We each have our own unique stories and scars. We could sit around the breakfast table or coffee table or camp fire swapping stories of pains caused by other women. Many of these stories would start in early childhood as we entered elementary school. There are the stories of betrayal from middle school. And let us not forget the stories of distrust and competition from our high school and college years. The stories continue on as we enter the workforce and motherhood: judging, snide and hurtful comments, more competition, and longing… always the longing to be accepted, to be enough, to not be too much.
We have our stories of how our mothers shamed us and our grandmothers silenced us.
We each have stories of the best girlfriends who broke our hearts in a million pieces with their cruelty, flippancy and apparent lack of caring.
We have so many stories of never feeling quite good enough. Of always needing to try harder, do better, prove and be more.
We each have the stories of being too much :: too loud, too quiet, too smart, too dumb, too fat, too thin, too ugly, too pretty, too sexual, too frigid… this list of seemingly contradicting too muchness could go on and on and on.
These are the stories of our wounding, of our mother wounds. These are the stories of pain passed down, generation after generation, mother to child, over and over again. These are the stories of being a woman in a patriarchal world.
I have written before, in this letter, on my blog, on Facebook, about these wounds. How shame seeps in and feeds these ideas. How we each carry within us a hatred, yes hatred, of the feminine and female. A hatred that was trained into us by our culture and bred into us by our ancestors. This internalized misogyny needs our shame to survive. It needs these stories of being too much and not enough to grow and take hold and be strong in our psyches and hearts and bodies.
This shame needs us isolated. Separate. Judging other women as we refuse to acknowledge our own Shadows and shortcomings.
This shame needs us silenced. And in our being silenced we are compelled to silence others. Our own voices and truths so stuck in our wombs and throats we can’t bear to hear the truth or voice of others.
This shame needs us doubting. We are gaslighted, over and over. And not only by our “frenemies” – we are gaslighted by our Selves and by those in our innermost circles.
This shame needs us hating our very being. To be disconnected from our bodies. To be disconnected from our spirit. To be stuck in our stories in our mind and to never, ever question or wonder or explore.
To melt this shame away, to battle it, to dance with it, we need each other. To gather together in circle. To witness and be witnessed. To be heard and seen and to open our hearts and minds to hear and see others.
To melt this shame away, we need to step out of isolation. To learn to stop trying to fix. To learn to allow others, and our Self, to be. To learn to stop comparing and judging.
To melt this shame away, we need to find our own voice. Our howls. Our wails. Our moans. Our growls. And to let them out, to give them breath.
To melt this shame away, we need to learn to know and trust Our Truth. To know and accept our experience as real. To no longer allow others to tell us what happened or didn’t happen to us or how to feel or think or act or be.
To melt this shame away, we need to learn to love. Our Self. Our body – her physicality and her wisdom. To connect to our spirit and the spiritual. To be curious and question and explore and rebel.
As I sink into my preparation for this next circle I come back again to the ideas of rebellion and revolution. To saying Fuck You to the status quo. To looking our culture square in the eye and yelling at the top of our lungs and depths of our wombs: WE ARE NOT FOLLOWING YOUR RULES ANY MORE. To connecting, deeply and truly, with other women. To connecting, wholly and sacredly, to our Self. To reclaiming our birthrights of power and sisterhood. To owning our strength and shadows and experiences and stories. To finding our voices, opening our throats, and letting our our roars and all the roars of all the generations that have been stuffed down and built up inside of us OUT.
This shame is insidious. It is tricky. It’s good at spinning stories. It takes mindfulness and intention to unravel these stories. It takes curiosity and a willingness to be wrong and imperfect. It takes an open heart and open mind. It takes connection and acceptance and love.
We each stumble on our journey to Self. We hit roadblocks and resistance. We dive in deep and then jump out of the water, needing to rest on the beach or the dock for a while. Not a one of us is perfect. And that is our beauty, it is our strength, it is one of our many our connecting threads.
Did you enjoy this? It’s from a love letter I sent out in April 2016. If you’d like to receive future love letters from me, you can subscribe right over here.