A new friend waved her freshly manicured hand around as she talked to me about eroticism, sensuality and beauty.
"Getting your nails done in Mexico is so much more expensive than it is in Puerto Rico," she explained to me.
"Really?" I asked nonchalantly. I didn't care for manicures and beauty much anymore. In fact, I had just finished burning the word "vanity" on a piece of paper during the last full moon in Leo to rid myself of all my self-concerned ways. The only reason I'd gotten my hair done this year (for the first time in ages) was to brighten my ends for the wedding I was supposed to have in August. I figured that was an important enough event to justify the time, money, energy and conceitedness I'd associated with primping these days.
I was even showing up on Instagram lives without touching my hair or putting on makeup to show myself how little I cared. It'd even become an extremely rare event that I'd pose for a photo for the last few years for fear of coming off as self-absorbed or girly.
Girly... what a strange thing to be afraid of, I noticed.
Strange that I have no problem identifying as a frat-star, but recoil at the idea of seeming girly.
I spent the next few days psychoanalyzing myself.
I'm getting my nails done, I decided.
I booked myself an appointment mid-day and went for the full enchilada: gel polish, pointed acrylics, and hand-dotted golden glitter sprinkled across each nail. The whole thing cost me $100. I nearly passed out. Getting your nails done in Puerto Rico is expensive.
I noticed myself admiring my nails as I performed simple tasks like cooking, typing, cleaning or even as I talked with my hands. So vain, stop looking at them, I'd catch my mind saying to me.
I felt pretty, polished, and nice. The inner work is what matters. This is all the patriarchal not-enoughness you haven't healed.
I'd snap out of my asphyxiation and go back to more productive behaviors.
Beauty is trivial. What would people think if they knew you cared what you looked like? Get to work.
I took a deep breath as I witnessed all these thoughts my meditation practice had taught me to observe. I watched as I defended, judged, deflected and ridiculed myself. I watched as I set expectations unrealistic to the current societal standard's pressures as if I could carry the weight of the world, of women, of the patriarchy, of my lineage and my past on my own shoulders. I watched as I talked down to myself in the same way ex-boyfriends had told me, "don't be one of those girls," and older men had told me how they liked my body or how "stunning" I was when I was pouring from my vulnerable soul or the bright intellect of my mind. I watched as I tried to implicate the feminist agenda to abolish the beauty industry, while simultaneously trying to unwind the generations of conditioning the women in my life had taught me about looking good.
I considered all I'd seen in my twenty-five years on earth: skinny models, edited ads, diet-culture, unnamed waitresses in skimpy bathing suits my dad would have on stage to deliver him and the band drinks that everyone would bash after the show even though they still had them come to every city around the world, disproportionate, perfect barbie dolls in my pastel pink baby bedroom, my name on trash media websites with commentary on me in bikinis that rank higher on the web than my features in Forbes and ABC News, the creepy comments I'd somehow been trained to thank instead of reprimand, and not to mention the endless stream of social media filtered influencers being pumped into my brain.
I couldn't find the balance between embracing my femininity and feeling safe.
So I gave up on it.
The compassionate part of me was hard to hear against all the critical screaming in my head, but I listened hard to hear her: your femininity is your key to sensuality, your confidence, your integration, your power. Your femininity is not to be ashamed of. The shame is true patriarchy. Let's heal, lovingly.
I realized how afraid I was to admit the shadow of my feminine: my weakness, my dependencies, my vanity, my desire to be loved, my neediness, my eroticism, my beauty.
I realized how much quicker I was to embrace the shadow of the masculine: my control issues, my intimacy-avoidance, my addiction to adrenaline.
For these things, I hold no shame over.
For these things, society has taught me are better than my femininity.
It is my womanhood that I am ashamed of.
It is women that I am ashamed of.
It is myself that I am ashamed of.
The patriarchy isn't just outside of me.
I am the patriarchy.
When it hit me, I sobbed hysterically as tears seeped through the cracks of my closed eyes. I guess I kept them shut because the reality was too scary to look at. The patriarchy leaked inside of me like an insidious toxic gas. But I know the only way out is through. I know that this is shadow work.
All that I thought was my power is my weakness.
All that I thought was my weakness is my power.
My femininity - whatever that means to me, will no longer be hidden to make anyone comfortable - even myself, for my best self.
My femininity - whatever that means to me, will no longer be used against me by me or anyone to belittle or lessen me.
My femininity - whatever that means to me, is nothing to be ashamed of.
My femininity - whatever that means to me, is my wholeness.
Be warned: I will be speaking up, defending and protecting my holy feminine.
Have you ever worked with your divine feminine? Are you looking to integrate your shame and heal yourself? I don't take this work lightly and I don't recommend you do either. Reach out to me for a 1:1.