F*ck it femininity: femininity as a means of rebellion

I had weird career goals when I was 14-16. My dreams often varied from my peers. I wanted to be something a bit extreme. At one point I very seriously wanted to be a nun and devote all of my body and mind to spirituality. I craved a magical and intense mysticism to enter my life. Later, I wanted to be a Geisha (cringe I know). I asked my parents to let me move to Japan to start my maiko training, which obviously didn’t work out. But again, I don’t think I wanted that path as much as the essence of it. I always wanted to live my life and devote it to something feminine and artistic. I wanted a path with passion and creativity. Of course many won’t go these extreme routes, but I do believe there are women out there searching for something spiritual, magical, feminine, deep, and creative. They want a life that is anything but ordinary. We admire Jane Goodall and her exploration, and Lady Diana and her grace and compassion. To me, this is radical femininity.

Today women are increasingly valued by how they measure up to men. Of course we deserve equal rights, pay, and opportunities. Yet, some women give up a part of their hidden feminine hearts in order to be successful how we define it today. Success is defined in our culture often by our career position, income, and external value. Traditionally, feminine values are not of this sort. Women are valuable by their essence, their nature, and their simple act of being themselves in their authentic energy. All of us have different levels of gender identification, so this may not fit each person. But to me, being vulnerable, tender, creative and loving in every situation is an act of feminine rebellion against the masculine system today. Women are often seen as more valuable (societally) when in their masculine essence and exhibit qualities like aggression and ambition, both in love and work. Let yourself be seen when the world says stuff those pointless feelings away!

If you like ruffles and frills bust them out among a grey or trendy office. If you hear words of anger, dare to be compassionate. If someone hurts you, dare to say, “I am hurt” instead of “I hate you”. Dare to be vulnerable and go on a limb to change the status quo of what is held to be valuable today. Offer love even when you can be rejected. Show the world that softness has immense strength.

My Poetry

Here are a couple of poems from some of my hardest times. I have written a book of poetry coming out soon, and during the time I wrote this I was dealing with very serious depression and the two suicides of long-time boyfriends. The book together deals with grief and turning it around.

Here are a few samples:

Autumn comes in quiet corners.
The windshield wipers pump the
rain up and down
like momma's breathing.
It's okay again, to feel beautiful
maladies.
Because the earth mourns around
you, and with you.
The silence wakes me
and deeper it goes into my heart.
You drive around looking for ghosts,
but I am looking for people,
who are alive.

This is grief,
like the ache for poisoned blood.
I loose more parts of my soul
than I can capture.
Even as the stars and moon get dolled up,
and I walked down the streets of my ancestors,
It means nothing.
It is no cure.
Why does death now taste like love?
I can't remember where my lives begin
Neruda, Nabokav, my communion
is stale.
Lost is my teenage heart.
Dead in your borrowed bones.

Les Cévennes: A Lost Paradise of France

My love tells me he dreams of this place every night. I thought that was bizarre until I saw it. This land where he grew up is like a garden of Eden. I felt like a fairytale character wandering the forests with a straw basket and provincial dress. I climbed cherry trees to pick and eat the juiciest fruits. We find wild mushrooms to eat with dinner. The stones in the forest are silver and sparkle in the sunlight that creeps through the canopy of leaves. Chestnut trees, some 2,000 years old stand watch over the place, and will long after we are gone. Little creatures peek through the trees and stones. Neighbors of this very sparsely inhabited land peek out of their stone homes to say hello and offer fresh grape juice. Everything feels ethereal, like a place to rest from earth, yet a place filled with more earth than I have ever seen. My hair feels softer, my skin feels smoother, and I am filled with peace spending my days reading in front of the waves of green trees, or napping in front of the stars so clearly defined a meteor seems to pass every five minutes.

Here are some lessons I have learned here:

Vision boards 2.0

You have probably heard about vision boards. Vision boards are when you collect images and words that are the essence of what you want. The idea is if you look at it each day, you will attract more of those things into your life (assuming you have a positive, grateful, and full of faith type of vibe going for you). I have made many over the years and can say they do work when I make sure to align myself with positive thoughts and focus.

However, having the board in my room was like sharing my deepest desires with the world (well whoever wondered in my space) and I tend to feel a little drained rather than uplifted sharing the details of my dreams with just anyone. Also, I felt like once I made it, it was done. I wanted it to go on more!

That is why I created my own dream journal. It is a book (I am on my third) where I college images and words that inspire me. I also write lists of things that I love and want. Sometimes I write quotes from the books I read, or advice I received. Basically it is one living breathing compilation of everything great and inspiring in life to me. I can flip through it every day to be refreshed and reminded of who I am and want to be.

