Friday, October 14, 2011

pondering woman-ness -- pro-sisterhood but never embracing my own

I confess...I often wish I felt more deeply in tune with being a woman.  I'd love to be more of an Earth Goddess.  Not in the sense of growing out my leg hair (fine if you like it but I was beyond thrilled when I could finally shave after surgery) or wearing hippie-style skirts, but just more in touch with womanhood.  I'm all for the "sisterhood" causes...I've written about letting women choose and believe in supporting women globally as they fight to be heard.  But, I've just never FELT overly woman-like.

I'm not a girly-girl.  I do love my pedicures and can obsess over my hair, but lack any interest in handbags, expensive shoes, make-up stores the size of stadiums, and purse-dogs.  But I'm cool with all that.  Despite what commercials seem to suggest, I don't think these traits define female-ness.  What I want, what I wish I had, is more primal.  It is a feeling of being in your physical self and appreciating the power of the female body.

I was never aching to start my period.  It felt like a burden and I was mortified when my mom quickly called all our relatives to share the event.  I didn't really even await the boob-fairy, although I've since often been annoyed she passed me over (seriously, dresses gape with space for assets I do not have and halter tops look boring with nothing to halter).  Of course, the endometriosis battle complicates this as well.  It is hard to love a body that turns on you of its own accord.

To be clear, I am very much a woman...this is NOT some sort of big announcement.  I'm a straight woman, in a woman's body (and can't imagine the terror of feeling wrongly-assigned).  I don't feel any envy for guys and carrying around all that extra stuff in your jeans seems like a nuisance.  But, while I'll make pro-woman statements, I've just never felt the power in womanhood that some others seem to feel.  I'm jealous of that.  I'm jealous of women who can embrace the natural shifts in our hormones (some DO still happen, per my doc, despite me being on continuous hormonal birth control for the endo).  I'm especially envious of women who can appreciate the female form.  I can tell other women that our thighs are meant to be and that our bodies are programmed to carry extra fat because nature values us and our ability to nurture new lives.  But I can't look at my own body with that framework as a dominant force.

I'm 33 so I'm not new to the whole womanhood game.  And I think the women I have known who truly fit my model of "embracing the goddess" were that way even in their twenties.  Heck, I met a young woman once who was sixteen and swore she could pinpoint when she ovulated and really enjoyed pampering herself when her cycle told her she should.  I know some women come to their womanhood after child-bearing, but I also think there are plenty of women who choose not to have kids and still feel something I'm missing.

I do think being in a strong relationship has helped a bit....MM is very positive towards me in all ways when it comes to my body and having grown up with four older sisters means he is pretty understanding of the complexities of women.  I also think it helps when I've been able to be active and seen my body show muscle while never being at all masculine (again, ladies, weights will NOT make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger).  I do believe every woman has a unique physique...we eventually need to admit what ours is...and that's where I feel I'm at my best body.  Not being there, even if it does oddly mean being a bit softer which some call more feminine, doesn't help.  But, even when I knew I was at my "right" place, I just never felt the deep connection that I've seen in other women.

I've been pondering this one for a few days and this is definitely more of a "on my mind" post than a post with a clear point or a solution.  Just what I'm pondering this week. 


Lee said...

I struggle with this too. I'm kind of hippy (different than hippie) and Jason always has to tell me that I have hips because I'm a woman and women are supposed to have hips, but I honestly don't like them.

I didn't want to wear a bra or get my period when they came. Really, I don't now either!

The Rambling Blogger said...

i bet you (like me) would totally tell another woman that her hips are natural but it is hard to process that for your own self.

hips are a perfect example (even if not one i really have myself). i feel like i SHOULD be cool enough to embrace such things in myself...heck, without hips the species would be in trouble since c-sections probably shouldn't be the only way to get a little one out...i can totally talk the theory, but can't embrace it all myself