Event 7: Sugar, Spice & Everything Woman
We discussed the pressures of fulfilling certain roles as women, whether that's chatting about the pressures of motherhood or the fear of prejudices from others if we're not wanting to have a family.
Thanks to our main sponsor Alisha Ramos, Founder and CEO of Girls Night In Club. Cheers to Hatice Rosato of Sospeso for providing the venue, food and drinks, our discussion leader, Aphra Adkins from Sally's Middle Name, and Videographer , Isabel Harris from All I See Iz.
Alisha Ramos | Founder of Girls Night In Club
“I’m trying to wrap my head around the Behold.Her event and it’s difficult to put into words. There was so much! We laughed, we cried, and we lifted each other up. It might all sound cliché but try to imagine for a bit: twenty strangers gathered around a table, coming from different world-views and backgrounds, sharing our hearts, our battles, and our victories on what it means to be a mother, sister, wife, friend, woman. I saw pieces of myself in each of these women. The women whose mothers were absent, the women whose mothers were great, the women who aren’t ready to become a mom, the women enjoying motherhood, the women who felt too vulnerable, the women who felt too strong, the women who felt just slightly out of place, and the women who felt they were doing too much or nothing at all.
We talked a bit about the evolution of our mothers as human beings last night. Nobody is perfect, and so why should you, or I, or our mothers be? Society likes to hold a magnifying glass on women and scrutinize. There is the added pressure, the clearer sense of what an “ideal woman” or “ideal mother” might be, and so all of us grasp for that identity which is always just slightly out of reach. Last night I saw the humanity that levels and brings us together as women, even as strangers. The struggles and triumphs we go through are not singular. Last night gives me the courage to say that I am perfectly normal, beautifully human, and stronger than I ever thought.”
Aphra Adkns | Sally's Middle Name
“I think the thing that stood out to me the most is the empathy that each of these women had for everyone at the table. There’s so much love and we don’t even know each other. I’ve never met any of these people before, they’ve never met anybody else before, and we’re all crying within 5 minutes. It’s because so much generosity of heart and desire from each person wanting everyone to be happy, which is really just a testament to the fact that there are so many beautiful people in the world. I know I for one am a cynic and I go through the world assuming that everyone is terrible, judging people instantly and I never like anybody. I have a really hard time making friends with other people especially women because I’m very guarded but THIS is proof that that’s not true, that most people are beautiful and trying to help and have so much love that they’ll give their time to total strangers on their night off. I think that’s definitely the biggest thing from this.” Cheers to our lady for leading the discussion on May 10th. A very tough topic to tackle, but we did it together. Another hurrah to our reunion party which was held at @sallysmiddlename and hosted by @capitallydc.
Hatice Rosato | Sospeso
"I think that it was very surprising that all these women opened up and very quickly including myself. I was touched by all the stories and I felt like we were all connecting each other just by sharing our stories and realizing that we were all being affected by different things in similar ways. I want to be friends with everyone because we shared so much in whatever time period, some things I have never told anyone... even people that I have known for a long time. I ended up just spelling it out. I think it's something about this event, it was amazing... We talked about mothers and how we are affected by our mothers, and how we're mothers or not, the expectations from mothers, everything that women were about was there in so many different ways. I will remember a lot from that evening."
Leslie Hidalgo “So, first of all it was great to be here with my mom and share this experience. It was nice to not feel alone in my feelings and be around people who have the same fears, vulnerability and the same expectations about their lives. Even though we all come from different places, there is a common thread and we’re all just trying to get by and be our best. It was very comforting that we are trying our best. That’s what showed up today, the best version of every single one of us to love and show compassion for each other.”
"One of the most important things that were discussed tonight was acceptance for all the type of women we are, the backgrounds we come from our fears and strengths. It doesn't make us better or worse, but just stronger women in general. Coming together and sharing this experience and finding community and vulnerability as well, makes us so much stronger and competent. I think that's what is lacking in society nowadays. This has been such an empowering and beautiful experience."
"I really enjoyed this event and the space to be vulnerable with women, to get a chance to share our different experiences, to see where folks are coming from... to see that even when people experience different things that there are overlapping similarities that we do and as women, we experience together. It's been beautiful to see what I came across online and translate that to something physical to meet people in real life and to see how real people face real challenges which gets lost in social media. People shared really emotional experiences and it has been beautiful. I shared my own experiences and got the chance to support and listen to other women. It's been awesome and I've really loved it and I really appreciate the stars aligning and finding out about it. Being able to be here is a part of your journey in healing and growth and I think moments like this is important. I feel whole and better for having been here and meeting cool people in the process."
"One thing that's striking me as really powerful is this idea that our relationships with our mothers are really about seeing them as humans and expressing vulnerability in spaces outside of that relationship. How the intricacies and complexities of how we relate to our mom end up translating into the relationships we have with other women. How we see ourselves as compared to other women and how we navigate that space together. This is such a powerful place to find a way to hold space for each other that's loving and caring, a space to allow us to unpack and unfold those things."
"This evening we were talking about what it means to be a woman, and for me, today is really taking example after my mother and seeing that my idea of feminity and experiences have changed. I'm realizing I need to trust my instinct and myself and not listen to what other people are saying as much, and just not taking on the typical role of 'being a woman;' pleasing or being nice all the time. I'm going to go against that in order to be more true to myself and do the things that I love."
