Standing there, in the changing room of a tired gym, where we've been exchanging looks, sweat fumes and oxygen for the last few Tuesday morning hours, I can’t help but to ask myself where mine and these women’s differences meet.

We stand there naked, in our post treadmill glow and flip-flops. Without outfits or jewellery, no titles or make-up. Just us, and nothing but our birthmarks, hair and tattoos.

I stand there, with women I’ve never met before, with parts of myself showing, that I rarely show even to myself. But standing there, naked, in some way makes me feel more comfortable than when I’m dressed. As if the language clothes and make-up speak somehow makes me more vulnerable. It seems authenticity is more powerful than defence. 

Standing there, I feel how infinitely different and similar these women and I are. We carry our stories in and on our bodies. We carry them to tell others who we are. But it’s not as easy when we’re naked. Then we’re only half-identifiable, which might actually be the whole truth. The rest is just fun add-ons.

One woman there can barely walk, and seems the happiest one there. Another stands out from the crowd, having worked out and showered with full make-up one, as if we then wouldn’t be able to see her sadness. One is pregnant, and nothing seems to touch her. Because she is carrying a world inside, and she knows how that little world is more important than anything in this world.

We carry our family’s history, too. We carry history, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change it. Our source ingredient is the same, and through history and through our lives we’ve come out different flavours. There’s one for everyone.

And as I stand there, I feel that in those differences and similarities lies the beauty of these women. We are beautiful because we are, whatever that is. Our natural state is beauty, and when we embody that state, we can’t be anything but radiantly beautiful. Our beauty shines through when we are proud of our stories, and stand tall in the knowledge that we can choose to keep telling them, or to rewrite them.

Photo from WeHeartIt