are every bit as worthy as you believe you are.

I need you to know these things. 
I need you to believe them.
I need you to wake up everyday and realize that no matter what society is selling you, you’re not in the market for their shit. 

Because there’s whole generations of little girls behind you. Looking at you.
Hoping to grow up to be made of the same invisible steel you are.
Wanting to be
and worthy
just. like. you.

photo credit: http://www.npr.org

And one day, they will follow your actions. 
So show who you are.
Show them that they are more.

You are beautiful.
You are strong.
You are capable.
You are worthy.