International Women’s Day 2020

The theme of my little writing space on the internet, is generally that there is no theme. However, when I gave myself permission to write about everything, I suddenly found that I couldn’t write anything.

Its been a strange 2020 so far. Over the weird week between Christmas and New Year my grandpa unfortunately passed away, expectedly, but unexpectedly, he reached the tremendous age of 98. It meant however, that January was kind of lost in a month of night shifts and grieving.

February just seemed so grey- constant storms and wet weather, I tried my best to get out and about, but everything just seemed like so much effort. I don’t believe I’ve ever had Seasonal Affective Disorder before, but I do wonder if various circumstances have meant that this year it has tapped me on the shoulder slightly. Now we are in March and it seems as though this year is going to be the fastest yet, even with the extra day. I am resolved to shaking off this sad feeling though and to make the most of this year, but, feeling a little meh, I haven’t been sure where to start.

A very boggy February walk on Dartmoor

Now, I love my husband very much, but when he was away this past week, I decided to take this opportunity to enjoy some me time and get back on track. The first couple of days I decided I wanted to go on a retreat, except I couldn’t find one at that short notice that met my dates, budget or needs, so I decided to do a self retreat at home and it was amazing. I took time for myself, I meditated and I journaled and I tried to figure out why I was feeling so meh and uninspired. I came to the realisation that I spend a lot of time doing what I think I am supposed to do, rather than what I want to do. I also discovered that I wait for other people to give me permission, and rely on others to achieve my goals, and if I don’t get help or approval, then that goal doesn’t get met. It’s true of everything I do, including all my previous failed blogs.

What does any of this have to do with International Women’s Day though? Well, I won’t pretend that my little home retreat has resulted in me becoming my best self, but it has made me think over the past week about what goals are important to me, and how I can achieve them by myself. It also meant that I was a little bit more open to listening to the universe, so when I saw an advert for a women’s film festival happening this weekend at my local arts centre called Feminista, I bought a ticket straight away.

Two things that come up in my retreat time and time again, were how much I love adventures and getting outdoors, and also how much I love being creative, but also how little time I actually spend doing those things. Many of the short films in the festival centred on adventures, determination and women just not giving a hoot about other peoples opinions and doing what was best for them. My favourite film was called My Big White Thighs and Me, about a larger lady who found herself again through wild swimming.

Wild Swimming on Dartmoor

I’ve only been wild swimming twice, once with a friend on Dartmoor and again in a geothermal pool in Iceland when we went last year, and whilst I am not about to turn this writing space into the amazing benefits of wild swimming, (they can be found here, here and here), I was however inspired by her story of getting back to nature.

I decided to look for more films that celebrated this and come across Women in Adventure Films. Films made by women, featuring women, that are about women having adventures. Turns out that there is a huge social movement and community all about this, films on YouTube, groups on Facebook- an interest that I thought made me different in a bad way, was actually a thing with amazing, confident women. Confidence though, is something I have always been lacking in, so seeing these incredible ladies getting out there, along side all the positive IWD messages today has got me hyped up. I want to set myself a challenge, I want to get out there, I want to say yes more and give less f**ks.

Climbing Roborough Rock, Dartmoor

So, what challenge am I going to set myself? Currently I can’t think of one specific thing, just simply to say yes to adventure, and to push myself out of my comfort zone, and then to write about it. To spend more time reading and learning about people who can inspire me, rather than sit on the sofa complaining that I don’t relate to any other human being in the world because I binge watch American TV shows.

This International Woman’s Day, I challenge you to find your next goal. I know finding time amongst family commitments, work, chores etc etc makes it hard, but if you can, try and find a couple of hours for yourself to think about what makes you happy. It doesn’t have to be big, you don’t have to change the world, you just have to find one thing that inspires you, and then think about how you can fit that into your every day life so that it continues to make you smile.

City Of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert