I am female, and if you ask me what that means, I struggle to answer — to disentangle that feminine thread from the mass of yarn that is me, is a challenge, a task I’m not sure I can accomplish.
So rather than unraveling the ball, untying knots, and disturbing the wonderfully complex snarl of string that is me, I will turn the whole of it in my hands, examine the strands, where they fray and where they weave, where they get lost in the over and under of it all — I will tell you what I see. Perhaps in this describing, you may find what you seek to understand.
I am richly and deeply woman. I look in the mirror, and see fullness, softness, sensuality. I revel in the female habits, lotions, make-up, hair, jewelry and clothes. I love the decadence of ribbons and lace, pretty underthings, soft stockings and laced corsets, luxurious fabrics, perfumes and polish. I drink in poetry, literature, words and phrases about love and living passionately. I am that romantic girly-girl.
I wonder sometimes, when I walk into a public space, whether others can see the raw feminine sexuality that I feel in my bones; I think sometimes it paints my skin; I smell it as the wind tousles my hair. Can others look into my eyes, and read the thoughts that color my whole being with the joy of passion, of living, and loving more? I am female, strong and fragile, tough and weak, fierce in my passions and in my defense of those I love. I am a nurturer, a teacher, a sister and friend.
I am courageously vulnerable, daring to risk, choosing pain over numbness, in the hope of ecstasy. My heart and mind are drawn to those who allow my femininity to shine, while not being intimidated by my depth, my intelligence or my dominance. I am both self contained, and messy, spilling out passion and poetry on anyone who gets close enough to be splashed. I am confident, and sexy, and at the same time shy and unsure.
My female heart is drawn to strength in men, to confidence, and power, to a sharp wit, a rich intelligence, and a passion that complements mine. Yin to yang — rich, earthy maleness to dark, raw femaleness — I soften against that strength, like I cannot when I stand alone. I find in those places — the crook of his arm, the gruff tenderness of his voice, the wonder in his eyes — a gentle little girl, who can melt into him and find it safe to be imperfect, weak, emotional and a dreamer.
My female heart is drawn to the sacred female in other women. I am maiden, mother, sister and crone. I am rich in this femininity, and my heart longs to connect to that feminine in another. I yearn to share sisterhood, and to revel with another very female lover in everything that makes us woman. I crave that softness and warmth that can only come from a feminine touch. I believe the sacred female has an inner light and power that belies the physical strength of a man. It goes deeper, runs in her veins, a holy strength, an incantation and a prayer. My inner female longs to find that beauty and power in another, to trust it, surrender to it, and mirror it back.
I am hesitant, shy in that longing, as I have trusted my feminine vulnerability to another woman, and been hurt far more deeply than any man could reach. I have healed, and found my strength from that wounding. I have come away stronger, more beautiful for the scars. But while I can confidently gaze into the eyes of a strong, attractive man, and know that I have power to win his heart, to seduce his mind, I lack that sureness when it comes to connecting with a woman I find lovely, in spirit and body — I have been, again and again overcome and silenced by the beauty, the poetry, and the magic I find in her. But, I play it safe.
I am womanly in my reasoning, in my art, in the way I set my soul on fire every day to cast a light that leads others to freedom, to love, to living fully. I pour my femaleness into words and poems, into paint and ink, I shout my femininity from the rooftops, from the open windows of my car, from the air as I fly, soaring on the wind, my own music pounding in my ears, shaking the trees and clouds as they witness and sing along. I want others to see me, my freedom, and find themselves, see the beauty and the reward of living fully vulnerable and courageous. As a girl-child, I was taught to hold back, to demure, to dampen my enthusiasm, and to reign in my passion. As an adult, I refuse. I am determined to live fully in this richness that is every womanly part of who I am.
I hope those who see me doing so, are inspired to tear down their walls, to risk and live, to love and make and be with burning passion. This is my gift to the world, and to myself. I will burn in my femaleness, to light the path for anyone who might follow my faltering but enthusiastic footsteps. It may be tangled and overgrown, this path, there may well be an easier way. But I refuse to miss this rugged beauty, the scraped knees and bruised hands, the falls and the getting back up to press forward and celebrate. This is my womanhood. This is me.
On second thought maybe I am unraveling that spool, just to mark the path, in case you wish to follow, to catch up, and walk beside me through these woods.