Sweats & Stilettos Please
Femininity has always been a prominent topic in my life, whether or not I understood and valued it back in the day as much as I do now. When I reflect upon the ways in which my relationship with my femininity has evolved throughout various phases of my life, I feel compelled to share this information with any womxn who struggles with loving their body and experiencing more pleasure, freedom and intimacy in their life.
From a young age, I unconsciously resisted the idea of becoming a ‘woman’. Not only was I too shy to ask my mom to get me a bra when my breasts started growing at 11 years old and totally freaked out by my period or anything associated with menstruation, I also couldn’t even talk about deodorant. I knew I needed it, but I didn’t know how to ask for it because I felt some sort of ancient shame. My mom wondered what the issue was when she asked me if I needed pads or deodorant or a bra. My face would get flushed and I’d get angry, shy and turn away and not respond… as if my impending womanhood was dirty or straight up unacceptable.
Despite resisting and denying the natural biological changes that were occurring throughout my puberty, it was just around this time when I started wearing makeup… and I mean like real deal makeup. The expensive stuff. I literally wore layers of liquid foundation, powder concealer, bronzer, blush, and other things that I understood at the time but honestly have no idea what their purpose is anymore. The thing is, I didn’t even need makeup. My face was fresh, pimple free and youthful when I started wearing it. Did it stay that way throughout my adolescence? Of course not. But that’s not the point. The point is, I associated femininity with changing/improving my physical appearance. With painting my face. Not only did I have to schedule at least 30 minutes to an hour per day to do my makeup, I also had to schedule a decent chunk of time to do my hair each morning. There wasn’t even a question about it, and there was no way I’d let anyone see me in my natural state. I don’t mean just taking a comb through it, no… I mean blow drying, curling and lots of hairspray… all just to go to school. And don’t get me started on the clothes…
All of this to say that my idea of being feminine or ‘sexy’ was completely entangled in how I appeared to other people. I was overly concerned with the way I looked, to the extent that I would endure discomfort at its expense. I remember when I used to go to nightclubs in New York City in my late teens and early 20s. I had a pair of fake blue contact lenses for my eyes. I have 20/20 vision. I didn’t need contact lenses. Not to mention, I also have blue eyes but these contact lenses made them appear ‘brighter and bluer’. I remember how much they would burn my eyes when I wore them, but I didn’t care because they looked good. I didn’t care that I had to suck my stomach in and pretty much not breathe for an entire night just to be able to wear a form fitting dress or tight skirt.
The intense desire to be liked and receive others’ approval conveniently lent itself to an eating disorder and the disappearance of my menstrual cycle for ten straight years in my 20s. I was living but not alive…
Things began shifting slowly after I started practicing yoga consistently. My relationship with my body and my mind began to shift. It felt relieving to let go of obsessing over my looks and embracing my natural beauty.
The desire to feel sexy never left. My current expression and experience of femininity is a feeling generated on the inside. I could be wearing stilettos or sweats, and the feeling is the same. My hair can be groomed to perfection or messy and unwashed and I still feel like a Goddess. I can eat a salad or a chocolate bar and my weight is unaffected. When I started to consider my body as a temple and a miracle as opposed to an obstacle to overcome, a feeling of primal pleasure and deep contentment rose in me like a fire that had been a dormant pilot flame for far too long (There’s nothing that brings out your natural glow quite like utter self-acceptance)… Instead of wondering how to earn someone else’s approval through my appearance, I check in with what would feel the most amazing on my skin and in my body (and to be honest, it’s usually cozy pajamas).😆
Femininity is an inside job. Of course, wearing a silky dress or your favorite lingerie can activate aspects of femininity within you, yet it’s important to know that your true femininity exists independent of your physical appearance and cannot be broken or lost.
I now celebrate my menstrual cycle which returned after I started advancing my yoga practice to include ancient Tao Tantric embodiment rituals, dance, slowing down, grounding and other practices that have been kept secret for far too long and are finally surfacing again.
Here are some practices to help you release the shame & ignite your feminine flame🔥 :
1. Self-Breast Massage
2. Sensual Dance
3. Walking In Nature
4. Crystal/Jade Egg Practice
6. Sensual Eating
7. Creating Healthy Boundaries