When I was in high school, I was big into poetry. Still am, but in high school I had a few poems that I wrote on papers and pasted onto my walls. (Come to think of it, I still do that, too!) One of my very favorite poems at the time was Maya Angelou's Phenomenal Woman. I ADORE this poem. Why?
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I am a woman. I am not my society's ideal of beauty. I'm rather far from it, actually. As I write this, I'm snacking on leftover Halloween candy which is only going to take me farther from said ideal. But you know what? I am a woman, and I am phenomenal, and I am loved. It only took me, oh, YEARS to realize this!
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
When I met Sascha, I was at the end of a long-distance, mostly-online relationship that was spiraling downwards fast. The ex in question wasn't making any effort to make the relationship NOT long-distance, and my self-esteem, never the greatest, was taking hit after hit. And then I met Sascha, who put such effort into wooing me that I began to realize I was actually quite a catch after all.
I'm a woman
And that was simply the kickstart I needed. In the years since, I've come to appreciate my own personality, my own mind, my own REASON. It seems a little sad, looking back on it, that I needed a man, a relationship, to prove this point to me, but that goes back to the way I was raised.
I was raised in a very conservative Christian household. Dad was the head of the household, and he was the one that made the decisions. Mom voted the way Dad did; not because he told her to, but because she believed he knew best. My older brother was more...extroverted, outspoken, braver, etc...than I ever was. So to go from that environment, to a man that wanted to know what I thought, what I believed, what MY reasons were for things...it was unexpected. And to go from the environment of "Pray to God, he has the answers, he knows best, don't trust your own judgement, read the Bible" to "Harm none, do what ye will" and "Look inside yourself for the answers" was even more mind-blowing and eye-opening.
And then! And then I discovered the GODDESS. Some of you have been raised monotheistic and understand; some of you probably can't. The GODDESS. The female half. Suddenly, instead of having my life dictated by a masculine god who just. didn't. get it., there was a divinity who was part of ME. Or perhaps a divinity I could be part of. This was a world-changing idea. A few of my more experienced pagan friends were afraid I would devote myself too much to the goddess and forget the balance, but I think I simply needed a few years of immersing myself in the divine feminine. Now I can look at the masculine half with new eyes, and re-accept that energy. I just needed time. Time to learn that I, too, can be divine. I am not lesser than a man by the chance of being born female. I am a WOMAN, and I am phenomenal.
Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
^This was going to be the end of this entry. But I wrote this before the election on Tuesday, and I suddenly have a lot more to say. WOMEN. Women are the winners of this election. I have several things to share with you that have been floating around Facebook and elsewhere.
"You know your party is in trouble when people ask did the rape guy win, and you have to ask which one." - Alec Baldwin
And also this story: Women and Minorities to dominate the Democratic Party
This is the difference between the Republican party and the Democrat party. Republicans - 90% white males. Democrats - 47% white males. New Hampshire elected a completely female delegation for the first time in US History. We elected an openly lesbian senator. We elected a Hindu woman. A Buddhist woman. A disabled woman. An openly gay congressman. We re-elected an African-American President, with two daughters, who has pledged to protect and fight for a woman's right to choose, for women's access to contraception and preventive healthcare, for equal pay for women, for marriage equality. Marriage equality passed in three states, and a marriage equality ban failed in a fourth.
It wasn't until LAST YEAR that a woman's bathroom got added to the House floor. LAST YEAR. Tuesday marked INCREDIBLE strides for women and minorities. For the first time in a long, long time I feel proud of my country. I am cautiously optimistic about the turn we're taking. Actually, no. I'm not cautiously optimistic. I keep saying I am because I don't want to get my hopes up. But really, I am FREAKING EXCITED for the step we've taken. I am ECSTATIC. I cannot WAIT to see what the next four years bring.