On being a woman

May 30, 2010

This week, I am finishing up all of the "On being a woman" interviews that are still sitting in my inbox and waiting, unread, in my facebook messages. I plan to continue the series as interviews present themselves, but not in the regular manner that I have been.

If I am forgetting anyone, in my crazy mess of emails and facebook messages I haven't deleted yet, I apologize. Please email and remind me. I'll be the first to admit that my ex boyfriend use to stare at my inbox and say "Please, PLEASE just clean it out. It's a mess. I can't handle it."

Granted, he was OCD, and used to shudder when I brought coffee into his car, but he was right. And, since, I have tried to better myself by deleting more of my messages. Lately, however, I've been experiencing a clean-my-inbox-out-and-keep-it-clean slump.

I started this series because I didn't know what to say. Call it writer's block, call it a series of unexpected events, that vital point in therapy when you have groundbreaking realizations about yourself, or just plain being too busy - but I just did not have words.

Accordingly, I've spent time at the beach, where my soul always comes back.

I let women I admire take over while I journaled near East Ocean Blvd, and thought about why I couldn't quite seem to write what's inside me.

I put sentences and ideas and paragraphs together. But nothing came out that felt like it truly came from inside of me. Nothing.

I thought a lot about a women's writers class that I took freshman year. My bearish professor used to pound on his desk and point at our workshop with his thick fingers when he spoke. Several times over, the pounding was followed by the following statement:

"Make no mistake. It is terribly hard to be a woman, especially a woman that wants to write."

He told us that we are born to nurture, and that that desire must be lived out, in some form or another. At the same time, the desire for individuality, the desire for writing, must be fed.

He suggested that we learn to get up at 4 am.

I laughed.

But I've thought of it since - how does one become her own self? How does one let go and hold on in a way that produces growth, individuality and the kind of graciousness that so many of you have said is your view of beauty?

Many of you have shown me the normalcy of what I am struggling through. It has become clear to me that, as women, we struggle with wrapping up our identity in the lives of those around us. Sometimes this is right, but other times it's wrong. It's wrong when we forget who we are.

And, bearish professor with thick fingers was correct. This is hard.

Thanks to your answers, I have been driven to asking questions of myself, rather than asking them of everyone around me.

I've begun the daily process of moving from an overwhelming, "who are they?" to a quiet, "who am I?"

The last time I did this was at the beach in North Carolina. Some friends and I took the weekend and holed up in a huge beach house across the street from the ocean.

I wrote. I read. I took pictures. I found shells to send home to my mother.

I drank Blue Moon, with freshly sliced oranges.

I laughed.

A month ago, I decided to find my way back to the place I was in during our visit to North Carolina. It's taken some time, but along with the reading, and the picture taking, I have finally started to write. And it's coming out in excess - at my desk, in my bed, at stop lights, on receipts, the back of business cards, my palm, in my head at work and at the bottom of my to do list.

In writing, I have been reminded of who I am.

I have been reminded that my mother calls me, "her pearl."

I have enjoyed my coffee in the mornings, and the quietness of reading at night.

I've been reminded of my own perspective.

I have been enjoying being a woman.

Thank you, each of you, for sharing with me what it means to be a woman...and for reminding me that it is a terribly wonderful thing.

(If I have yet to receive your answers, please try and get them to me this week).


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

thanks for visiting me! i will read when i have more time but i loved this post. our grandson comes home from iraq soon. we are very excited about that.

what it means to be a woman? it was different in my day. i stayed home until the children were in school and then got a (oh! horrors!) job! i hated staying home, was so bored. but now in retirement i love it, i appreciate it, i relish in it.

smiles, bee