I would like to pre-empt all that I say and all that I write with:
If this does not apply to you, ”Congratulations! Please stop listening or reading now! You Rock! Rock On!”
What I say or write is personal and extreme in nature, and I am simply sharing what I feel and think as a means of connecting with others.
We are born storytellers and we are also geared to find the metaphors (how we can relate it to our own life) in all the stories we hear. Our sense of connection comes when we can call out, “Me too!” and we thank God that we are not alone, or in actual fact, that one, crazy freak.
Our lives are metaphors; they are different stories with very similar meanings.
We are one, but we are many.
When we hear someone’s story, our internal dialogue changes and we are able to soothe our fears because we are able to relate to someone else’s experience. You come to realise: You belong. You are good enough and you are loved.
When women connect, without ego, without judgment or competition, the world rocks on its axis! When such women collaborate, great things happen.
When we come together in the spirit of sisterhood, we are truly “walking each other home.”
There is an African saying,” If you want to go fast, go alone,
If you want to go far, go together.”
And sisters we have far to go.
I was infinitely blessed to have been born in the “Cradle of Mankind”, in Africa the Motherland. And it was in Africa that I observed and learned about women as a sisterhood. It was in this archaically patriarchal society that I saw women collaborate and go far.
Sisters, way, way before this, though, in Medieval times, in a far away land, Women ruled supreme. There was goddess worship, there was Mother Nature and Sister Moon, and all things Feminine were lauded as powerful and magical. The Mystic Feminine was god and communed with the Angels.
Then religion was formalized. Most religions created a hierarchy of male clerics. From Catholicism to Islam, from the Jewish to the Christian, women were ordered to cover up and quieten down. No more of this fertile/fecund, wild beauty! No more passionate abandon and feminine chaos. The sun and moon, the stars and the seasons, the women and the waves were corralled into regulated calendars and so repressed and disciplined.
(The word Lunatic – affected by the moon – came to mean mad, insane. But the tides and women’s’ menstrual cycles are directly affected by the magnetism of the moon!)
And so the systematic repression of women began and body shaming was born.
The first action was to cover the female form in both shame and cloth, to render all feminine functions of reproduction shameful, secret and dangerous to men.
Ironically in this error of suppression, men became gormless, foolish beasts lacking autonomous self-control and totally at the mercy of the “witch-like” power of the female form.
Submission in thought and deed was next, and was required of a virtuous wife. Women in all their chaotic, hormone-fuelled lunacy were micro-managed into this passivity.
While Religion was booming, men, being proprietorial, saw the world, like women, in need of conquering and possessing, and so Empires and Nations and States were claimed. This and masculine, linear thinking, lead to the creation of Royalty, Politicians and Academia. In which men were kings and scholars.
(A consideration: I hardly think the whole “conquering and possessing” by Neanderthal man ever happened. I bet he never dragged his woman into the cave by her hair. He was far too grateful that she had invented the wheel! Think about it: she was not physically strong and had to do the gathering, a trolley she needed! Also the fire thing, for food and children….Us women, we think laterally, we are engineered that way.)
I don’t say this in a hateful way. I love men and boys; they are wonderful in so many ways. Delightfully brave and stable and strong and the most fabulous Yin to our Yang. But it was their instinctual fear that drove them to conquer and repress the huge wave of female anarchy.
So, we were covered and shamed and silenced. Our bodies and our minds were taboo!
But we found our way. Us women are good like that!
They took our wings so we used brooms. They became the head, we learned to be the neck and turn the whole thing around! We created silent sisterhoods, subversive secret societies, and continued to share the sacred feminine. You know; quilting circles, yarn-making days, preserving fruit mornings, all gentle activities were young women could learn the secrets to marriage and life. We are poorer for not having these. Sisters don’t need to congregate anymore. Sisters really should.
And so we fed generations and we bred kings. We started in the kitchens and bedrooms, and once our men were satisfied, we took ourselves out into the hospitals and schools, and once our people were healed and more educated we took ourselves out there. We are filtering ourselves; drop by hard earned drop back into a more whole world. We are clever that way.
Look at us now! Here we are, collectively, man, woman and child, working together for the greater good. Pfft ignore the media – they are fear mongering – we are as humans stronger, kinder and wiser than what the papers will have us believe.
Let’s stop for a moment and reflect:
Academically we are unstoppable. Check.
Spiritually we are free today to follow any religion we choose, or not. Check.
Emotionally and psychologically we are more “in touch” and our mental health is becoming just as important as our physical health.
Physically….. Well let’s check:
Could everyone please stand up and remove all their clothes.
NO!! You scream.
OMG! Fear grips you.
Our minds are free. Our religion is our choice. Our voices are loud and our thoughts our own… but our bodies….
Now there is a territory that we forgot, left behind, along this journey of liberation!
