In one paragraph, Anaïs Nin said everything I’ve ever thought about my body, but could never put into words.
The excerpt I am referring to comes from the first volume of her diary, covering the years of her life from 1931 through 1934. Under Nin’s advisement, the diary was published in 1966.
The volume has been heavily criticized for its censorship. However, these critiques are all for naught because the excerpts which we are allowed to read are, in my opinion, page after page of undeniable truth. Perhaps this truth stems from the incredible experiences Nin had or her innate authenticity and life-long dedication to self-reflection. Nin clearly put into words the fundamentals of being a woman that us, other women, can only begin to grasp at.
I’d like to share these words with you…
“Man can never know the kind of loneliness a woman knows. Man lies in a woman’s womb only to gather strength, he nourishes himself from this fusion, and then he rises and goes into the world, into his work, into battle, into art. He is not lonely. He is busy. The memory of the swim in amniotic fluid gives him energy, completion. The woman may be busy too, but she feels empty. Sensuality for her is not only a wave of pleasure in which she has bathed, and a charge of electric joy at contact with another. When man lies in her womb, she is fulfilled, each act of love is a taking of man within her, an act of birth and rebirth, of child-bearing and man-bearing. Man lies in her womb and is reborn each time anew with a desire to act, to be. But for woman, the climax is not in the birth, but in the moment when man rests inside of her.”
These words are incredible for any time period, but when applied to the modern era, they are even more powerful. Here’s why:
In this day in age, we uphold equality between the sexes. It is a wonderful thing—millennials making great leaps, tearing down walls, and making a difference. The feminists live each day as if it were a new page in history. However, regardless of how courageously women, live nowadays, there is no denying that there are still fundamental differences between men and women. Differences that I think we should recognize.
Women were born to nurture and to create. We were modeled to protect and to mother. We also possess an innate sexual desire. A sexual desire that is perhaps fueled by an anatomical and emotional need to feel whole—a feeling that we possess fleetingly during intercourse, but are bereft of as a mere individual.
Men on the other hand, were physiologically born whole, graced with the external organ and thus do not need to have intercourse to feel physiologically satisfied.
None of these components are necessarily bad. They just are. They are components of the spiritual lives men and women lead, and many times, we simply forget about them in our day-to-day lives. That is why I think Anais Nin’s words are so important.
Modern women courageously conquer a piece of the modern world each and every day. However, as independent as we may be, we sometimes can feel lost, doubtful, or feel general weakness through no fault of our own.
We are not weak, nor will we ever be. We just inherently feel a need to nurture, to be possessed, and to be fulfilled—subliminal emotions which unbeknownst to ourselves pull us in a million different directions at any given time.
Therefore, with Anaïs’ words in mind and her inherent message held within our hearts, I believe it’s important to remind our bad-ass feminist selves that although we are independent and strong and make leaps and bounds everyday, we were metaphysically created differently than men. It’s okay to give ourselves some slack, to not understand at times why we feel so lost.
We were created differently—anatomically, spiritually, and emotionally. We feel differently, and that’s perfectly alright.
At least, according to me it is.
Author: Brittany Ann Bandemer
Editor: Katarina Tavčar; Caitlin Oriel
Photo: Yaoqi Lai & James Garcia/Unsplash