When I was 11 years old I asked my mother when she felt like she had become a woman. She paused for a moment and replied that it had been after she had her first 3 children. “Does having children make you a woman?” I wondered aloud, mesmerised by the complexity of growing into my own womanhood. I can’t remember what she said but I like to imagine it was something along the lines of “in some ways, but not in entirety”.
I have been still a girl for most of my adult life, until the last few years where I find myself facing my own mortality. I turn 40 this year. It is a number that brings a smile to my lips because I believe these numbers are simply representations of the number of turns we have taking around our sun. I have lived an unconventional, whimsical kind of life, shirking much of the dogma, conditioning and expectations of traditional trajectories offering me the liberty to follow my own path on my own timeline. Guided by my personal and spiritual beliefs I am on a karmic journey that I have no control over aside from taking personal responsibility for how I show up and respond to life moment-to-moment.
It’s a subtle thing that creeps up in you — terrifying at first but now it has become a portal into a new way of life — one that is more precious and cherished and far more powerful. I am on my journey from girl to woman, maiden to mother, independent of my alternative choice to not-yet carry and birth a child.
At this juncture, I am discovering certain changes. The corners of my eyes now fan out into lines that point towards my cheeks and the millions of times I’ve frowned in my life have left folds between my eyes that don’t fade as fast as they once used to. I am in less of a rush to get there. I used to be so impatient for my visions to unfold missing that best part: the unfolding of them. I recognise where I have had to own parts of myself that I once expected others to rescue me from. I am exploring what it means to be a fully expressed woman and find myself want to fully stand in and embrace my sensuality and sexuality.
No longer a little girl playing coy, I openly use what charms I have with intention. Not for attention but as a declaration of my being. I owe myself to the world. For what good am I, hidden away, and how much have I yearned to be this woman that I have tucked away for too long.
Yet, there are some socially constructed anxieties that arise with this.
This judgment that being a fully expressed woman would lure men away from their senses. That I am responsible for their disarmament if they lust after me in some way. Hide. Society tells me. Put those legs away. Shame on you for flaunting your body. It is perceived as an invitation. Yet, when I see a man with a shirt off I don’t think “Oooo, he wants to have sex with me!” Instead, I think “he must be more comfortable that way, today in this sun, as it shines in us.” Or if I discuss my sexual preferences or feelings it is seen as a cue to “wanting it” or being “loose’. And yet I’ve never had a one night stand nor philandered my sexual energy with anyone who felt unsafe or undeserving.
These double standards that we have to navigate as women are curious to me. But they are just some of the teachings I have traversed in my recent growing into myself.
I have discovered the need for deep discernment around whom and what I say “yes” to and allow into my life with a radical approach to boundaries that are neither black and white, nor uncertain, but rather an embracing of both “no to this, but with these adjustments in place, then yes” to make space for me to live a life with a fully open and surrendered heart in a way that feels safe and protected.
I have determined that as a woman there is nothing I crave more than letting go of control. There is an aliveness and eroticism in tasting the edges of existence and meeting death. I have discovered deep layers of surrender that I can access now.
I have learned how important it is for women to be well-resourced financially. So many poor decisions have come from seeing myself and other women not have the resources and breathing room to make the right decisions for themselves and their potential children. Women who willingly and actively empower themselves financially are independent of the systems that hold them to archaic patriarchal systems. I teach this process in my instant- access online course: Affluent.
There is a flowering into my fullness, a coming into full bloom happening here, and I am enjoying this new perspective of myself and the world that I am now witnessing.
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