September 25, 2013

The Secret of Being a Woman.

It always interests me when a woman doesn’t want to be lumped in with other females.

I guess the reason it fascinates me is I love being a woman.

I adore having girlfriends.

Talking with other women and sharing your inner fears and thoughts has a strange way of making you feel both not alone and intrinsically understood.

Do I think that all women are alike? No, of course not.

And yet there’s an invisible thread that manages to weave itself around our words, pulling this compatibility deeply into our hearts and connecting us together through something that we instinctively know is timeless: the bond of sisterhood.

That’s another reason that this divorce from other women intrigues me—I don’t fully understand not being interested in the vast history of female bonds and ties.

I love reading historical fiction, and many of my favorites involve the complicated intricacy of female relationships—The Red Tent, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Secret Life of Bees—just to name a few. 

There’s a place within me that believes claiming my femininity is something to do with pride, and I know that sharing the same sex with another person doesn’t make us the same—I don’t want it to.

At the same time, the powerful connection between girlfriends chatting and simply being together is palatable; it’s unmistakable—this cord woven together over generations of blood, sweat, tears, love and survival.

The recent film Girl Rising highlights the sad reality that women across the globe still need each other’s help and support. 

I saw it in the theater with girlfriends—which I never do these days—on my first all-ladies night out in forever—the magic of getting dolled up and going out with your friends is priceless, and special—the famed girls’ night out.

And while I definitely understand a woman wanting to be viewed as an individual (don’t we all?), I don’t get wanting to be completely closed off and separated from calling yourself a woman entirely—from all the joys and uniqueness that this particular label stands for.

It seems to me that those who adamantly claim that “being a woman” means and conveys nothing are not only dishonoring their own beings, but they are disengaged and disconnected from the reality of their own true nature—and a woman who says she’s nothing at all like other women wouldn’t have to declare this if it were actually true.

For example, I like to say that “I’m not a crier,” and yet I wrote an entire article in my decomposition book yesterday on crying in public… while I was crying in public—because generally speaking, you don’t have to state the obvious.

In other words, what are you hiding when you feel a huge need to say that you “are” or “aren’t” something—or someone?

What baggage are you carrying around?

The unfaithfulness of a friend? A horrible relationship with your mother? Shame? Fear? Self-loathing?

Don’t worry, it’s okay—we all have baggage.

Everyone has been hurt and everyone has to relearn trust after betrayal. However small the scale, trust me that this has unfortunately happened in everybody’s life—because people are never perfect. 

My suggestion is that if your sex is female and yet you entirely divide yourself from the female gender, then consider asking yourself why? Just inquiring—that’s all that I ask.

After all, gender and sex are not the same thing, let’s not forget—there’s a valid greyness in sexuality and a credible separation between genitalia and gender—no, the bigger concern is that you yourself are the one harboring the judgment—and the stereotyping—of what female means when you claim you want nothing to do with it.

Here’s what I mean when I say that I’m a woman: that I’m part of a larger group and that this doesn’t define me, but it also means that I’m part of an aggregate and that we’re related and connected in some way.

So, what, then, is this connection? What is the glue that holds this assemblage together?

Here’s what I think it is and—ssshhh!—don’t tell: I think the fundamental secret and truth of being a woman is that all the other self-proclaimed women out there know just how unique and special and individual we all are.

And that’s what I loved most about the books I listed earlier—they involve the tightly-woven friendships of people who know one another’s unique characteristics and inner-workings and then they celebrate them in each other.

They celebrate the diversity within the group and this celebration is what makes them one and the same—they celebrate flaws and they understand that it’s their differences that make them need the others and that makes them alike.

So you don’t want to claim your womanhood?

That’s fine, but I’m sorry for you—I know that I, for one, like having hands to hold—but to each her own.

I can say that because I’m a woman-— and I know that we’re not all the same.


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Ed: Sara Crolick


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