I went to the beach today as many things have happened in the last few days that have brought up many different types of feelings in me: from anger, to fear, to sadness, to wonder, to joy, to relief. This is a relatively new experience: consciously choosing to connect with my feelings, even the yucky ones. The sea seems to allow me better access to these feelings as well as some ponderings.
I sat on a large rock and was feeling some sadness about some things that happened to me as a child as a result of my mother’s anger and frustration at life. Thinking about her, myself and most of the women I come into contact with or observe I see how much we are holding on, how much we do not want to be or appear vulnerable in any way. The reasons for this are very old, of course. Thousands of years where we were treated as a second class citizens with no voice and not even the right to our own bodies. The amount of emotional injuries this has created in use through generations of women, what is passed onto us, and what we experience ourselves is massive. But the truth is we need to feel it. The wounds around gender for men and women are many and deep: there is alot of repentance, anger and fear as well as huge amounts of grief for us to release. In fact, I believe if we could tackle the gender wounds the world would change beyond recognition.
For me, I have felt and continue to feel many things about gender. How I feel about women is affected by my relationship with my mother and how she feels about women and how my father feels about women. How I feel about men is affected by my father, and how my mother feels about men. As a daughter I have felt my mother’s rage and I can feel how many women, including myself, have had a simmering rage in them about injustice, low self esteem, the way we are treated, not feeling heard or seen, or being treated as a sexual toy. But the irony is, in our injured state we seemed to have shut down much of feminine nature, part of which is to have good access to our emotions. So I am not talking about the desire to buy hundred of pairs of shoes, or straighten our hair. For me much of this is actually facade and/or avoidance of our true feelings.
So how have we dealt with our anger?
We have pretended we are not that angry. Instead we have learned to manipulate and control, using sex or other means. We “manage” the household so well, giving instructions left, right and center. Somewhere inside we feel if we control everything we will be safe and no one can hurt us. We become addicted to controlling our environment to feel safe and protected. If someone interferes, be it husband, child or another we feel threatened. It is then we may express our anger or just squash it down, bite our teeth and quietly project our anger out to whoever is in the way. We won’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
We fight back, become more like men ( or how we think men are) : tough, unemotional, free with our drinking and sexual behaviour. We convince ourselves we are equal, even when if we look deep inside, the messages from our environment are still permeating our soul: you are not so capable, you are not as strong, you are not as intelligent, your emotions are a weakness, you need to have sex with me to please me, to keep me; it is my right. We are afraid to be vulnerable.
We end up using our body and sex to manipulate and get what we want and then we deny the damage this has done to us. We are afraid to feel how casual sexual encounters or even dealing with sexual projections makes us feel. We don’t want to acknowledge our regrets or the affect on our self worth. We think if we act like men sexually, we are equal. But still for many in this world, we are not. But even men, are damaged by the false beliefs they are taught about sex. So it goes on, we do what we like, we deny how it made us feel, we don’t deal with what we really feel might be true. We are afraid to be vulnerable.
The irony is, in our efforts, to be “equal”, we become just like the injured men we dislike. We lose touch with our true feminine nature and the beauty of its expression. The irony is, the world needs this feminine nature to exist. It exists in God’s creation and it exists in us, and in men. The world needs our softness, our gentleness, our nuturing feelings, our feminine strength. The world and we need to allow all the gifts God gave us. So let’s admit we are afraid: of being hurt, humilated, and oppressed. Afraid that maybe what we have been told about being second class may be true: good for the kitchen, good for the bedroom and maybe not alot else. Of course, this is not true. In God’s eyes we are all her children: all equal, all equally loved and valued. It is our false beliefs, our wounded selves that created the untruths. To heal the wounded self, we need to be truthful about what we really feel, allow ourselves to feel it so that it can leave our soul and if you choose, pray for God’s help and love.
I have been the holder- on, the control freak, the silent angry, terrified woman projecting everywhere. I have been sexual injured many times in many ways and certainly not known how to love myself in this space. I walked in shame, blame and blamed. I have been tough, a survivor, a warrior, a fighter. What I haven’t been until now ( and it comes slowly) is myself, a woman loving and celebrating her vulnerability. What I haven’t been is powerfully gentle and soft. What I haven’t been is self- honouring and true to myself, not matter what pressure from outside forces. What I haven’t been is sexually free to say NO. Until now…. and now I am enjoying feeling the small shifst; I am enjoying finding out the truth of my anger, fear and grief; I am enjoying my beginnings of my recovery and discovery.
Even though this was written for and about women mostly, I know there is a similar journey for men. What a wonderful world it would be if we all did this: allowed ourselves to be vulnerable, to be open, to be truthful and to sit with each other as human beings, as children of God: accepting and accepted, loved and loving.
What a wonderful world it would be…