Embracing your feminine/masculine essence.
Regardless of gender, sex, or sexual preference - inside us all is a feminine or masculine essence. This is not a bad thing. Most people lean more heavily towards one side of the spectrum than the other. Perhaps, uncommonly, you're equal parts of both! It doesn't matter which you are, as long as you're honest with yourself about it.
With societal expectations about gender roles changing over the last 50 or so years, we've shifted into an age where there's more gender equality than ever before. (Keep in mind that I'm no expert on any of this, I'd just like to share with you some thoughts about what I've discovered.) What I've noticed in myself, is that in an attempt to make myself 'equal' to men, I've ignored the feminine essence at my core. Recently, I've begun to move away from this and really embrace my feminine essence. Which brought to my attention that I'd spent most of my life fighting against it!
In my younger years, I always thought of myself as a tomboy. I liked wearing baggy pants and baggy t-shirts. Didn't like skirts and dresses. Hated pink. And a HATED my long hair with a fierce passion. As I grew older, I distanced myself from emotions, never cried, hated romance, was uncomfortable expressing my feelings, and felt the need to exert power over others. If a male displayed any overt dominance when hitting on me, I would throw it back in his face faster than he could flex a muscle. And you know what? I liked being like this. I felt in control of who I was, and nobody was going to put me in a box because of my gender.
Now, don't get me wrong. I discovered a lot about myself on this journey, and developed important aspects of my personality. The best thing I've ever done is shave my head. So I in no way regret my early defiance of femininity.
Unfortunately, I think I took it too far. In my efforts to be true to myself regardless of gender, I ignored a core part of myself. In the last year or so, I've begun to very slowly discover my feminine essence. I didn't realise what was happening at first, and I remember thinking, what is wrong with me? Why am I being so girly? Girls smell!
For the first time in my life I truly and fully appreciated my body. Sounds totally lame - but when you're hell bent on not acting like a woman, it's sort've hard to accept your body. "Damn boobs, no one takes me seriously with these things!" Suddenly I stopped seeing my body as a giant billboard for inadequacy, and started seeing it as powerful in it's own right. And it felt damn good!
Other things started changing too, I noticed that when I heard a sad news story on the radio, I would actually tear up. And even *gasp* start crying. This was unheard of for me previously. When watching films with even the slightest hint of romance or love, now I turn to a puddle of gooey pink mush. And I ENJOY it. Weird, right? Suddenly I loved to cook, which I'd always flat out hated. I'm expressing my feelings without rationalising them first - which doesn't sound good, but let me tell you it's a hell of a lot healthier than repressing them.
Somehow.... I BECAME A GIRL. Nay, a woman! And you know what? It's because I finally let go of this idea of who I needed to be. Which is funny, because fighting for who I wanted to be was what got me here in the first place. Ironic much? Who knows, that word has lost all meaning unless you're Alanis Morissette. I've still got a bit of a way to go - I'm still uncomfortable at the prospect of being 'girly'. But I'm on my way to finding my most genuine self. Which will ultimately be a balance of the masculine traits I developed early on and then the feminine traits I'm discovering now. Now, I'm not saying everyone just give in to your gender and that's who you are. It's not about that. What I'm saying is - really dig deep and figure out who you are. Don't let other people, or societal constraints or - most importantly - your own idea of who you should be get in the way of who you are. Or who you could become. Because I can tell you from experience, embracing my feminine essence - no matter how lame old Erika thinks that is - has made me much happier.
Anyway - I hope my rambling made an iota of sense to you. Really what I've learnt is to be myself and don't hold back anything. Can't we all just be our fabulous selves!? Let me know in the comments if you could relate to any of this :)