right now, as a woman

am i right in stating that it has been pretty darn heart wrenching to be a woman lately? is anyone else feeling that?

i will try to refrain from pretentiously stating what “conversations we should be having” as a culture. i don’t see how anyone can claim to have that kind of omnipotent power or insight. but i do have some thoughts to put out there should anyone choose to digest them. and i have a right to put them out there in hopes that it will be of aid in the flow and evolution of your own thoughts.

everything from the enslavement of school girls in nigeria, the killings at UCSB and following public debates, the death of maya angelou down to the dynamics of my own home have my heart aching over the state of affairs womanhood is experiencing right now. it’s all over the map out there, friends, and my head and my heart can’t turn away from it at the present time.

the events of last week have me thinking a lot about entitlement issues. it really has me thinking about how those are playing out and working in my own life. see, i try to make some good out of these events by bringing them into my own focus and changing what i can, and that is only EVER me. i can only change me. i can confront my own entitlement issues in hopes that it may domino to the world around me. i can acknowledge that we are all dealing with entitlement in our lives, especially in this country. what my mind keeps coming back to with all of this is that this world, this life, this universe, this existence owes us nothing. not a damn thing. it takes us out the same way it brings us in. any and everything that happens in between is a blessing. i’m not guaranteed someone to love me. i’m not guaranteed a roof over my head. i’m not guaranteed a fair wage. i’m not guaranteed that my dreams will come true. i’m not guaranteed good health. i’m not even guaranteed tomorrow morning. everything in my life deserves my full gratitude and i’ve been neglectful of that in so many ways. i am not entitled for anyone, anywhere to act in a certain way towards me. i’m certainly never entitled to another person’s body. i’m even less entitled to my own body than i previously thought {thanks cosmos and my expanding knowledge of the human body biome}.  my hope is that more humans will start to see that if you have someone to love you, someone to lay with you, someone to mother you, someone to shake your hand or bag your groceries or put in stitches when you arrive at the emergency room etc. and on, that is a gift from the universe and not something we are entitled to just by showing up on this earth.

also, from my perspective, i acknowledge that i’ve experienced and witnessed male entitlement over the bodies of women and yes, i do believe those are at work in our culture in a big way.

i have had men touch my body and feel entitled to that. i have had all kinds of vile comments made about my body, as most women have. i’ve felt unsafe out at night. i’ve had a man reach around and yank on my hair out at a bar when i declined to dance with him. i’ve deflected forward advances from a married man and then had to read his status this week pertaining to the shooting that said the equivalent of “just ignore it when it happens and it will stop.”  and i had to know in my heart that it is because we ignore it that it doesn’t stop.

i acknowledge the statistical facts and information that some males feel so entitled to women’s bodies so much that they regularly and routinely result to force and violence. i am not going to argue facts. i acknowledge it and i hope that we will move towards a world that acknowledges it, too.

this week i had a man look at my body, my beautiful body growing another human, and say “god, i’m glad i’m not a woman.”  what am i supposed to say to that?  what i want to say to that in this space is BEING A WOMAN IS NOT AN AFFLICTION. maybe we’re in this mess because too few men AND women understand that.

or…

maybe we’re in this mess because men know what an asset women are. in fact, maybe women are the greatest resource this planet has ever evolved and men know it. maybe that is why some of them are willing to take us by force if necessary. maybe they know just how valuable we really are.

i don’t know. i don’t have answers, i just have thoughts and feelings and i know both my mind and spirit find being a woman to be tremendously powerful and an asset. and my heart was saddened by the loss of a woman who seemed to know this very thing as well. but in a way that was a blessing, right? it brought it back into balance. this sorrowful hatred against women transpired against the backdrop of a woman’s legacy of love and courage for her femalekind. maybe the universe knew we would need her words of strength to be in our ears as we move forward.

i know it helped me tremendously to hear them and read them this week.

i’ve enjoyed my evolving feminism over the years. it’s something i work on daily. i have a hard time seeing how a female gets through a day past her 10th birthday without confronting her womanness anymore. and i have to remind myself to be grateful for the struggles that have affirmed my strength in being a woman. it’s a gift that can’t be taken from me no matter how much i earn or what i achieve. because it doesn’t hinge on that. it comes from a place that respects you being proud of who you are and respects me being proud of who i am. i think it comes from the same place that spawned a poem as great as this one. i’ll leave off at that:

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
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One thought on “right now, as a woman

  1. I so agree that the timing was astonishing. I had friended her facebook page and was getting her posts regularly but was amazed at how many other reports came to my feed and the abundance of media reports. It was very affirming to see respect and honor bestowed to Maya Angelou. And such a relief to read her work alternately with a manifesto of a killer who envisioned starving all women in concentration camps and who plotted and carried out plan to slaughter women and minorities. We definitely needed something to balance the horror of the actions in our country and elsewhere this week….and always. History was begging for some accompaniment of Herstory this past week. And always will.

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