In the Being & Becoming Alumna group we are reading a chapter a month of Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run With The Wolves. It is deep reading and I find myself wanting to underline every single sentence in the book (yes, I’m one of those people). Every sentence speaks volumes beyond the limited numbers of words that are within it and stirs and nourishes so much within me.
The book echoes the work we have been doing in the Being & Becoming and (Un)Becoming circles, and will do in Awakening Our Womanline :: connecting deeply to our Feminine Self, our Feminine Source, our own embodied knowing. It is the work that many women find themselves craving and needing to do as they grow older, seeking their identity as a female in a patriarchal culture and trying to understand our values, our roles, our truth.
I mentioned in an Instagram post recently that I have recently uncovered another layer of my own internalized misogyny. Using the words internalized misogyny is part of my tearing away of that layer. Looking at yet another way women play small and don’t stand in our own strength and power.
Something that many of us do is to dumb our Self down: we play small, we say we aren’t smart, we act as if we don’t understand. We allow others to use the big words and we downplay our degrees, or we say because we don’t have the degrees that means we aren’t intelligent or our writing isn’t good enough or whatever the long list of things we are told that we have internalized.
The Truth is, My Truth is, this is bullshit. The women who gather in my circles, the women who read this weekly love letter, the women who I surround myself with in my day-to-day life are beautiful, highly intelligent, competent, and worthy people. If they weren’t, if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be called to do this depth work into your Self, into your own knowing.
And so I dance with another Shadow and I face her and we smile at each other and we hold hands and I thank her for letting me see her, and she thanks me for seeing her. And now that she is seen and known, I can hold her close and take the lead and allow another part of my Light to shine brighter. As I play with this new found aspect of my Shadow, I may start using “big words” and sometimes may sound more academic than poetic.
I also may write more about feminism, the patriarchy, oppression. Or rather, I will continue talking and writing about those concepts, and may start naming them instead of dancing around their names.
This has been part of embracing my (mother’s & grandmothers) roars. Realizing how deeply ingrained it can be in us to not let the world see or hear us, to “play nice,” to not speak out, to not use what my grandfathers called “fifty-cent words.” The truth is, I am smart, as were my mother and grandmothers. I have intelligence and I don’t need to hide it to make others feel comfortable. Yes, I can be a bit vague and ditsy at times too, and I don’t need to play those moments up in order to play down my vocabulary, my knowledge, or my “book smarts.” And neither do you.
Throughout history smart women who utilize their voices has threatened the status-quo. These women have changed history. They have also been subjects of torture, rape, oppression and murder. Historically, and even currently, there has been and is a risk to using our voice and showing our intelligence. =These traumas and realities live in our very cells, in our DNA. These stories live in our bones, our blood, our wombs.
The experiences of the women who came before us are alive in us. We have the choice and opportunity (and in my opinion, responsibility) to listen to those stories, to connect to these women, to heal these wounds and traumas and to let out our own roars, to gather the all the strength and power within us and to create the world we want to live in by making change happen.
Will you join me?
Did you enjoy this? It’s from a love letter I sent out in March 2016. If you’d like to receive future love letters from me, you can subscribe right over here.