Femininity, I can’t say the word let alone spell it, the m’s n’s get me in a muddle and so often I avoid using the word altogether. My dyslexia makes it hard to say and to spell but there are other reasons I have in the past not felt an affinity to the word.
I have felt removed, detached like it was not a word that described anything I could recognise or feel.
I rejected the word because I felt like it rejected me.
Me my femininity and I have not always seen eye-to-eye.
In fact we have been devoid of each other a lack of connection, a split and inherent misunderstanding of the role that we played in each other’s life.
As a child I was not into girly things, yes I liked Beatrix Potter, but I mainly liked climbing trees, being outside and riding my bike.
Fast forward to this very day not much has changed, aside from the fact my body has shifted through teens to adult hood and now I am in my late 30’s with a body that feels like its bears a few scars as markers of the years gone by.
I feel like I have never conformed to the archetypal female. I chopped my hair short after years of it being really long and dressed in men’s clothes; I struggled to be comfortable in my own skin. I bought sports bras that fitted so tight reducing the size of my breasts; I worked out so much to shift any curves. I focused on growing muscle so I would look lean and be strong.
I calorie counted until I was so skinny and I thought I would be happy but I was miserable, I couldn’t get my body to fit what I wanted or who I felt like I was in my head.
Then enter Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a return of Alopecia who brought along its friend Vitiligo and Fibromyalgia.
My body internally and externally was stripping back of all I knew. My body stopped being able to move, I was consumed by overwhelming fatigue, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t eat without my body having reactions to food.
I couldn’t think, a low fog engulfing every space in my brain, my hair started to fall out in patches and my Vitiligo graced me with its presence on my face for the world to see.
Days and months became a sea of tests, sleeping, hurting, thinking and the regeneration of all that is feminine within me.
The shifting point was the day I decided to shave my head, the day I decided I wasn’t going to let my hair fall out, I would celebrate it and join it on its journey. That was liberating, I was stripped back, my face was there for all to see, the tiredness, the Vitiligo, the puffiness, but I didn’t care because it was me.
Infertility, autoimmune disorders, loss and grief create who I am today, it has gifted me the understanding of what it is to be feminine.
It is not having long hair, to have perfect skin an unrealistic body and it certainly is not being a Mother.
What makes me feminine? The way I feel, the way I think, and the way I allow myself to be guided by my intuition.
My strength and determination, my ability to sit and feel the challenging emotions, to let them rise and fall, to acknowledge them and celebrate them in all their glory.
To stand tall, to own my Alopecia, my Vitiligo, my CFS, my PCOS and my Infertility. Together they have a created a cocktail of experiences, layered, complex and churned together in my body, but that body is me.
CFS was a pause, a time to stop a time of reflection, and a time to tune into my body, my soul and feel what I really wanted.
I delved into my creativeness, swam in my thoughts and ideas, had wild imaginings and let my soul dance and sing.
I let my body dance the dance of the feminine. I let my soul sing a haunting melody of what has brought me to where I am today.
I reconnected with my inner child and now together we play and delight in our womanly abundance. I feel a strength within, I feel it rise and grow as I acknowledge it, listen to it and know that I am all-feminine.
I am me, I am strong, I am feminine, I am a wild woman, with fire in her belly and strength in her soul.
I am female hear me Roar!
Illustration by Rachel Sego
Rachel is the deisgner of Anotherhoods logo, check out her work on her website Rachel Sego Illustration or insat @rachelsegoillustration