that dirty f-word

Dave & I joke that my sailor-mouth (with its infinity for the four-letter f-word that rhymes with fuck) (see what I did there) was birthed on the way up my first 14er in Colorado. In fact, it propelled me.

But today, I want to talk about another dirty f-word.

Feminist.

I am petrified of that word.

I really didn’t know that until recently.

But it’s true.

You see, all my life, I have not only accepted the patriarchy… I have operated my life, gladly, on its axis.

But recently my therapist–with her damned & damning questions–asked me:

What does it mean for you to be a woman?

[insert mind blown emoji her]

Um…

I think about my 3rd grade report card when my teacher gave me glowing remarks punctuated with a slap: “She is bossy.” Would she have said that about a boy?

I think about how even as a teenager, I came to the conclusion that my innate capacity to influence & guide & speak & inspire was mismatched to my gender & so… I gave it up. I gave up on what I could never achieve because I was only meant to bloodily birth the world, not to boldly lead it.

I think about how I was molded into & corrected into & discipled into the form of a submissive & demure & skinny sidekick for my first boyfriend. But it didn’t fit. And then I was rejected. Which in my math-word-problem-world meant that who I was as a woman was rejected.

I think about how after that I read Fascinating Womanhood & studied Proverbs 31 & convinced myself that yes, I could do this, I could be less to be more. This was, after all, what He proclaimed; it was His way.

Even my god was male.

How does that happen? How do we reduce the Thing that is Everything to only half? How do we stuff into a labeled box the Cardboard that the Box is literally made of?

Speaking of boxes: GOD DOESN’T HAVE A PENIS PEOPLE.

I sound like an angry feminist, don’t I?

Ugh.

I have spent my life in resistance to the racist & classist systems of oppression that keep students down, all the while ignoring the system that is holding ME–a woman–down.

And as I turn inward, as I simultaneously devour & regurgitate The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd, I realize that I have lived my entire life wishing I was a man.

Because…what does it mean to be a woman?

Wrong. Less. Worse.

I was in an institution created by men and for men. (Sue Monk Kidd)

I don’t even know where to go. I don’t even know what questions to ask.

I don’t even know if I’m ready.

But on this International Women’s Day, it just felt right to reflect, to confess, to publicly wave a white flag.

To tell the truth about my life.

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