Also…I love buying hauls of magazines and cutting images. It trains my mind to keep looking for more of what I like everywhere. It keeps my anxious mind focused on positive things and my hands busy.

Here are a few pages from my book so you get the idea:

Enjoy your week and keep dreaming my lovelies.

How Instagram helped my depression

To be honest, I thought social media (especially Instagram) was bad for a person's wellbeing. I read the articles on how it lowered self-esteem, created anxiety, and increased depression. They said it was because of looking at the overly perfected highlight reel of someone's life can cause anguish at our own imperfect, and not always glistening lives. These reasons kept me away from social media with wrongful pride thinking, I'm not one of those people.

After being diagnosed with depression I longed for an outlet for the sadness, hopelessness, and anger I felt inside. I wanted a new artistic hobby that could help me evolve. After deciding I would like to try photography I knew Instagram might become part of the picture. I logged in again, deleted all of my old images, and changed my name. I wanted this to be a place of artistic expression more than only sharing news.

Most importantly, I deleted everyone I had previously followed and realized it wasn't the tool that created anxiety, it is the use. I can choose who I follow, and who I admire and why. I became more clear on my own life vision and decided to only view those who fall in line with that. Suddenly, every day became an opportunity for inspiration, not envy. I thought, How cute is that, I want to make that, I love the way this is styled!

This lead to another way instagram decreased my depression. I constantly have something beautiful to look for now! I am on the hunt for something lovely everywhere I go. Not only that, but I keep my mind busy on creative aspects like what angle, light, and story will meaning capture the meaning? I get focused on the grid of images and whether the images all together tell the story I want. My focus has become beauty, instead of sadness and anger.

Together these elements created what I always longed for, but didn't feel worthy of – connection. I have made incredible and true friends from all over the globe. They are more than willing to share more than their highlights reel with me. I finally have friends that are attracted by similar things in life like me, and I get so much inspiration from sharing and sometimes creating images with them.

Instagram has helped me shift my focus and help my mind launch creative ideas instead of fears.

Three Ways to Cope with Feeling Lost in Your Twenties

I can’t tell you how much I have changed from age 16 to now. It’s as if I have become an entirely different person annually. However, every year there have always been a month or two where I feel completely lost. I begin to question if my career is what I want to pursue, if I’m studying the right subjects in school, if I even want to continue school, where my relationships are going, and worst of all I begin to question my worth, and if I really measure up in the world. The only thing that gets me through these periods is knowing (after enduring many of them) that it’s a growth cycle that comes and goes.

Before the wind picks up and stirs you back in the right direction for you, here are a few ways that I have managed these periods in the past:

1. Personality testing. There are two personality tests that I think are both accurate and give insights to even the most reflective person. First, is the Myers Briggs personality test. This is the test that indicates four letters to determine your characteristics. For example, I am an INFJ, which stands for-introverted, intuitive, feeling, judging. Reading on this type really put into perspective how I see the world and what my strengths are as a person. Second is my favorite, the Enneagram test. This test determines a detailed look into your biggest desires and fears, and I felt as if this test was staring into my most fragile core. The test reveals the darker and more unique aspects of the personality, and I still look back to the articles published by other 4s (there are nine numbers total). I look for how 4s cope with jobs, relationships, and even school. There is a lot of information and even books on these subjects. Also, there are great resources for career and hobby strengths for all of these types.

2. Snowball effect. Without knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing, spend time doing what you love most without judging yourself. Whether that’s reading for hours, writing, shopping, building, it doesn’t matter if it turns into anything tangible at all. As you keep doing what you love, as a part of self-care during these times, you will naturally being to snowball into greater ideas, projects, desires, and passions. As these come, the right people will connect with you to make these projects start working. Even something small like reading the latest bestseller by the pool can spark an idea or desire you never would have otherwise guessed. Don’t judge yourself for enjoying yourself, because through that often comes your natural purpose. Purpose comes from being as much as doing (maybe even more).

3. How do you like helping people? I’ve always said to myself “your suffering becomes your service”. However you like helping people is probably linked to your bigger path. It can be something seemingly small like commenting nice things on photos, standing up to cruel actions from another, or it can be going to other countries and connecting with people in hard emotional or economic conditions. Wherever you like to help is likely a good place to start focusing on. When we focus on others, our own focus because a lot more clear.

Please connect if you have any thoughts or ideas. Thank you.