The lack of appendage between my legs and the boobifest happening on my chest both suggest I already am.
Yet, as I have learned last month, being a woman is not so much about genetics as it is about a deep understanding of self, intention and vulnerability.
This came to me as I attended a Celebration of Woman retreat. Three and a half secluded days spent in workshops designed by women, for women, with women. As the weekend approached, I became increasingly anxious about the potential of estrogen overload. I certainly had no intention of getting on anyone’s bad side and scratching someone’s left eye in a cat fight. But past experiences have taught me that cramming so many ladies into one big house and encouraging them to speak their truth could quickly become bad juju. Anything could happen, right?
Except that nothing did, other than pure, unabashed, sisterly love.
The women I now call sisters came in all ages, shapes and sizes. They rock this world on a daily basis. They are mothers, daughters, friends, professionals. They carry their load and keep on truckin’. They are a built-in support system for the people they love and who love them. This, in itself, deserves absolute respect.
But on top of all of it, they have also taught me three of the most valuable lessons any woman with a pulse should learn at some point in her life:
1. WHOLE: I am whole, wholly all that I am and that I am not. This is what makes me, me, and nothing about it is broken and needs to be fixed. This means that everything is up for some luvin’, including the crabby, angry, sad, lazy… sides of me. Yes, even and especially those, who need full acceptance and a nurturing caress.
2. FEMININITY has many definitions. There used to be a time when I believed that being feminine meant strutting in high heels, pouting red lips and daintily drinking Champagne from a flute, perched with my bare legs crossed. In all fairness, femininity does also encompass all of this. It also includes curves and edges, squishy bits and hard spots, whichever clothes we decide to throw on our back in the morning, make-up and untouched skin. Feminine is what I am when I am woman. So pretty much every hour of every day, regardless of what I look like and do. Yes, yes it is.
3. SISTERHOOD is real and may I say: thaaaank Goddess it is because for some time there, I really thought it was the stuff of legends. This retreat was three delicious days of lounging with my sisters, massaging each other, asking mindful questions, being as present with each other as with the Divine during prayer. It was divine indeed, holding hands and giggling and basking in the silliness; wiping the tears when we cried; roaring and cheering each other as we cracked our hearts and souls open to let all sisters in. Cocooned in vulnerability, we saw each other just as we are, and we loved each other unconditionally for it. This was the safest I have ever felt with a group of women, maybe even period. And there is no way I am ever living without it again. Ever.
This experience has transformed how I view women I cross path with. There is no judgement, only love and acceptance as they themselves love and support so much in their life. That woman in the elevator doesn’t know it, but I cherish everything that she is and thank her for all that she has done. I hold her, and you, in my heart.
I hold all women in my heart.
My sisters, fighters, lovers, mothers, daughters, lights and shadows and all. For last month, I learned what it really, truly means to be a woman.
Happy International Women's Day to each and every one of you.