Owing to some deep-seated mommy issues, I never saw my femininity as anything other than a burden—that is until I met a man who saw it as a gift. His celebration of my womanhood helped me rediscover the deeply feminine streak inside me and totally changed the way I saw myself and all women.
I used to be a total tomboy.
Growing up, I remember wishing I was a boy. Somehow boys just seemed cooler—tougher, more aloof, more together. I tried my best to embody those same qualities, imitating the boys around me. Specifically, I wanted to be strong and would often challenge boys to arm-wrestling or sparring competitions to prove to them, and to myself, that I was one of them.
Femininity was something I was ashamed of.
Despite my tomboyish tendencies, I definitely had a very feminine streak in me. Unfortunately, I had it in my head that girls were weak and for that reason, I rejected that part of me. As I got older, I made it a point to never wear dresses or act too “girlishly.” I suppressed a huge part of my personality and it took me many years to get back in touch with that side of myself.
I didn’t quite know how to balance by masculine and feminine.
I now see this as an imbalance in my masculine and feminine sides. I think there’s a mix of both in everyone, but I was giving way too much airtime to my masculine side and completely ignoring my femininity. It felt like a constant struggle since I was repressing a huge part of my personality.
I never had female friends.
I didn’t just reject girlishness in myself, I rejected it in others too. Girly girls were my sworn enemies and I continued my childhood tendency of spending time almost exclusively with guys. When I was around men, I felt relaxed, whereas being in a group of women felt claustrophobic. It was something I avoided at all costs. It wasn’t until much later in life that I realized I felt inadequate as a woman. I was afraid I wouldn’t be woman enough to fit in.
Other boyfriends had shunned my emotional side.
One of my most serious relationships was with a man who was afraid of my feelings. He felt overwhelmed by my emotional expressions and even encouraged me to stay on the pill for much longer than I wanted to because he was afraid that going off it would make me more emotional. He didn’t know how to handle it when I cried and I felt completely unaccepted for that side of myself. I ended up further berating myself for feeling too much.
Slowly, I began to change.
After that relationship ended, I began to see that something was missing. I still didn’t quite know how to embrace my femininity, but I knew I wanted more female friends. I began to seek out ways to get more in touch with my feminine side but was completely daunted. It was something I simultaneously longed for and was terrified of.
Meeting my partner was eye-opening.
When I met my current partner, he was deep in his own processes with the masculine and feminine and spoke about it in a way I’d never encountered before. He was very invested in discovering his own masculinity, especially in community with other men. His gentle but enthusiastic encouragement spurned me on in my quest for my own femininity.
I suddenly felt accepted.
With him, all the things I’d attributed as “weak” feminine traits, were suddenly celebrated. He saw my emotions as a gift, my girlishness as radiance. His celebration of the feminine drew out all the hidden parts of myself that I’d shunned over the years.
I began to embrace and celebrate my feminine side.
It was like I suddenly blossomed into a new person. I began to seek out female company, wear dresses, giggle a lot more, embrace my emotions. I created rituals around my menstruation, admired the feminine curves of my body, and discovered a whole world that I’d previously pushed away.
Now I love being a woman.
It’s an ongoing journey and I’m learning more about myself every day, but I’ve truly embraced my womanhood in a way I never thought possible. I love that I’m a woman and I appreciate my femininity as a gift. I’m so happy to have found a man who celebrates me for all my facets.
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