Essence of a Woman

I exist.  Therefore, I am.  A woman.  I’m claiming it – today.  I will own it – from now on.  Because I am – ENOUGH.

For the past twelve years I have been fighting to prove my worth to humanity – desperately trying to be normal.  But, I’m not normal.  I’m a woman for f*cks sake.  What’s normal?

Today, I am celebrating my uniqueness.  I am embracing my femininity.  I am honouring my essence as a woman.

I was born a girl – petite and precious – in my parents’ eyes – and raised as such.

In early childhood I was the only girl in a neighbourhood full of boys.  I became a tomboy – desperate to fit in.  I felt ashamed.  I hid my dolls from the boys.  And I hid my “toughness” from the world.

I went through puberty and developed into a sexual, active bombshell – in the eyes of many a raging-testosterone-driven teenage boy.  And I spent my life covering myself up.  If only I could go back

I grew in mental and emotional maturity.  I got married first – to the relief of my parents – and then had a baby.

I went through pregnancy – nine months of waiting to experience that so-called glow which was ever elusive.  I felt fat and ugly.

I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy on the planet.  Thank God for Epidurals.

I breast-fed – or tried to because it was the right thing to do – until I discovered that my poor baby was half starving to death.  And even then the nursing sister encouraged me to persevere.  As I made his first bottle, I was consumed with guilt as the message on the tin screamed out at me in its bold, capital letters: BREAST-FEEDING IS BEST FOR YOUR BABY.  But, instinctively, I knew, I had made the right decision when my baby finally gulped down that bottle of milk and was the most content he had been in twelve weeks.  I had learned a valuable lesson.  There is nothing more powerful than a mother’s instinct.  Always, go with your gut, Tracy!  I had made up my mind.  The next time I have a baby, I go into that hospital with my tin of formula milk under one arm and a bottle under the other.  Little did I know that there would never be… a next time!

I broke my neck and was left paralysed from the neck down a few months later.

Society no longer thinks of me as a woman.  Now, I am disabled.

But, that’s not fair!  A woman is grown, not born.

Society put me into a box which defined me as a woman then, because I met certain physical criteria.  But, I found myself being overwhelmed by the confines of these boundaries and ever eager to become the perfect woman.  There is so much pressure to be the perfect woman – which, in my mind, translates to having the perfect body with extreme outer beauty and being the perfect wife, mother and career woman.  If one steps out of these boundaries one is dismissed – and rejected.  Then one feels an overwhelming sense of shame and possibly guilt.

I am almost 41 years old (read as 21) and I feel more like a woman now (as a quadriplegic) than what I ever did (as a fully functioning, able-bodied person).  Although I need a wheelchair to get around it is most certainly not what defines me as a woman.  I have come to realize that being a woman is about a state of spirit – mind, heart and soul – and it has very little to do with the physical body. 

There was a time in my life when I had a body to die for but I didn’t feel half the woman I am today.

I am nurturing.  My powerful maternal instinct was the sole reason for my emotional and physical survival after my accident.  I can relate to the suffering and vulnerability of others.  I have an innate need to reach out to others and make a difference to this world. 

I am feminine. I don’t allow my disability to be an excuse to become sloppy and ill groomed.  I take care of my hair, skin and nails.  I never leave home without my lipstick.  And I believe that a woman can never have too much perfume or too many flowers.  I love jewelry, clothes and shoes.  I try to live with grace, poise and dignity to the best of my ability.

I am sensual.  My sensuality is about so much more than just a stereotyped – and often overrated – physical act. I’ve learned that being an athlete in bed has nothing whatsoever to do with being sensual.  My value as a sensual woman extends far beyond my ability to use and feel my genitals.  It is about my ability to connect physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually with my partner.  It is about being able to speak the language of love.  To be attractive a woman must use words, charm, wit, playfulness, sweet talk and laughter to transcend the gifts of nature.  More importantly, I believe that sensuality is about a deep erotic energy that begins in the place where butterflies go to rest, and are awakened in a panicked frenzy by Mr. Right, and end in gasping pleasure.  Hmmm… flirting, and kissing, is so good for the soul. 

I am emotional.  I cry when I’m happy.  I cry when I’m sad.  I cry when I’m angry.  I cry when I’m in love.  I cry when I’m hurt.  Mostly I just cry tears of awareness.  The tears run down my face and tickle my cheeks and I cannot wipe them away.  The snot runs into my mouth and I cannot blow my nose.  Then, I cry more tears – of frustration.  I’m convinced that I am the sole reason for the chocolate business thriving.

I am resilient.  I know that I have a strength of character that can stand up to most.  I have the ability to adapt to change and overcome adversity.  I have already proved that in more ways than one.

But, beware I can give orders better from my wheelchair.

All I want is to be a woman.

I consider myself to be a spirited, confident, strong, independent woman.  It is a combination of my personality, passion for life, my intelligence, my opinions, my sense of humour or wit, my interests, my heart and my light that defines my essence as a woman.


What does the essence of a woman mean to you?

