Or, Why I'm So Passionate About Women Waking Up
Women need catalysts for awakening. We don't simply decide one day to wake up and see everything differently. No, we need an impetus, a push, a spark to open our eyes. For some women, their catalyst can feel like a singular moment of crisis; for others their 'catalyst' is a series of smaller events or realizations over time.
But regardless of which 'category' our catalysts fit under, for those of us who have had that catalyst, who have begun to wake up, things that once seemed totally normal to us begin to look distorted, wrong, and even completely absurd. I (now) call this down-the-rabbit-hole, topsy-turvy time the crisis of womanhood.
When I went through this process in early 2016 myself, I had no idea that what I was experiencing was a 'crisis of womanhood'. I'd had no models for what I was experiencing, I had never witnessed another woman going through something like, so ... I had no idea what I was experiencing!
I had recently gotten married, and thought maybe my marriage had been a mistake. (It hadn't.) I was working with several new clients, and thought maybe my whole career was a mistake. (It wasn't.)
I wondered if I was just 'damaged goods', or if I had missed that day in class when surely everyone else had been taught how to be an Adult. (I wasn't, and I hadn't.)
What I did recognize early on, was that these issues I was processing? They were philosophical issues. (I was able to recognize that because I come from a philosophy background. What I had to learn over time was how completely normal this experience is.) And I knew that all of my questions — literally every single one — kept coming back to these two over and over again:
What do I believe it means to be a woman?
what does it mean for me to be a woman?
All the questions I was asking about my marriage and my work and the way that my life was set up ... really, in the end, they were all questions having to do with my Self. They had nothing to do with marriage. (Though my marriage has improved because I've asked them.) They had nothing to do with work. (Though my work has evolved because of them.) They were issues of self-reflection, -permission, -belief, and, ultimately, self-definition.
I definitively believe that the quality of your life directly correlates to the quality of questions you are asking yourself ... about yourself, your womanhood, your role + purpose here, The Whole Thing¹.
And this is what I believe needs to come after the crisis of womanhood. Our next stepping stone on that path is being open to new ideas, gathering sources, and questioning, questioning, questioning.
And when I say being open to new ideas, I really mean being open to new ideas. When we decide to start exploring womanhood seriously, we have to be open to changing our minds and beliefs, to rewriting the preconceived notions and the assumptions we've long since held as true.
We need our assumptions to be challenged, to seek out other women's stories + experiences of womanhood. We take in all of this information like a scientist conducting an experiment, and then we sort back through all of it, weighing each individual piece of 'data' against our own values and beliefs. And we have to allow our understanding of womanhood to evolve and grow so that we can evolve and grow.
For a year, I went on this quest for womanhood. I curated my own 'study' and I read and watched and absorbed everything I could on 'the woman question.' (And let's clear up any confusion right away: I am still studying and absorbing and awakening and exploring.) I owe so much to the women who left the breadcrumbs for me to follow. They helped me navigate the deepest dark of the woods, until I found just enough light to begin to make my own way. And they helped me learn that there are so many of us out here fumbling around, wondering all these same things, questioning our relationships and our careers and our inherent selves, and ... not talking to each other about it. (Why do we do this?)
And here's the thing: there could be a woman five yards away from me in the woods, there could be a woman right there within arm's reach. But we can't even see each other struggling with our womanhood because we're so deep in our own darkness and the brambles and branches around us. It took me a long time to find those women and their breadcrumbs, and during that long time I felt lost + I felt alone.
And this is why I'm passionate about women waking up. This is why I do this work.
If I can help another woman find that little bit of light she needs to make her own way, too, then I think the collective womanhood, Women with a capital W, are a little better off. Because even though I absolutely believe that we each experience our own awakenings in unique (but similar) ways, still ... every time one of us awakens and finds that little bit of light we need, we're at the same time casting a little bit of light back for others who are still in their deepest dark, searching.
This is how we change the world. As women waking up.
1. The Whole Thing, being the way the whole universe/cosmos fundamentally works (god? goddess? angels? demons? souls? aliens? time travel? reincarnation? whatever "is") as well as your place within it, according to your personal belief system.