Phenomenal Women Pt. 2
Good morning lads and gents! For the second part of my Phenomenal Women series I asked two bad ass writers who constantly inspire me to contribute to the cause and I can promise you will not be disappointed!
“As a writer, I have a longing to tell the truth.
But as a professional career person, truth-telling is not so easy. I have an image to uphold; a service to sell. The truth does not fit neatly into glossy packages and high sales margins.
Our society is formed on getting bigger, better, more. Work harder. Wake up earlier. Get thinner. Be happier. Hide your struggles. And capture it all on Instagram as proof. We are becoming increasingly obsessed with perfectionism; with painting over our undesired feelings and situations, with numbing our pain. And it’s making us lonelier and sadder than ever.
I looked up “empowerment” in the dictionary. The giving or delegation of power or authority; authorization, it said. The giving of an ability; enablement or permission.
I believe that we are building an army of truth. Empowerment, to me, means we are lifting each other up.
Through art, through politics, through song, through social media, through spirituality: we are becoming more honest about who we are, about what we struggle with, and about what we need to be whole. And the more we do it, the more we permission we give each other to do the same. This, to me, is empowerment.
And this giving permission is how we lift each other up. Out of poverty, out of fear, out of discrimination. Out of depression, anxiety, shame. Out of feeling like we’re the only ones struggling.
An empowered woman tells her truth. She might start by telling it to herself, quietly, in her journal or her prayers. Soon, though, it seeps into her relationships, her family, her community. It makes itself known in her friendships, and even, hopefully, in her career. It touches other truths. And we all grow stronger, and kinder.
“My personal definition of female empowerment will likely sound different from many. While I believe in strong women, I believe that the way society teaches us to be strong is entirely backwards.
Masculinity is associated with rational, logical thought, while femininity includes sensitivity, intuition, and nurturing qualities. These are not black vs. white or boy vs. girl traits. Each and every one of us has both masculine and feminine characteristics. In general, our culture values the masculine to such a degree, that both women and men have been taught to diminish their inner femininity, including their intuitive voices, while enhancing their masculine qualities in order to succeed.
In reality, women do not need to keep up with men or try to fit into societal, check-the-box constraints. We have always been just as capable as the opposite sex. Proving ourselves capable of climbing ladders or blowing away glass ceilings are wonderful gestures but only if they come from a place of authenticity. Doing so to prove our worth, rather, feeds the mindset that we are not worthy to begin with.
I believe the most empowering thing we can do, both as men and women in society as it stands currently, is to embrace our soft, nurturing qualities, as well as our fierce ones. This boils down to simply feeling our emotions again, and tapping into who we were before the world taught us how to be. The majority of individuals have it deeply ingrained within to suppress and hold back who we are and how we feel. This applies to men and women alike. Once you tap into the felt sense, a host of authentic power follows suit. Intuitive and deep, anciently-rooted power.
My ideas on this subject come from a space of having tried to fit into far too many boxes and facing gender discrimination and stereotyping on a deep level. I finally realized the invisible walls surrounding me were killing me slowly and decided that the only way to be is myself. What I mean by being myself is voicing who I am and tapping into each of my inherent gifts, especially the ones that the world around me does not actively value.
In America, I have a few female mentors who embrace their sensitive, intuitive sides. These are not stereotypical, lovey-dovey women who get walked all over. Rather, they are business people, teachers, healers, and leaders in their communities. Each of these women demonstrates love and power in her own unique way. One in particular is fierce, and I am forever grateful for her teaching me how to stand up for myself and to be my own advocate, guide, and teacher.
Recently I came to India to further my yoga studies. In the first few weeks of being here, I have found it interesting that, in addition to women, I have met several intuitive men who serve as healers in this community. In Western culture, it seems men are encouraged to hide this side of themselves, perhaps even more so than women. The Indian men I have met have decades of credentials, knowledge, and experience in what they do, yet they utilize their felt sense in daily interactions in an open, unabashed way.
This is what we need more of. People (both men and women) who are aware that there are a million ways to communicate, and spoken (written) word is only one of them. There are realms that can neither be seen nor tangibly touched, but are ready for us to listen.
The first step is to undo what we’ve been taught about how to get by in today’s world, which, for me, I know will take decades if not centuries. But I’m willing to do the work. Because I’m tired of feeling disempowered by others telling me that my inner voice isn’t real or worthy. Intuition and sensitivity is just as real as knowledge, and it’s time we recognize it as such. It’s time we embrace the feminine, both within and without, on a deeper level. Doing so will lead to not only female empowerment, but the evolution of society as a whole. ” –B. Keating
White Cotton Rose // @whitecottonrose
Keep on keepin' on!
And if you would like to contribute to Our Voice or Phenomenal Women, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!