I wrote an article almost two years back about female vulnerability. I reference it from time to time because it was at a period in my life where I was beginning a relationship with someone and I was a questioning how to let them in. I was not able to be raw on any level. They were resistant to the fact that I was always busy, always planned, organized and running my own life. There was no room for them. It made me think some two or so years ago, how as women we are told to be these strong, independent powerhouses, yet that seems to not be what attracts men. We are told to put on our armour and walk with the men, in business, in the gym, walk as equals. However, with years of sexual inequality genetically programmed into our existence, we naturally cary a fear of being called or seen as weak.
Gender roles are assumed from the moment we are born with pink blankets, bows and dresses in our closet. We grow into these roles and sometimes deviate based on our likes, our habits or sexual preference. I’m proud to live in a time that has come a long way, although still has far to go. In 2019 regardless of how your parents dressed you at 2 years of age, you can dress yourself and openly be, love and grow into who you want to be. We have come so far, with so much further to go. And thats okay. If we live in the present and acknowledge where we sit today, we are fortunate.
So why is it that with a societal shift in accepting females as powerful, self-sufficient individuals we have pushed ourselves so far the opposite way, closing ourselves off to what is considered soft and vulnerable? There comes that question again…. vulnerability… two years later, this lingering word still seems like an impossible feat to me.
Let me reference my own personal experience to better explain myself. I am a control freak. Shocking, I know. The odds were against me from the beginning. I was born a virgo. That should have been the first sign. Raised by two entrepreneurial parents, and 4 entrepreneurial, independent and powerful grandparents. Yikes. I was doomed to demand nothing less than absolute control over my life and perfection of myself. I went to an all-girls private school were the ideology of FEM-POWER was instilled in us. Where you were set apart solely by your success, with no personal expression in fashion (hi - kilted uniform!), where awards for academia, superior performance and OCD were praised. Lack there of any of these components was looked at as weak. There it is again. That word….weak! Not to mention that boys were of zero competition and in fact irrelevant in our achievements. The concept of love, communication and spirituality was never addressed, there was no time. We were building ourselves into strong women. At home there was no notion that failure was an option, at school there was no praise for being open or vulnerable, in my upbringing there was no safe space for a girl to be anything less than powerful, challenging, and loud. And so I followed suit like I’m sure so many of you did as well. I adapted this mentality that cultivated a wall around me. Today, I AM loud, and challenging, and powerful. I have sat in boardrooms with male CEOs and challenged them without a question in my mind. I have run, spun and lifted more than many athletic and physical men at my gym. And finally my ability to use my sexual energy has more often then not always gotten me what I wanted in the immediate present.
You might be thinking, so whats the problem here? You wanted to rant about how hard it is to be as powerful as you are….. insert eye roll. No, and so far from it. I want to open a conversation. I lack the ability to let anyone see a soft inside because these components instilled in me are all about a strong outside. They form a shell. It’s a front, a barrier, what seems as a curse if you must. The spectrum in my life and so many women among us entrepreneurs and aspirational world changers, was so heavily weighted to the side of an overpowering masculine energy that feminine softness was repressed. In my youth I searched for it in so many places from art, drama and writing. I looked for real people to have real conversations with and with that came a lot of disappointment, misunderstanding and a return to my work. I’m stuck to my ways and now here I am.
Here is the issue. Women don’t want anyone to see them as weak after all of the equality fights, the social growth and a change generations before us fought for. My grandmother would roll in her grave if I stepped aside for a man to take over. So we focus our thoughts and try and control where were going, obsess about the past and bettering it, consume ourselves with how people see us and what type of window we allow ourselves to look through. All within our control of the situation. Is this the pleasure of power or the curse of control?
What we don’t realize is with a lack of softness, we are building these walls higher and higher. For someone to fully love us we need to show softness. We need to show that we are willing to be vulnerable. This starts with first doing it, and secondly empowering others to as well. In relationships partners don’t want to feel like you’re focused on the future, they want to understand who we are in the moment. The rawness that flows through our bodies is or most authentic beauty. The softness and uncertainty that makes us feminine. In my relationship I’m learning that sometimes that means so much more than control and power. That person who is uncomfortable, uncertain, learning and growing is most probably exactly who my partner wants. And to let another person in to where you are now in your life, to join that story, you need to let them see that story. Let them love you here and now, not who you were in past wounds and traumas, not who you wish to be, BUT YOU. I read this eye opening quote by love coach Rori Raye that says “He likes me better where I am than where I wish I was”.
I’m learning that the reality here is if we wish to be strong as we are told, be independent and take care of ourselves, that’s okay. But what we really need to understand and support each other on as women, is the united force of LOVE, the ability to be soft on the outside, to be open to love, and ultimately that acceptance and interior strength, is what will let weakness show on the outside. Maybe we’ve had it all backwards? It’s not about the exterior barriers that make us embody FEM-POWER, but rather softening our grip on control, embracing stillness, softness and ultimately the strength INSIDE of us. This is exposed beauty, and that’s our real power.