"I feel like this experience has been very eye-opening to me. This is the first event that I've been to of this nature that I wasn't helping to put on. It's the first time I've participated and not been responsible for opening bottles of wine and running around. I think it's so great to hear the stories that people are able to share. People feed off each other's energy, people are able to open up and get things off their chest they're not usually able to share and it also helps that we don't know each other all that well. It easier for us to get that all out. This has been beneficial for me to see how much it really helps and how much you can learn about different perspectives in a non-threatening way like having to hear "THIS IS MY OPINION" and instead it's a lot more calmer."
"I recognize myself as extroverted, outspoken, and loud, so I walked into my evening with Behold.HER mentally coaching myself not to monopolize the conversation. I was shaken to find myself utterly silent as the women around me shared their experiences with motherhood; good and bad. When I finally decided to speak, the event was drawing to a close, and tears preceded my words- I had spent the evening stuck in indecision and confusion in dealing with my own obstacles with my mother. The overwhelming outpour of support and advice I received from the women (who were complete strangers two hours prior) was unbelievable. It's crazy, but I could FEEL their truths; their earnest will to help another stranger who also [finally] bared their soul. As a woman who has lived in this culture that propagates negative behavior amongst women, I was met with the first platform that was open, honest, nonjudgmental and most importantly, threw negativity to the wayside. I left feeling inspired; not unburdened, but inspired and emboldened to be so. I am so thankful for every minute of that experience and for the women that made it all possible."
"I think what I found so interesting about tonight is the human experience of being a woman. We don't even recognize our shared experiences. Everyone comes from these different backgrounds and I'm just nodding my head yes and relating to every single thing every woman here is saying. It's comforting. I think about this a lot: women are amazing people with super powers, honestly, the number of things we do and internalize and what we worry about and care for, all while taking ourselves and others. It's an amazing thing and it's just been really powerful to be here."
"I think that the conversation that everyone has been having tonight... we're super emotional women over our relationships with our mothers and we're coming to realize that a lot of the issues we have in terms of relating to other women, really stem with the relationships that we have with our mothers... just the imperfectness of these relationships. Maybe we were expecting too much or maybe we didn't get enough... but it's great to have this type of setting and space to be able to share these stories with each other."
Tracy Leaman | Events With A T
"I'm going to try and think about myself as ... just a mom. All these women were sharing the experiences about their moms impacting their lives. As a mom who really, really struggles every single day to be a good mom, I feel like I'm failing every single day. I want to take away what everyone was saying, that they still love their moms and how they are important to them, regardless of the other moments that were said otherwise. I'm need to remind myself that I'm impacting my children's lives positively despite how I might feel about myself as a mother."
Gigi McMillian | Kamisol Consulting
"The importance of self-love to me is owning who you are. I'm a true believer in putting your own gas mask on first and if we do that we can truly understand and appreciate and genuinely give love and support to other people, other women, our families, our children...it took me a little time to understand that. I think at this point that one thing that makes me understand the appreciation of self-love and self-care is working my business and understanding how important that is to me, that when I do this, I'm able to give you and anyone else what I can because I'm being fulfilled first."
Shayna McCready | Ladies Get Paid DC
"You should take care of yourself... and that's something you should do and I don't do it. I don't know how to do it and I think that's why I'm attracted to Behold.Her... it's why I'm so inspired by women because we teach other how to do these things and we don't realize that we're doing it. Learning how to be quiet, pay attention, and absorb, that's how I'm going to start taking care of myself."
"One of the most important lessons that I learned about loving myself, which was also talking about in the discussion tonight, is loving yourself enough to trust yourself and put yourself first. That way you can be a better person for others and you. I think so many times we're under the impression that it means giving all of ourselves to people. It should be taking care of myself, taking time to do things that are important to me, and developing myself so I can be a better mother and person for my family. "
Isabel Harris |Videographer
"Prior to becoming a mom, I had this idea that once I had children, starting or creating something of my own would be impossible, or at least put indefinitely on hold. Ironically, however, growing and shaping two tiny humans has been one of the most creative experiences of my life, and even further, it has inspired me to unleash my own creativity and launch it into filmmaking. Listening to each of the women here, they all have something that motivates them, whether it be leaving a job, leading a life, or some other desire deep within them. I have a lot of feelings about being a young mom, what it adds to my life, and what it takes away, what I do right, and what I do wrong, but being here tonight helped me see that being a mom is what motivates me. It motivates me to be kinder, and truer, and sillier. It motivates me to love more intensely and live more intentionally. What I thought was going to be a stop sign in my life was actually super-highway towards knowing me and being me, and loving them."
"There's so much to reflect on from this conversation. What's standing out to me now is the diversity of the experience but the commonality is between everyone that is being exemplified in this group. You recognize that despite the different experiences that people are coming from that everyone is bringing so much of the same. Women and mental illness...that has been really resonating. People experience that in different ways with their moms, sisters, and daughters. I think that people don't have the space to talk about this. [In order to protect another participant's privacy I excluded a portion of Brooke's quote and revised] [Someone shared something very private to their life], but she had the space to have the discussion to admit discomfort. Discomfort is the axis point of empathy and compassion. To be here and not be judged has been incredible."
Thank you to all the women who provided a service for this event! It wouldn't have happened without you. Big hugs to Isabel Harris for creating the short video above. It gives you an inside scoop as to what's really going on at the events. Can't say enough how happy these gatherings make me!