Today’s post is the third of my 2016 holiday series Feminist Positivity (and also my birthday – yay!). Alexis Donkin shares her story about embracing her femininity and and being proud to be a woman. Be sure to leave a comment below!
As a little girl, my mother dressed me in pants. She picked primary colors for my clothes. I was allowed any kind of toys I wanted – and was quite excited to get a red remote control car for Christmas one year. I got dolls and needlepoint kits, but I also got chemistry sets and Kid’s Discovery magazines. This kind of home environment extended throughout my life – acceptance, encouragement, and acknowledgment of my inherent worthiness was clear in my parents’ actions.
Outside my immediate family, things were different.
There were the neighborhood boys pretending to rape as part of their play. There was the junior high boy who pulled my hair so hard my head hit the desk behind me. There was a high school classmate who grabbed my butt as we walked up the stairs to another classroom.
I could go on. My litany of experiences from sexual trauma through physical and emotional abuse is extensive. But that isn’t the whole story. That isn’t where my mind and heart stay.
I’m not sure when it happened, but sometime in the last few years it tapered off. I still get lots of stares from men, even if my hair is messy, I’m wearing no makeup, and sporting sweats. But the comments and attacks have stopped.
Why did this happen? There were two things I came to understand about myself.
The Feminine Power
First, I got pregnant, had a natural birth, and breastfed. My body didn’t change much from what it was before, but my appreciation for feminine power and bodies did.
My body is truly remarkable. It is capable of powers that other bodies do not possess. I can make new people. People have incredible power to change reality but there is nothing more powerful than creating a WHOLE OTHER PERSON. And guess what? Anyone associated with that power, wields it. It is the embodiment of the Creative Urge. It is the stuff of legend and myth. And it is wrapped in this woman’s lower abdomen.
When I was in the midst of labor, I saw my connection to all the women who came before me, and the many women who will come after me. It was a moment in time — just a few hours in a single day, but I saw it in the stream of forever. I saw how I was part of a greater experience and through this, I came to see just how powerful I am.
Just thinking about what I did – the abilities of my body – gives me chills.
Once I knew that power, I knew I could do anything. That kind of knowledge cannot be lost. It gives me a deep sense of rootedness – and a connection to any and all affiliated with creativity, a fundamentally feminine gift.
The second understanding grew out of an incredible period of introspection after losing everything. Through a time of perceived failure, I was forced to recognize the difference between my life journey, and the myth of the American Dream. My life hadn’t gone the way of picket fences, corporate jobs, and 2.5 kids. Success for me looked different than the American Dream and until that time, I hadn’t acknowledged that disconnect. When I did I finally recognized my worthiness and let go of past negativity, replacing it with acceptance and forgiveness. I came to love myself for who I am, and others for who they are. I recognized that we’re all on our respective journeys and so comparison doesn’t work, because none of us has the same path. We’re all doing the best we can where we can. Our choices are reflections of our journeys.
This understanding has allowed me to redirect conversations, shift others’ thinking, and transform any and all interactions. As a result, my conversations with others are always civil, if not utterly loving. For me there are no “trolls,” “monsters,” “sexists,” or otherwise. They are merely people with histories of hurt, lashing out in the only ways they know how. Instead of meeting them with resistance, anger, or my own negative history, I come with compassion and acceptance of their current life chapter.
All the Difference in the World
I know who I am. I know my own power and worthiness. The comments of others cannot change that. The actions of others cannot change that. Will I run into other people who have sexist beliefs? Sure. Will I run into others who lash out in hate? Maybe. Will I come into contact with those who judge? Likely. It still won’t change who I am or how I choose to act. And that makes all the difference in the world.
Alexis Donkin helps creatives build lives based in unconditional love. She is the creator of The Compassion Letter weekly newsletter and the online course, The Heart Unboxed: How to Love the Unloveable, as well as host of the Intentional Writer Interview Series. Alexis lives in Southern California with her family. She is a classically trained artist, with a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies and an MA in Global and International Studies. Between writing, speaking, and chasing her kid, she paints, sings, and dances. Sometimes Alexis does it all at once. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and her website.
How do you embrace who you are? Share in the comments below!
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