About Tracy Todd (Brave Lotus Flower)

Author of Brave Lotus Flower Rides the Dragon – an intimate and inspiring memoir of a quadriplegic. Inspirational Speaker. Teacher. Counsellor. Wife. Mother. Animal lover. Although I need a wheelchair to get around, it is most certainly not what defines me.
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23 Responses to Essence of a Woman

  1. Karien van der Merwe says:

    more Tracy
    Ek het so week terug jou blog begin lees en ek kan nie ophou nie! danie vir al die inspirasie vir ons gewone mense! Ek het “toevallig” nou eers 25 Oktober gelees voor ek hierdie ou een gelees het, en ek dink dis baie nodig dat jy in hierdie stdium van jou lewe lees wat jy hierbo geskryf het! sterkte, ek bid vir jou.

    • Tracy Todd says:

      Thank you so much, Karien. Please forgive me for not replying in Afrikaans but my voice programme only responds to English.
      So glad you’ve started reading my blog and so grateful for your kind words. Thank you.

  2. Bill Watson says:

    Oh – forgot to tell you his name – Dr. Robert Leon Watson

  3. Bill Watson says:

    Hooray for you. You own who you are. Most people choose not to do that. BTW my cousin – some 15 years older than me- invented something called the Epidural while a student and working for a drug company in his younger years. He didn’t get the patent for it and that taught him a lesson. He now had many patents and is the head of Anesthesiology at Bowling Green Regional Medical Center in Bowling Green, KY, USA. He is in his ’80’s – has 20+ anesthetists and anesthetist practitioners under him and he works circles around them . He is also head of their pain control clinic.

  4. Gary says:

    Strolling along the WordPress Beach, I stumbled upon your stretch of sand. I found a stunning beauty, the essence of woman, another white sand treasure for my pocket.

    Fancy words not withheld, I recognize this essence in you by reading your message. It is familiar…..and attractive.
    My wife, fully capable of a walks on a beach or a swim in a lake must be occasionally reminded of her own essence and what makes it flow. As a man, I have my own essence and it works in unison with her own, the two tides working together, strengthening, reassuring, supporting one another in harmony.
    A match made in heaven….

    Thanks for posting such inspiring words!
    Best Regards

  5. joe says:

    awesome TT, a great writer and a greater spirit….

  6. Pingback: Who’s Worthy? « Tracy Todd's Blog

  7. Cat says:

    This post is wonderful. It’s great to hear this kind of wisdom from a woman with so much experience. I struggle with my definition of myself and my gender and so many other things all the time, so this was comforting for me. ❤

  8. Flutter says:

    Another great blog Tracy. Sometimes I think as women we are so busy surviving the day to day issues – we forget the essence of being a woman. I still find myself trying to fit in a male dominated career and think that is I dress like a man and talk like one things will run more smoothly but am I really being true to myself. And its exhausting being one person by day and another when I get home to my partner. Thanks for making me remember.

  9. Anton says:

    There are billions of women around.
    There are far fewer inspirational women around.
    I am privileged to know one.

  10. I love and adore women. Because my own feminine side is well-integrated into my (intentionally) flexible gender-identification, women mean a great deal to me. The essence of womanhood (to me) is the water that sustains and is the origin point for all life. It’s the point of conception, in every symbolic and literal direction imaginable. The universe begins at the essence of woman.

    I think there’s a woman in every man, and a man in every woman. It is the way an individual balances those yin-yang expressions of being that makes each person unique. Our inner partners dance and invite others to join, and those we meet become family and community.

  11. Ronna says:

    OK woman: You are SO incredibly beautiful and powerful and tender and honest – as well as a million other adjectives I could insert.

    As always, I am so struck by you – your words – your heart. And in this particular case, so deeply moved by not only your essence, but mine, as well.

    Truly stunning, Tracy: you.

  12. Petro Collins says:

    Hi Tracy, Thanks for your beautiful message – reading this made me feel how we all take advantage of a normal life. It is so easy to complain about small things and be unhappy so often. Be strong, girl and you sent out a powerful message to many women.

    Petro (Sharon’s Mom)

  13. Irma says:

    Dearest Tracy, thank you, AGAIN! This is such a powerful reminder of how i should “just be” and not always think of “how others expect of me to be”.
    Enjoy Woman’s Day….lots of lovexxxx

  14. Tina says:

    Why, oh why, is our self-esteem so, so fragile?
    How is it our spirit can be soaring with Eagles one moment and just as quickly we are ready to crawl into a mole hole the next; considering ourselves totally devoid of any worth or value?
    We seek approval in the eyes of the world, forgetting there is ONE who loves us ‘just as we are’ – unconditionally and does thus eternally! Why do we deem HIS view of us irrelevant and the world’s view of us more seriously?
    When Almighty God created us to be beautiful from the inside out – knowing that that is an eternally lasting divine beauty that nothing can diminish nor demean?
    Jesus said; Love your neighbour as you would yourself!
    May we all allow Jesus to teach us how to do just that:”love and cherish ourself”
    You are UNIQUE – there is no other like you – not even one!!!

    • Tracy Todd says:

      I think our self-esteem becomes fragile when we begin comparing ourselves to others. We then notice differences and instead of celebrating our uniqueness. And I find that women are the most judgmental of each other, sadly.
      Thanks for your comment, Tina. 🙂

  15. Helen Methley says:

    Thank you for your ‘ESSENCE OF A WOMAN’. You have written a most powerful message to us women and I feel that EVERYONE should read your Blog Page.
    :0) >3 Helen

  16. Mariette says:

    Thank you!!!

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