yay women!!

it’s international women’s day!

i’ve been thinking of all the amazing women i know – in my family, the women of ruckus, the women i work with around the country, the women i admire around the world. this is a time when our leadership is emerging – not just in the physical form of women in leadership, but in the psycho-spiritual form of feminine management styles and collaborative styles of leadership.

its a good moment.

i’ve been contemplating lately what makes me the woman i am. i think of the particular kinds of struggles and attacks i have faced, none of which i would give up in retrospect. i think of the stories i was told of how women should be, what women should want, how women should love. i remember moments of questioning – if i wasn’t those things, how good of a woman was i, or what was i? if i didn’t want to get married, or have a baby, or always shave all the hair off my body, or read articles on how to please a man, or want bundles of dead flowers, or paint a face on each day, or wear heels or wear pantyhose…did i still represent all the powerful wonderful sensual ways of women?

i have been told i am “womanly” because of my size. i am wrestling now with that size, with my body image, dealing with injuries that come from carrying too much weight on my bones. womanly was the term that was supposed to help me love and accept my body as is. the intentions were good, although i have never seen a woman’s body that wasn’t womanly, whether slender or thick or round or tall or long. i have also heard very few things that were meant to make me feel great about my body that actually made me suddenly love it. my body isn’t how it is because of love…it’s how it is because of fear. fear from my experiences as a woman, fear i have to resolve and address and let go.

although, a note to myself…i have said that fear is born out of love. to apply this to myself, i can say that underneath the layers of weight that i have on as a protection, there’s fierce love for myself. that is the piece of work i am engaged in now, finding other ways to express that love than building up a physical fortress of my body, where i’d rather have a temple for my amazing self. and in there, i want to live beyond the fear, to love myself.

i can also say that even now, knowing the sources of my present physical manifestation, i have moments of great love or my body, for it’s strength, for it’s softness. i just don’t want to feel trapped in a cheerful false identity, an unhealthy idea of “womanly”, even if it makes other people comfortable, and even if it’s politically correct to put on a face of solidarity with my fatness.

and in the process of all this processing with my body, i am reminded that the ways in which i am woman are not purely physical, its not purely the ability to mother, its not simply a nurturing thing…there’s still so much of it that is more powerful than i grasp, and that is a mystery to me. there is still so much i am growing into. the women i know are all so complex, presenting the limitlessness of what woman contains, presenting their confidence and fear and insecurity and most of all love. i am honored to know them, to be of them.

happy international women’s day!