Womanhood

tired

I painted this picture today that made me feel completely overwhelmed. It brings up all these emotions around sexuality, and passion, and this energy and power I am supposed to have as a woman. Standing in these energy spaces do not make me feel strong and empowered, they make me feel overwhelmed and exhausted.

Suddenly I felt that flash of passion rise in me, it was frustration and resentment.

I sit in these women’s circles and allow myself to wear certain social labels such as feminist, and the energy behind all of it is a celebration of womanhood. That is just not my experience though, not completely at least. There is an “AND” there.

I am proud to be a woman AND I believe women are powerful AND I feel overwhelmed by my experiences as a woman.

My truth is that womanhood is not something that I stepped into, there was no sacred, beautiful right-of-passage. For me it felt like womanhood/becoming a woman was something that happened to me.

Before I even had the opportunity to process the fact that my body was changing the boys around me were taking notice. I never got to experience these changes and try to understand my new self before I was being grabbed at and taken from verbally, physically, and energetically.

I think of the idea behind the Red Tent, it was a place of sanctuary where women could take counsel with one another and celebrate their magic and be free from the shackles of womanhood placed upon them by society during their sacred cycle.

I grieve for the time I was not given. I grieve for the space that was never there. I grieve for all the parts of myself who have never gotten to call my body home. I feel like a child that has been trying to play catch up in a land of women.

I am tired of running, I am tired of having no where to call home. I am tired of being tired. I am just so breathlessly exhausted.

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Me Too.

shame

My self-care is at an all time high. My boundaries with family are healthy, I am doing work that feels meaningful, I am making strides in my own personal work, my husband and I have plans for travel not to mention our relationship grows deeper and truer all the time, I am involved in multiple women’s circles right now that bring so much healing connection into my life AND I have enough freedom right now to actually breathe this abundance in and truly sit with my gratitude.

I was sitting in my gratitude for all of these outlets this morning while talking to a friend. It is not that my life is perfect, I am absolutely sitting in some struggles as well; the beauty is that right now my support out weighs the struggle making the struggle feel so much more manageable.

This morning one of the women from one of my healing circles texted us (the women in the group) and shared a struggle she is currently having.

Here is the thing I love about being part of these groups that allow us to take off the mask and be seen in our darkness, our light, and all the gray that makes us who we are; we find that the thing that makes us feel the most shame, and the greatest disconnection is actually where the true connection lies.

She shared her story via group text and shared how shameful she felt. She was waiting for our judgement, judgement that did not come. What came was the most healing sentence a person in pain can hear: Me too.

My boyfriend gave me an STD; Me too.
I was emotionally abused and aware of it and did nothing for years; Me too.
I took him back; Me too.
I am weak; Me too.
I am humiliated; Me too.
I just want to hide; Me too.

I know your pain. Your pain is my pain. What if the thing that makes us feel the most unlovable is actually the very thing that will invite our greatest love in.

Here is one of my shame stories to help anyone struggling to stand in their truth:

I once left a partner after years of emotional abuse. I self-medicated for months, red wine and Benadryl every night, then I numbed in other ways- tanning beds, exercising, shopping, hair appointments. I knew it wasn’t over, somehow I knew there was something left there. I was right. Less than a year later he reached out and we started back up. Two months later I went for my annual and was told I had an STD. When I confronted him about it he admitted what I already knew. That was it. That was the last straw.

Lying, control, making me feel less than. I was so small then that I thought I deserved this. I drew a line at my physical health though. I finally told someone what was happening, the truth was I needed someone to hold me accountable. I was lost. For years and years I was lost. I had no idea who I was.

It took years for me to process the experiences of that time of my life. Emotional/mental abuse is hard to heal because of the confusion it causes. It took a really long time for me to be able to find my truth in our story. I was blamed for everything. I was lied to and then called a liar, I was betrayed and called the betrayer.

As women when we come together and share these stories we are opening a door for other women to then feel safe to walk through. If I had been honest sooner about what was happening and someone had said Me too and shared their story maybe my story would be different.

I see now the importance of this darkness though because I am sit next to women in a circle who bring their darkness and in places where they feel most alone I am able to show up and say Me too. That is powerful. Yes I have experienced darkness, yes I have brought darkness to others. This is all true AND I am grateful for it every time I can sit with a woman in pain and say Me too.