I joined the military in 1992, celebrated my 18th birthday in boot camp, my 21st birthday in a bar in the Caribbean (with a bunch of drunk sailors), and then only one after that on the dry land of the United States, all others were just another day while floating in the middle of the ocean. If you account for the two years of high school where I was most self-absorbed (jr and sr year) and the two years after the navy where I was struggling to figure out how I was supposed to be a wife, while moving far away from water and everything I knew. I spent my 26th birthday crying in Albuquerque, NM, not just for the end of my marriage, but also for the end of a whole decade I knew nothing about.
The last year, has been one of my best years. Sure, there have been years that go down as awesome in the annuals of my personal history book, but they had little to do with embracing my past self and my current self. I think I wrongly believed that one’s 20s are the years said person is supposed to figure out the big ins and outs of being a woman or man (respective to gender). My 20s were spent trying to not be a woman, because I truly felt being on a ship in the middle of the ocean with 400 dudes required me to be less of a woman and more of a “shipmate”. It wasn’t that I eschewed femininity or even being a woman, it was that I believed I was no different than the guys and if I looked and acted like one of them, I’d, honestly, be safer, and more respected.
Silly me, but I think that’s called survival.
Fast-forward 20 years.
I’m in a wonderful, loving relationship with the love of my life and I have two amazing step-kids, one of which is learning what it is to be a man, and one who is learning how to be a woman. But…I, in a lot of ways, still deflect my own feminine nature.
The last year has been about embracing my feminine self, realizing that I can be soft and warm and kind and generous…on the outside, as well as the inside. I can allow my vulnerabilities to show, along with the pink and the lace coupled with a harsh black, and the baubly bracelets and natural stone rings with matching necklaces of pretty shiny stones. I can desire shoes that aren’t just comfortable but look amazing with that awesome new skirt I bought to go with the cool lacy shirt that brings out the curve of my fantastically feminine body.
…but its not just been about embracing the physical feminine me, its also been about embracing the intellectual and spiritual me. Trying to understand what it means to be feminine, to be woman, to be daughter, sister, mom, wife and lover, and how does all that works into who I am as a divinely feminine woman; how does that affect my spirit and who I want to become in the future. What is it that drew me to Goddess rather than God and does that have anything to do with my time in the military (yes, by the way, I think it does). These are only some of the questions that have led me on my year-long journey of self-discovery.
Some of this has included an exploration into pop culture from the 90s. A few months ago, I decided to watch all 202 episodes of the X-Files. I hadn’t even gotten 10 episodes in when I started to wonder what my view on woman would have been if I’d spent the 90s tuned in every week to Scully. Seriously. As the series progressed, I began analyzing Scully’s growth in all the same areas I’d been working on within my own being. I was (and sort of still am) stunned at how much this character touched me.