On the heels of this article about “Asking for Rape” clothing labels that I posted on facebook and this poem called Woman that I found in my archives, I found this email dialogue below. I won’t reveal the name of my friend who I had the convo with unless she wants me too but still I think its very interesting. Let me know what you think.
This dialogue happened in October of 2007.
The friend wrote……
Hey Sheena, this is a weird question, but it’s been on my mind. Wondering what you might think: My dad never valued me as a woman. He saw no worth in me as a woman. If I behaved like a little baby, he would adore me, but otherwise no. He would not teach me to play chess because I was a girl. My mom had to force him.
I am realizing that I struggle seeing worth in myself as a woman. It’s like, I don’t know how to value myself as a woman. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do to be one. Most things I admire as being good and virtues that I want seem to me like masculine virtues and strengths. When I look at my mom, I am just realizing, that I respect her so much because she is tough, I do not think women are tough. Men are tough and the more I can be like a guy the more I respect myself. I do not like feeling weak and so I am getting strong physically, emotionally and spiritually That has always been my goal. I do not like talking to women about these things because what good is it if a woman is strong in any of these ways? She is still not as strong as a man. There are few women that seem to equal in value to my idea of a good man. Few men are there too, but even the jerkiest of guys makes more money, is somewhat more respected and doesnt have to deal with all the emotion a female must.
What is there to value about being female?
Being a mother is an awesome thing. But apart from that I feel weak and useless. Outside of being a mother, all my femininity offers me is weakness and use as a sex symbol.
Does this make any sense? What do you value about being female?
:::MY RESPONSE WENT AS FOLLOWS:::
I read that question ~ “what do I value about being female” and my thoughts lead me to “what do I value about being me? Being human?”
It leads me to questions such as who am I? Of what importance is it that I am woman? Would I be equally valuable as a male? How do we define and attach worth to self?
How we ask questions give clues to our beliefs, fears, perspective and what not?
I’m going to write in no particular order. It may jump all over the place. Bare with me and read at your own risk.
So much of our perspective is based on our culture, politics, religious beliefs, and etc. We have these filters through which we see the world. We need to name those filters…they affect how you see, process, act, respond.
What are your filters?
Woman. Christian. American. Daughter of divorce. College grad.
What are some more?
Take a simple issue. Immigration. Sex. Universal healthcare.
Or being that we are now adults, living our lives…we can decide how we want to believe, live, think, act, speak.
You can do, think, say, believe whatever it is you want.
If you want to be of no value, if you want to be less than…than be all means assume that role.
I know many of our concepts and perspectives are just water down versions of what we have been taught. So in the past two years, I’ve deconstructed those things…mostly in relation to religion and I began to piece together what I believed on my own…despite everything else.
Woman. What is a woman? Is it just a physical thing? I have a vagina therefore I’m a woman.
I can birth life. That’s beautiful but I don’t want to just focus on that because not all woman give birth.
Feminine versus masculine. Again, society attaches meaning to that. But if you read more ancient text from other cultures, you’ll learn they had a very different idea about feminine versus masculine. Completely different mental construct that’s foreign to us.
Strong. I don’t believe its neither masculine nor feminie. At the same time I believe its both.
Think in the concept of polarity. If there is a line. Strong is on one end. Weak on another. At what point does strong become weak. Can’t one end be a little strong and the other very strong. Or a little weak and very weak. At what point does west stop being west and becomes east?
Its all just a small shift. So weak and strong are the same thing, they are on opposite sides of a polar extreme but we control their extreme. We attach the points and we really don’t have to. We can move the dot to wherever and call it strength or weakness.
What I see as emotionally strong could be emotionally weak to you? Its all just a matter of perspective and just understanding they are all on a system of polarity.
You should read the kybalion. Not to believe all that it says but just to hear a different perspective. Its a philosophy book.
I’m going to find some of my old writing on ‘woman’ and ‘self’, two very different things to me and then ill give you my most recent view too.
I once wrote in a poem,
I am woman
I am scarred
I am a concept
…and so the Christian laced self deprecating poem went.
I am not perfect; but I reject the indictment that I am a sinner. I do not lay claim to such a damaging concept that holds many in bondage but gives temporary release of any responsibility.
We can manage our state, alter our course, choose our moments and act. I won’t relish on my past. I won’t give it power or let it hold me. I can use it as a marker on this path of spiritual enlightenment and higher peace, but I can’t live in bondage of it. I can’t judge myself or sell myself short. I will not let others hold me to it too. I cannot let others choke me by my immature uninformed choices.
I am now.
I am this moment right here.
This present exact moment resides my being.
I release the desire to control two years ago.
That moment happened.
And now, I am now.
I am woman
I am all of this moment.
Another piece, entitled restoration ~
“You do yourself an injustice by not seeing yourself as a whole person.”
Lynn had me role play this week. She was sheena and I was the therapist. This was all in response to my own voice of judgement telling me that I am “damaged goods”
How do you judge someone? More accurately, how do you measure someone’s character. Not by what has happened to them. Perhaps some judge by what you do. You know, actions speak louder than words. That sort of thing. We rarely measure a person’s character by what has happened to them. Perhaps by how they have endured and what they have now become.
We live in an age of oppurtunity and choice. So if you want to be damaged goods, than by all means embrace that and let it be your definition. But if you want to thrive pass your circumstances and victimization, you have to take on a new role all together. If you must seek restoration, restore yourself. You do yourself an injustice by not being whole.
Christianity also perpetuates this mindframe of “damage.” We are indoctrinated to believe from birth that we are sinners. We don’t measure up. Only by grace do we have a chance. I’m done carrying the weight of Eve’s selfish choice. I may have been born into a sinful world but my mother didn’t birth damage.
Today I am whole and restoring myself. My choices may be wrong, immature or hurtful but the essence of my self is energy. Sin does not reside in energy. Today I am taking on myself again and not my circumstances, voices of judgement or christianity’s Eve. Today I will be fully Sheena. I don’t go by any other name.
But we approach this from very different perspectives. I personally think there will come a day when you leave your father in your wounded childhood ~ I mean this with the utmost respect.
But if you want, one day you will leave your father in the painful memories of the past and you will embrace now, this moment, the being that you are.
You can believe, think, do, say whatever you want about yourself. If you want to be less than embrace that. If you want something different, you can have that too.
(The rest of our emails will go up tomorrow.)