For most of my life, I have subconsciously rejected the fact that I am a woman. Key word: subconsciously. Yes, I was born a female, and I’ve always identified as a woman, but the majority of my actions have reflected an intentional masculine energy. At a young age, I considered myself a “tomboy” (a term that was offered up by my mother before my elementary school track meet). I rejected dresses after age 7. Brushing my hair and doing girly things were not appealing. I opted instead for wanting a baseball cap (but never wearing one because of the head-sweat itch) and a skateboard (that I never used because I was terrified of breaking a bone). It all may seem counterintuitive- it totally is- but my rejection of embracing femininity was not simply an identity crisis or a stance against “girly things”. It stemmed from my ingrained and societally-absorbed perception of weakness … and I ran in the opposite direction.
This trend sustained itself for years. Up until VERY recently, I’d frequently make bold stances on not wanting children (for a variety of reasons), along with making the redundant declaration that I’d never have a traditional wedding because I didn’t “want to uphold a Barbaric traditional that insisted I be sold like property.” Nah, thx tho. While these opinions are slightly rooted in authentic reflection (and I have a hard time imagining that these opinions will shift) I’ve been doing some deep reflection on what it means to me to so abrasively reject the normalcy of embracing my role as a woman in this backwards-ass, parallel universe I (most days) feel like we’re living in.
Let’s just say, this reflection has taken me on a journey. A journey filled with lots and lots of anger swimming to the surface. In fact, I have found myself beginning to display mini versions of my mother’s rare-but-intense fits of rage. (If you listen to our podcast, you know that now, I’m going to switch from psychic to psychotherapist.)
Disclaimer before I go down this road: My mom is the best. She is an amazing woman. But keep in mind that her identity is a feisty Italian from Northern New Jersey. For members of this subgroup, as you might know from personal experience or from watching episodes of The Sopranos, showing weakness in any form ain’t ever an option for this breed of “lady”.
Years ago, my mother recounted an episode of Dr. Phil or Oz or one of those [???] that was allegedly so insightful that she just had to share her awakened understanding of the origins of her few-but-sometimes-frequent anger fits. “It’s called the warrior gene,” she explained. “It’s genetic! That’s why I practically black-out when I get into ‘the zone’ and I’m ready to attack”. Like a pit bull. Like a wild, uninhibited savage. (As I’m writing this, I’m chuckling to myself because my mom stands at a tall 5’4 with a super petite frame. She is not the maniac I’m painting her to be. Like I said earlier, she’s feisty and passionate and will fight for her beliefs and her children.)
When initially learning about this warrior gene, I kind of eye-rolled, patted my mom on the back, and sent her on her way. I didn’t put much stock in this. And while I still kind of don’t, my understanding of my mother’s definition of the warrior gene has aided in my reflection of my own anger. No, I don’t think I have the warrior gene. In fact, I think I’m pretty patient overall. My dad once told me that he could’ve sworn I’d end up being a Kindergarten teacher. See? I’m gentle, damn it!
But this is why these newfound spouts of anger have taken me aback with lots of concern. I have been finding myself growing suuuuuper impatient with the people in my life. My demeanor has been changing. My state of “calm” has diminished significantly. I wouldn’t necessarily categorize myself as “unpleasant”, but honestly, I don’t know if I’d want to hang out with me somedays.
With all of this being said- and if you’ve made it this far, I applaud and appreciate you- my reflections have revealed something just truly f’ing fascinating. You ready? The closer I get to acknowledging and adjusting to my femininity and my role as a woman in this world, the more frequent my anger and impatience find ways of showing up. Jeez, I could burst into tears right now as I type this, and that’s because it’s true. It’s the truest thing I may have ever written in any journal entry ever.
Let’s unpack this.
In this hyper-patriarchal culture, women are told that our role is explicitly defined for us. Blah, blah, you’ve heard the shpeal countless times. Go on Instagram and snoop around, if you need some reminding. Any type of diet/gym-focused Instagram account will do. Obsessive-girlfriend memes and viral videos are absolutely everywhere. I wish I could say that’s the worst of it, but we all know that it’s not. The role of the traditional woman show up in school as teachers, in hospitals as nurses, down the street at your neighbor’s house as the homemaker. Less traditional but nonetheless prevalent- we show up as bosses who must repeatedly demand respect from colleagues, religious leaders who are more than likely spreading the word within a patriarchal system, and mothers who are balancing work and school, all the while trying to raise woke kids and concurrently manage a household. Fuck this noise. See why I’m angry?
Accepting the fact that I am a woman in this world with feminine qualities and attributes subconsciously means to me that I’m accepting defeat. I’m accepting weakness. I’m accepting that my word will never be seen as valuable as long as I continue to express emotions and demonstrate compassion.
This realization has me feeling all types of things. I’m caught in this uncomfortable place because my options are few.
- Regress. Push back this newfound understanding of femininity and conform once more. Go back to eating animals as to not risk offending anyone. Sit back while misogynistic decisions are made around me. Sink back into my safety net and keep my mouth shut. My anger will probably evolve into depression because that’s what depression is, after all. Repressed anger. But at least the only causality will be me.
- Move forward and get uncomfortable. Continue to explore my identity while still grappling with and trying to suppress the residual anger. This may hurt the people around me, as I’ve compared myself (not the outbursts, just me) to a hurricane- category 5 status. Just the idea of hurting others at the expense of my pain is just enraging. But there it is.
- Unapologetically feel what I’m going to feel by authentically living in the awakened female experience. Anger, sadness, joy, all of it. If people are causalities of this awakening, so be it. I’d imagine a very small percentage of women take and/or have taken this path. These are the trailblazers. The level 5 Souls, right? There’s a difference between acting out of selfish desire and absolute necessity.
At this stage, I’d like to say that choice 3 is so obvious and enlightened and a no-brainer. Sure- on paper. In actuality, there is a fine line between all of these options, because the newness of every day presents this exact challenge. The challenge of choice. Every soul has the choice to do good and do bad, and all results can be justified within the frame of individual logic. Right now, I’m processing what my soul needs to progress in this life.
To get to some type of conclusion, I think about what my counseling session with my spirit guide will look like when I’ve completed my time here in this body. I imagine us sitting in a spirit-world coffee shop, soy lattes in hand, my animals by my side, and my guide saying, “I’m glad you picked the right choice over and over again.” That’s all any of us can do, really.