The ultimate machine, the vehicle to our dreams, the procreator of future generations……well, what can we say.
We left our bodies holding on to all the shame and repression that our ancestors were smothered in.
We had a sexual revolution, sure! Our fashion industry makes money in line with Oil and Big Pharma.
But our bodies, our vehicles, are relics on which we hang shame and dissatisfaction.
Our bodies are so unbelievably awesome. They work and exist in a magical, unimaginably complex way. Serving us daily.
They are the vessel that houses our soul.
They are the birthplace of humanity.
They soldier on, regardless of our abuse.
Our bodies are our quiet workhorses, servants to our wants and needs.
Vehicles moving us towards our hopes and dreams.
Our bodies are subject to our constant barrage of criticism, our dissatisfaction and generally our starving or gorging.
What if we celebrated what our bodies DO and not submit to the shame of how we look, because how we should look was a construct of a system that we no longer buy into, in all other aspects of our lives?
Our bodies were taken first by force and repression, why do we leave them until last to liberate, why do we perpetuate the shame?
Our bodies were and still are fearfully powerful. We were goddesses once and still are.
But we have been taught shame and dissatisfaction and in that there lies our weakness.
Men have beer bellies and egos.
We have baby bellies and shame.
We need to take our bodies back. We need to take ownership of our bodies in all their glorious forms.
We need to celebrate our bodies, because really, how has hating your body worked for you so far? Yea, soothe it with sugar baby, or wine sugar!
Women are the victims of much abuse; domestic violence, rape, misogynistic verbal abuse, public scrutiny, slut shaming, monster mother mafia….. You name it!
Let’s take our bodies back!
Would you allow anyone to speak to your child – son or daughter – the way you or perhaps someone else speaks to you? No! Of course not! Indignant no! Vehement no!
Well then, stop treating yourself so poorly.
Your internal dialogue, that constant voice in your head, what is it saying to you?
What are you believing about yourself?
Well, is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it fair?
Would you say it to your friend?
Would you say it to your daughter?
So stop saying it to you.
Because quite frankly it’s been long enough, and I don’t think it’s working!
When you were little you learned how to treat yourself and learned what to think of yourself. Primarily from your family and secondarily from your peers. Your mum would have been a powerful role model (as you may be today).
You learned how to treat yourself through defining moments, moments in which you chose to believe a certain thing about yourself.
Well guess what? With all due respect you may have been misled or even lied to! Face it your mum had a lot of shit going on!
Let me share how I first chose to believe that I was not good enough (we’ll get to the not belonging and the not loveable in due course).
When…(my story here)
Good thing is our beliefs can change. Our values create a solid foundation, unshifting, but our beliefs can change. Remember when you believed in Santa and the Toothfairy? Well do you believe now? No, because you learned the facts. Remember when it was ok to suntan all day smeared in Johnson’s baby oil because a tan was healthy and sexy. Mmhmmm. Pregnant mothers smoked and men worked with asbestos. No longer. The more we educate ourselves, the better equipped we are to create belief systems that serve and support us.
So if you pare it right back, your body has a 100% success rate of functioning well enough each and every day to keep you alive. Go your body.
I’m sure it’s been sick and I’m sure it’s been broken, but you are alive! Wellness will come. Look at all our amazing resources and contacts. Look at all the facts and foods and fabulous people around us. Wellness can and will come.
1.Thank your body when you wake in the morning; choose 1 thing for which to be grateful for that day and affirm it throughout the day.
“ I have strong legs”, “My vision is good”, “Both my hands do amazing work”, “I have a damn fine set of lungs”
2. At the end of the day, in the bath, shower or bed, give thanks for what you noticed about your body that day.
“Thank you feet for carrying me”, “Thanks bones!” and whatever you feel grateful for. (That fine set of lungs again!)
3. Weekly take note of 3 things that you were able to do and that you enjoyed.
I read my book; I hugged my child; I walked my dog; I spoke to a friend.
4. Plan to reward your body daily
Eat something green
Do something good for your heart
Have an essential oils bath
Paint your nails
Small actions practiced daily create fabulous and empowering habits.
Once you are able to acknowledge yourself, you will find it easier, if somewhat humbling, to thank yourself, and so the flow on effect will be the desire to reward yourself with self-care and nourishment.
(An Aside: Men tend to be outwardly destructive when they have unresolved personal issues. They tend to lash out, drink, break or destroy their possessions or relationships. Their pain manifests outwardly, because what exists outside of them is what they feel they can control. Women, on the other hand, tend to punish themselves directly. Manifesting their pain inwardly by abusing their bodies. They overeat, starve, self-harm or choose abusive partners. Women will hurt themselves before they hurt others, but if they hurt themselves for long enough they will hurt those who love them.)