As my hair dances with the wind, the weaving of the world takes my breath away, once again
‘Leneth, not so loud please’, is a sentence I used to hear at least once a day when I was younger. Ever since I could speak, I have had a loud voice – from a screeching, high-pitch to (now, I’d like to think) strong and out-there. And from a young age, I have learnt that that was a bad thing.
I wasn’t the only one – my dad’s side of the family was known for their volume. And what my 10-year-old self didn’t understand, was why this was a bad thing for me but ‘ something he just has’-shrug-with-the-shoulder for the male side of the family.
I now see this as such a clear example of the difference in society’s expectations of both genders. This is not to blame my family or any one else specifically for what happened there – it actually lays bare a problem I have since been subconsciously aware of: my outspoken voice has no place in society. It is unsafe for me to speak up. It makes me less desirable when I speak my truth and speak it with passion – and it should my main aim in life to become and stay desirable.
A number of years ago I found myself in a position – of which in hindsight, I’m not sure I’ve ever been in before: outside of the male gaze. I ended my relationship on rather abrupt terms (read: intuitive, so inexplicable and intangible), moved out of our shared apartment into a small studio, and was completely by myself, for the first time in years. Or maybe ever.
My grounds were shaking. My head was rattling. I slept for days and scrolled mindlessly for nights. Until I found myself breathing in and out, first on my couch, then on a cheap yoga mat, then just simply, with my bare shoulders and legs lying sprawled on the floor. I twisted my body in yoga poses and pressed my nose and eyes in women’s memoirs and spiritual handbooks. I quite literally found myself.
And only years later, I see why that period felt so liberating. It wasn’t just because I ended a draining relationship. It was more: I created a space to explore, to become – or rather, to unbecome everything I felt I needed to be, do and think to be classified as a ‘woman’.
I realised that through my newfound love for yoga, meditation, crystals, card pulling and incense I was finding ways to feel into my body and contemplate what it meant to be a woman. I discovered new spiritual practices, which connected me deeper to my true sense of self. I uncovered layers of myself I had long been told to cover up. I laid on the floor, connecting to the earth. I basked in the sun, letting my hair dance with the wind. In hindsight, I started my process of rewilding*.
Outside of the male gaze, I started to reclaim my sensitivity and spirituality. It was there I realised how interwoven my deeper understanding of life was with my reconnection to womanhood. The cycles within and around me showed me the wisdoms of my female body. Trusting crystals as supporters of energy connected me to Mother Earth. The pulling of a card loudened my intuitive voice.
It was there, on the floor, that I started to tell my younger self, who got silenced for being a passionate soul in a girl’s body: it’s time to clear your throat. It’s time to reclaim all parts you were before the silencing. I see you, I embrace you, and I am taking your hand to rise up together.
How do your spiritual practices enforce your womanhood? And how does your perception of feminism invite in spirituality?
* Rewilding carries different meanings in different contexts. In my own spiritual process, I refer to it as returning home to my inner wild woman – the liberated, free, powerful and strong spiritual woman I am deep down. This woman is connected to energies within and around her, connected to nature and sees herself as part of the bigger picture of Mother Nature/the Universe/Source.