Recently there have been lots of insights and realisations in all the best ways. In some ways, it feels like things are finally all falling into place and I feel like I’m being myself in a way I never have before. At 45, if I dwell on it, I wonder what took so long, but realistically I do have some understanding of that and am just happy to be here now.
Many years ago, I mused to my then husband that I didn’t always feel like I was a ‘real’ woman. Apparently this was insulting to him as a man or some such thing so I heard the message loud and clear that I shouldn’t think these things, or at least not speak them out loud. And I didn’t. For a long time.
The thing is, I don’t tick a lot of the boxes that would mark me in our culture as being feminine. I hate wearing make up and finally stopped doing so several years ago now. I much prefer pants to skirts or dresses and I don’t particularly care for doing my nails and other such things. Because of things like this I mostly just felt like a ‘bad’ or ‘failed’ woman. I just wasn’t good at it, I figured.
Over the past several years, I have done a lot of reading and learning about gender and have spent time with and listened to various people who are transgender and/or non binary. Listening to and reading other people’s stories and processes is really helpful in many aspects. I thought about why I felt the way I did and if maybe I wasn’t actually a woman. Tried those ideas on for size. But they didn’t fit me.
One thing I have learned is that all those superficial things, like make up and clothing, are not what make us any particular gender at all. Honestly this was fantastic news to me. I have realised that while I might not be super into fashion, makeup, and other things that are seen as synonymous with femininity in our culture, I actually resonate deeply with womanhood and know that I definitely am a woman. The term ‘lady’ on the other hand does not resonate at all, and makes me feel really uncomfortable and detached if it’s used toward me.
A couple of weeks ago, I did a singing masterclass with Clare Bowditch. The song in the clip above is one of the ones we worked on that day and sang in the evening at our concert. The lyrics speak to me deeply. Her voice and harmonies are beautiful too. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life and I’m so glad I had the opportunity. And so glad that I had done all the work stemming from the IE course so that when it came up I grabbed at it.