Why Be A Woman?
When I became a woman, my life was filled with confusion. I saw no female role models that were living life authentically and truthfully. Instead, I was surrounded with women who were living their lives according to the whims of men and society. All I saw in the teenage magazines and on television were fake, fake, fake women with perfectly fake bodies and perfectly fake personalities crafted perfectly according to the whims of men and society. When I first developed breasts I drew the attention of men both young and old, which I was wholly unprepared for and I would say ‘totally creeped out by.’
On the other hand, I thought any attention from men was good, even the creepy stuff. I mean isn’t that what those women in the magazines and on the television are doing? Crafting perfectly fake bodies and perfectly fake lives to perfectly fit the mould of the ‘perfect woman’ so that men both young and old, creepy and non-creepy (mostly creepy) can creep on them? And that is what is supposed to make a young woman feel whole and complete? Confusing alright. The perfect woman of celebrity status who is displayed out in the open to be visually groped, judged and contorted by society. They are doomed always to inevitably fail whether through death (Marilyn Monroe) or drug overdose (Judy Garland), the wearing off of the novelty of the ‘hot new thing’ or perhaps the most dramatic one - getting older and so by virtue of time literally no longer fitting into the role of the virginal maiden.
When I was at school all the cool-girls used to sit in a gossiping circle next to the ‘hot’ rugby players who would play games on the school field. So from as young as I can remember men just did what they wanted but the ‘cool-girls’ would be circling, nearby and close to the groups of men, the intoxicating masculinity as though they wanted to get ‘drunk’ off their coolness. Like vultures, like groupies, like followers. Women were destined never to create their own ‘cool’ instead they were the eternal tag-a-longs. One where masculinity always ruled, was always cooler and didn’t need the feminine to survive. Whereas the feminine needed the masculine to survive.
Always needy, always wanting, always in search of loving that can only be found inside one’s self but instead is sought for constantly in the arms of the masculine man. The masculine man who ironically, is incapable of truly loving the way in which the feminine so desperately needs until the connection between the disowned, hidden feminine counterpart is dredged up from the depths. The skeleton in the closet that is brought into the light to bring the warmth, compassion and nurturing that the feminine woman so desperately desires in the masculine man of which she lays with.
My first bleed was filled with shame. Shame I was no longer the ‘cute’ ‘little’ girl that everyone in society had adored up until then. Being the polite, cute and sweet girl-child is easy but now I was venturing into the unexplored realms of womanhood. It was a time to be dreaded and avoided. As my breasts grew bigger and bigger I started to wear more and more crop tops to hide them and literally ‘strap them down.’ Every time I saw the menstrual blood on my panties my heart was filled with shame.
Women around me lamented the ‘curse of being a woman.’ Why do we have to bleed? Why do we have to have children? Why do we have to take on the burdens of our households and society? Eventually one would utter “in my next life I will be coming back as a man.” All the women around them would nod their heads in agreement that being a man would be much easier in this fragmented and incomplete society. So I internalised and learnt to hate my bleeding. Hate my breasts. Hate womanhood. Hate me. Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate is the one word that categorises my transition from a girl into a woman.
While I write this though, I am not filled with hate or sadness. I feel compassion for the young woman who felt like this and I take her into my arms and I hold her. When she straps down her breasts I give her a loving hug. When she laments her own bleeding I give her a loving hug. My compassionate love floods into her body and mine. We are whole again. There is no hate only self-love. Bleeding is a wonderful celebration of the gifts of womanhood of the connection with the other side. Femininity is the sacred connection between women and Mother Goddess, Mother Nature and all the other mothers that have ever existed in this universe. A sacred bond built on love, compassion and nurturing. Ironically love, love, love, love, love is all that truly exists in the world of the feminine and with this love I can truly accept and be myself.