Receiving a message about my writing, reviewing the website, reading about the creator—my excitement and nerves were so intertwined. I was being invited to submit a piece for publication, and I was over the moon.
Or so I thought.
I wanted to write; I want to write, but for a website dedicated to females only? I’m female, so this should have been pretty simple, right? I mean, how hard can it be when you’re a female, and the publication is for females? This should have been easier than I was making it seem.
But in my case, it was not easy at all.
For a long time, I could only pen two experiences that I felt females could relate to easily—divorce and children. Not to mention that when I penned both pieces, I sent them to my closest males to “inform” them that I’d be submitting my writing to a women empowered publication. I convinced myself I was trying to prevent them from feeling left out. But maybe, just maybe, I was subconsciously requesting permission to do what I was about to do.
And this made me feel guilty.
Was I ashamed of being female? Was I trying to hide my femininity?
No way. I was past the tomboy stage of years gone by, past the need to prove that I was just as strong or tough as the males around me. I was overthinking this. I composed the two experiences and carried on with my life.
But it bugged me.
For some time after, I continued writing—just not for this publication. It took me months to reflect, ponder, and debate my thoughts and feelings.
Why was I struggling with this?
I’m more feminine than before. I wear dresses and skirts (after a lot of effort and reminders that I even own these), I wear nail polish, jewelry. Once in a blue moon, I even shed a tear or two (okay, this one is a push). See, feminine, right?
But still, the real question was unanswered: Where did this all come from?
This required even further reflection and a recollection of memories that were wholesome and cherished and also a little sad.
In all fairness, at some stage growing up, it was simpler to become “one of the boys.” I didn’t have to deal with being teased by girls about being too skinny, short, dark-skinned, or a teacher’s pet.
All this teasing happened until one day, I decided enough was enough. I leaned into the masculine side of my being and was hauled to the principal’s office for defending myself physically as opposed to verbally.
End of story.
Boys at the time seemed to just care about how hard you could punch and how well you could kick or throw a ball. Simple. I could do both, so I was far more accepted being “one of the boys” than “one of the girls.”
The tribe had spoken. The tomboy journey had started and served me well for many years.
By the time I had made female friends who showed me that not all girls were mean, I was already far down the rabbit hole. Being feminine had no place in my identity. I didn’t even know what it meant and associated it solely with the physical aspects of being a female.
Something in me woke up and made me wonder if I’ve gotten it all wrong. I’d certainly been brainwashed into thinking feminine is all about the outside.
I can finally admit it.
I was ashamed of being feminine because I felt it was a weakness.
While being nurturing, expressive, sensitive, and warm are all characteristics I admire and understand the importance of, they belong to others. Not just others, but other females. I’ve experienced the necessity of these in the world, enjoyed the benefits, and yet cannot fully embrace these within myself.
The thought that masculine and feminine were descriptions that had little to do with being male and female was foreign to me.
Female is feminine, male is masculine.
Wrong again. For all genders, it really depends on what we allow ourselves to lean into. At times, it also depends on what the situation or event requires from us.
It’s a scary thought. Having to try to embrace something that was shut down years ago.
It’s easier not sharing, easier not being vulnerable, and easier not being sensitive. It saves me and the person I’m not showing that awkward moment of knowing what to do or say. Writing about it means that someone else will read about me and not know how to react.
Because they rarely see this “side.”
But that’s just it, isn’t it? It’s not a “side.” It’s not divided by a line that I cross when required. It’s a part of me, a part of you, and even when deeply buried, it’s still there; hiding; waiting for the right time to show itself; waiting for when it’s safe.
What I wasn’t comprehending was that the safe feeling will never come from the external world. It will come from me once I fully embrace the masculine, the feminine, the light, and the shadow. All of who I am.