No One Told Me It Would Be Like This

What is it about a freshly blossoming female?  She is neither girl nor woman, but a sumptuous entity all her own.  I think it is okay for me to broach this subject…as a woman… if a man were to describe his fascination with the pubescent girl he sees regularly at the climbing gym, he would surely be condemned as a pervert.  But me?  I’m a woman.  A good, honest, God thumping citizen, who has even paid taxes once or twice!  So I for some reason have a little more permission to say that this girl makes herself into quite an enticing little morsel.  (If I were her parent, I imagine I’d feel into some jagged edges around setting my little baby free to express herself versus not wanting to set her free on the streets looking like a freshly hatched sexual invitation…)

She is tiny.  No trace of woman curves.  Except she has these darling new born boobies that rock!  Seriously.  She wears bras that push them up into little understated mounds of ivory cleavage.  Over that, she wears a very minimal, low cut tank top. (usually a red one)  On the bottom, she wears skin tight jeans with a hole in the knee.  Her hair is long and blond and a little tangly.  Around her wide, child’s eyes, she wears a tasteful rim of black.  I bet she’s thirteen.  Whenever she is in my vicinity, I find myself studying her.  Honestly, I can see why men would be involuntarily, biologically excited by a little girl like this.  Sheesh, even I am.  She is a strange cocktail of freshness and danger, innocence and wildness.  She’s so small, but with such promise of impending fullness.  Beholding her is looking at a masterfully crafted poem.

Thanks to this modestly spicy little creature, I can almost understand why my step dad freaked out when I painted my fingernails a bold, mauvy-pink color for the first time.  I was either thirteen or fourteen.  I sat down at the dinner table and he exclaimed that it was a color that a prostitute would wear.  I had been so thrilled to take a preliminary dive into the pool of sensual, feminine play, and in an instant I was thrown on the defense and wondering somewhere inside, if I had done something quintessentially wrong.  Did I really look like a prostitute with my shiny, pink nails?  I had only meant to be beautiful and express myself.  But I suppose it is an odd thing for a man to suddenly perceive his daughter as attractive.

This brings me to another topic… Becoming a woman.  In my experience, it was a journey as arduous and lonely as inventing the wheel.  Nobody told me it would take thirty years.  And neither did anyone tell me that once I was a woman, I would still feel like the same child inside.  Seriously, I look out my eyes, I feel through my heart, and it is the same ageless, being of perpetual innocence, wonder and heavy wisdom that has always taken up residency here.  The only thing that has changed is that I have more responsibility.  I can’t just hang out at my best friend’s desk drawing cartoons of older boy next door, who simultaneously grossed me out and turned me on.  I suppose I could do that after the bills have been paid and the children fed… Grin.

I wonder if it is like that for all women… I suppose if my mom was more open and communicative about all topics woman, it could have been different.  But she didn’t say much to me on the subject.  Slowly, over much time, I just found myself inhabiting a woman’s body.  No, scratch that, I was far from inhabiting my “woman’s body”.  I think that’s really what becoming a woman has meant for me, is learning to actually INHABIT my body.  I didn’t begin to feel glimmers of hope in that arena until I was twenty seven or twenty eight years old.  Before that?  My body did NOT feel like a comfortable, safe or inspiring place to hang out.  Remember, I had an eating disorder (over eating) in my late teens and early twenties, which meant that my body was a place of S-H-A-M-E, hiding, repulsion… and my mind was perpetually fixated on what I would eat next… until I ate and felt repulsed and then I would scheme my plot for impending starvation.  Man, talk about prison.  Talk about hell.  And it was all in staunch secrecy.  When I say that shame is an emotion meant to guard the fortress of imagined separation, I am not kidding.  What an ingenious mechanism to perpetuate the campaign for separation!  It was impossible for me to just be with others, with myself, with the moment.  Then, add to that chronic constipation, scoliosis, shoulder pain, difficulty drawing a full breath.  Yeah, there was no way I was gonna drop down and feel all the unwieldy sensations and emotions that were festering in my tortured human form.

What shifted?  Years of yoga practice, healing (and self discipline) around my relationship to food, a commitment to exploring and unfolding my sexuality, and a willingness to feel my belly.  A willingness to feel my belly.  Seriously, I think that might be the key to the Queendom.

When Mykael and I were at dinner the other night, (remember, the “date night” from hell?) we were seated at the community table, which I wanted to report actually saved our lives, because we ended up making friends with the women next to us, and that diffused some of the immense pressure we had built up between us… (the moral of that story is that we need to get out and socialize more.)  Before we officially invited our brooding selves into the sunshine party next door, I overheard the woman next to me talking about dieting.  So many women incessantly diet, don’t we?  I forget that sometimes, because many of my friends are not dieters… that I know of.  So mostly the topic is off my radar.  (My neurosis around food these days are more in the vein of “is eating this going to make me constipated or exhausted?”)

But you know what?  Fuck dieting.  Dieting is an obsession.  Once the diet is over, then what?  Then you whiplash to the other end of the spectrum as a natural function of depriving yourself for so long.  I used to be terrified that I’d inevitably be fat one day.  But somewhere along the line, that fear vanished.  Now I just focus on eating nourishing, balanced meals, and actually feeling my body as I do so.  I exercise regularly, not because I “SHOULD”, but because my mind and body function with more lucidity and vitality when I do.  Many times a day, I remember to release my awareness down into my belly and I realize that I have been holding it in.  Sometimes letting go feels like work… Something in me is so habituated to holding on.  I remember when I wore my first bikini. I think it was around the same time that I painted my nails like a prostitute.  I was a little bit squishy around the middle, and when I wore it in front of my step dad’s family, one of his sisters poked at my squish and told me to suck it in.  That was a pivotal moment in losing my innocence, a moment I became painfully aware of how I looked.  Not that I didn’t have any body issues before that moment… I did.  But that was the beginning of a committed practice of shamefully sucking my belly in.

As women, we are trained to do this.  It makes perfect sense.  When I just let myself FEEL my belly, there is so much energy in there.  I feel alive, turned on, creative, powerful, intuitive.  It’s been a popular topic to discuss the return of the Divine Feminine these days.  Collectively, we are aware of the nearing of the end of this destructive, imbalanced cycle of patriarchy…you know what I’m talking about… all the recent Goddess buzz… The domination of the patriarchy never would have gotten away with it if women were at home in our bodies.  Our bodies are sanctuaries of wisdom, temples of boundless pleasure and intuitive magic.  And if we all knew this, the world would be quite a different place.  Not to say that we DON’T know… Slowly, we are waking up.  But I wonder how quickly dieting would become obsolete if we all just let go of our bellies and made ourselves at Home, from the INSIDE out.

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