I had a terrible dream last night. I was a little girl, and I felt betrayed by my mom. She jeopardised my brother’s safety, as well as mine — we too, could face imprisonment by speaking up.
My mom plotted to kill the patriarchal symbol of control and suppression, standing up to patriarchal values that haunted me when I was growing up.
But my mom submitted herself to authority because she was too weak to follow through. She risked imprisonment. I may never see her again.
I was angry at my mom for standing up to patriarchy, in a culture that punished the wild feminine, because I fear I may never see her again given her imprisonment. I felt scared, and abandoned.
In utter powerlessness and fear of being imprisoned by authorities, I retreated and dared not to speak my truth.
I let patriarchal values and controlling people abuse me. I tried to please others by abandoning my true self, my power, my strength, my femininity. I became closed, anxious, and tense.
I buried myself in grief, in sadness. I silently, yet vehemently, resented my mom for not speaking up and for being weak. I distrusted myself and rejected my intuition, feeling unsafe, and became skeptical of life.
To cope, I put on a false, defensive facade of being “strong” because I felt that being vulnerable and soft was weak. I thought that I would be punished for being vulnerable. Punished and banished by society, by men, by women.
I became aggressive as a defensive mechanism. I buried my pain in that facade which made me feel that I was in control. I became the “invincible”, “independent”, “finance-y” woman, the “tomboy” who travelled the world pursuing adventurous sports and handled everything myself.
Yet, behind my exterior, I was weak and submissive. I hid behind my facade, craving for connection. My dream ended right there and then.
My facade isolated me from love. I became the victim of my own imprisonment. No matter how many challenging adventures I had, how many places I traveled to, how many dates I went on, I could not escape my pain that was craving for my attention. I felt incredible sadness for not being able to express myself authentically.
When I came to the realisation that no one can help me escape from my pain, I eventually learned to surrender to it. I sat with my pain — pain from the collective and ancestral suppression of femininity, years of anxiety and stress, self hate. I gently asked the pain what it really needed from me.
My pain needed me to promise her that I won’t ever abandon or invalidate my feelings again, no matter how scary the process maybe. I also realised that my mom did not betray me — she tried her best knowing what she knew. I betrayed myself by not trusting my intuitive, feminine, still, soft voice, which persisted, no matter how much I suppressed it.
In the process, I dreamed a new reality — I learned to accept my anger of betraying myself, my pain, my childhood. I realised that being vulnerable and feminine means being able to open up in love, even if the world may punish your light.
Being feminine means being vulnerable, being alive, being fearless to dive deep into our fears and emotions. Being vulnerable takes more strength and courage to do so than to hide behind the facade of being able to do everything myself.
Femininity is not weakness, not submissiveness. Femininity is strong and graceful. Like water, femininity flows — Femininity can be calm and still, like water in a pond; or strong, destructive, and fierce, like water from a tsunami.
Femininity is not about conforming to an archetypal idea of what feminine is or isn’t. It isn’t the submissive housewife, nor is it the modern woman who has it all together. Femininity is not an idea we continuously chase after; it is a way of being.
To reclaim your femininity, which is within everyone of us, it is about releasing trauma and past conditioning that suppresses your unique feminine essence from expressing through you. And to release such trauma and past conditioning, this requires you to be completely present with your negative and positive emotions — sadness, anger, grief, joy, love — and not making them wrong. Because this is the truth of how you’re feeling now.
I hope that if you are feeling held back by fear, doubt, past conditioning, that you’ll remember that what will set you free is being completely present with your emotions, feeling them, and know that this too shall pass. There is tremendous freedom in that.
We need to be willing to heal our negative emotions relative to anything we identify as female to set the femininity within us free. Our feminine energy is always there, merely obscured by our conditioning from the past. And when we clear the dust that is obscuring that essence, our femininity will immediately shine on its own, in a unique way, like a diamond.
We need to be genuine to our true feelings relative to our feminine identity, instead of rebelling against expectations or embracing expectations that we don’t actually enjoy because we desperately want acceptance and approval, the approval we did not get as children. By being present with our emotions, we learn acceptance. And with deep self acceptance, our true feminine self will surface.
As International Women’s Day has just passed, let us dream a new reality by honouring our individual femininity. Feel. Love. Be Wild. Reclaim the part of yourself that is lost from years of conditioning, sadness, grief, and anger. Embrace our femininity and let it shine.
Originally published at medium.com