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?