Monday, June 11, 2012

standing with one leg in the sink

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I decided to wear a girly girl skirt. It is kind of poufy like a tutu, not overly so, but for me it just feels really girly.

I am not a frilly girl, I have always been this way. I can appreciate bows, ribbons, curls and other ruffles that are associated with little girls, but compared to my sister I never took as easily to those things. After putting on the skirt and giving a twirl in the mirror, I felt decidedly girly!

After spending some time with my year old niece the day before, I felt a freshness breathed back into my attitude. She is so gentle and naturally dainty, loves her bows and rocks cute pink shoes. She is also a poignant reminder how the little ones watch and learn so much from our actions.

My sis takes care to allow her to be recognized as a girl and also not to put stamps and identity through that, which I love :) It can be daunting to feel that girly bar raised higher and higher as you grow and so many identifiers along the way.

I had about three minutes in my morning routine before the "must be in the car" deadline.  I decided I needed a last minute shave of the knees and shins to complete my readiness and face the day complete as a girl. I have a tiny stall shower and shaving in that dark corner of a place is challenging enough, so my thought pattern goes......

"Hey I can just stick a leg in the pedestal sink and get on down the road."
...Quick spray of shave cream and so on.

As soon as I put the first leg into the sink, my memory conjured up the first time I secretly shaved in my bedroom in sixth grade with a Tupperware bowl and my mom's borrowed pink Bic (there was a little blood, and fun bonding with mom when I was discovered).

Then a quick montage flash ran the filmstrip of one Zillion locker room minutes from my stint with girls sports through high school and sportscamps: Laughing, pranking, bras, boys and hairspray....

Yet another memory flash of clips:
Behind the scenes in bathrooms, dressing rooms, youth camps and sharing bunk rooms in adult years, and places where women are minus men.Oh how we interact and pass on old wives tales, birthing stories, makeup  and dating tips and just being girls. The flowing and flowering interactions being in proximity to women, older, younger, sharing space and time.

I am all for gender equality and realize that we are historically and genetically and cellularly all human. In my opinion, there truly is not a discernment, on some levels, between men and women. Arguably, in nature vs. nurture conversations, we have a cultural aspect to our wisdom. We learn who we are through the construct of our current culture.

Presently, the trending global connections and enhanced accessibility to other cultures we are able to expand as we age and incorporate new ideas into this cultural mishmash.

I worked hard to erase any lines of men vs. women in my makeup and found a dead end. When I choose to embrace and celebrate differences I feel more freedom.

As I put my second leg in the sink, I felt the pang of missing these interactions. I literally said, "Where are my girls at?" These events have fallen away from my life construct.  So many meetings with family or friends are big gatherings and with a number of people and more diffifcult to have those deeper and organic interactions that you have with smaller or split groups.

Recently I went to a yoga class that was for women only. I had paid ahead of time and showed up to the event as my smartphone calendar instructed me and not until I put the mat down did I realize there were no men in sight, none on campus and none hiding in the bathroom. The studio's mood was decidedly giddy (in part due to those running the class :) and also relaxed in the way that women, in my experience, are behind closed doors; a veil, mask and edge comes off as we soften into each other.

Its not that we perform for the men, I think we are just called upon by them for certain things and they desire/need specific interactions. When men are not present, we dive fully into femininity with no excuses, no barriers.

And this isn't all pretty or petty... Women can be very strong and opinionated and nervous around other women. It has taken me many years to become comfortable within my own skin and flush out relationships with other females. There were many times I was bullied, embarrassed or feeling just plain out of place.

I can recall a first experience in fifth grade, changing out for gym in the room adjacent to the stage. It was such an odd room and poorly lit and the stage was next to the cafeteria so there was this hollowness to the walls and we could hear everything happening outside.

Couple the outer noise with the activity in the room, many girls trying not lose ribbons and keep shoes straight and I don't remember anywhere to sit... it was intensely exciting; being the oldest grade at the school and such important tasks and responsibilities lie ahead. This was where we stood up for our friends, witnessed different developing bodies and could see the true nature of each other.

This year I was blessed to be in a women's circle for a time, where ladies from my community group met weekly. We had no agenda, just a designated time and place...and beautiful sharing and growth commenced.  A palpable support net was woven and we witnessed birthing of deep desires, being able to call them forward and give them voices and eyes through all of us.

  • Create a special space and time with those in your gender group or within your family to meet and just be.
  • Carve out time with yourself to recall interactions you have had in the past and how those have shaped you and your relationships you have had and are having today.
  • Heal any wounds from past experiences with a group and give them the bandaid they deserve! Think on how you might be able to interact/react differently or with new eyes.
  • Feel the support of your kinsmen and women even when they are not around you. and then seek them out and let them know they are special to you ;)
All this to say, I remembered, missed and yearned for more Girly time this morning as I was standing with one leg in the sink...


chrispy and susannah said...

First off, lovely writing, I'm glad you took the time to put it down and share it!

I also applaud you tackling the subject matter - it's worthy of much more discussion and honest sharing.

It made me recall that this past week I went to lunch with two women, we met up with a third mutual woman acquaintance there. I was struck - positively, not at all mocking - by how nice they were to each other. They each took the natural time to say something about something specific, to comment on something changed, to follow up on something discussed prior to that time. Just to be really nice and present to each other.

There was no fake-air-cheek kissing, no 'oh, girlfriend, you look fierce!', just nice on the point compliments and attention. It was really enjoyable, and a pleasure to witness. I circulate so well in the female world because of yoga, so I'd like to think they were being more 'natural' around me!

Miss ya, come out to class, soon!! xoxox chrispy

thundercloudcat said...

Thank you! Chrispy. Your blog post on 50 shades of gray and the corresponding commentary was behind the scenes for me on this train of thought. I whole heartedly agree that women in my experience and culturally in America are unusually cruel by design. My experiences up until the last five years, and since I am lucky to be surrounded by conscious community and yoga practitioners, was I able to have the more positive experiences. We are usually competitive and down putting when first let out of the gates. I am grateful I was able to unlearn much and be in the presence of whole hearted females.

thundercloudcat said... i tried to embed the link in the previous comment