I grew up in a family dominated by men. I was as much of a tom boy that my mother would allow me to be, so I got to do all the stuff that was considered for boys like go fishing and play with toy trucks and cars. I just had to wear something pink while I was doing it.
I had a very close relationship with my grandfather, who took me under his wing and taught me everything that he could. As a young girl, I absorbed all the knowledge he passed on like a sponge. My grandfather embodied manhood to me. He was strong, charasmatic, successful, calm, cool and collected. If he ever got upset, he didn’t show it, unless it was anger that needed to come to the table. There was no crying to be seen, ever. No matter what the circumstances were. This behaviour for me meant that he was a strong human. No one would ever dream of messing with him. He could not be touched. Vulnerability was not in his vocabulary. I admired that about him, seeing someone so loved and respected, so in control of himself showed me that if I wanted to be powerful, I needed to do these things.
Fast forward to me as an adult woman, with my share of hurt and heartbreak, carrying this story around that I’m not safe. Vulnerability was not anywhere near my realm of thought. I was firmly connected to my inner man. I didn’t need anyone to save me, I was intimidating, strong and independent. No one could touch me unless I allowed them to. At the same time, I wanted a loving relationship with a man, a family, romance, late nights watching cheesy movies with wine under snuggly blankets. That wasn’t showing up in the men I was dating. The same story would happen where they were not ready to commit, had too much baggage or were generally just emotionally unavailable. Every time a relationship would end, I would think, what’s wrong with me? Why do I keep attracting these guys who aren’t ready?
In that moment, the answer was pretty clear. I was emotionally unavailable and every guy I dated was a reflection of me in some way. I had to face some pretty heavy stories I was holding on to about myself. The clearest answer, I was not vulnerable. I was not vulnerable for a million valid reasons that all pointed back to me feeling like I needed to protect myself from being preyed upon. I bounced back and forth with doing work around opening my heart chakra, going to reiki, doing countless camel poses, I bought a ton of rose quartz. And all those things helped.
What really hit it home for me was a video I saw of myself teaching a yoga class. it was my yearly review to check in and see how I was doing, where I could grow and what I was landing. My biggest take away came from seeing how I walked around the room. I was sassy. I had my hip cocked, I had a swagger in my walk, even in my body language, I embodied “Do not fuck with me.” and it was a major aha moment.
So how would I have this loving relationship when I am physically showing up as a giant fuck you? Short answer, I won’t have it. And in that moment I committed to change. My tools have been these.
First thing, I needed to let people seem me. No sass. No swagger. Just me, standing as myself.
Second thing, give myself permission to cry. Especially in front of other people. Not hide it either. Just let it flow.
Third thing, share my feelings instead of pretending like everything was fine. If I was upset or hurt or whatever, It must be shared.
Forth thing, soften. Physically, stop trying to push myself and be in go go go all the time. Take rest. Take bathes, get flowers, be girly.
Last thing, for now. Get in touch with my divine feminine. Feminine energy is so powerful because it honours the balance in all of us. It brings in nurturing, compassion, creation, the ability to be still. All things I disconnected from.
This practice has shifted stories I’ve been holding about myself for a long time. Even today I cried with a friend when I shared a story with her about her upcoming wedding, something even six months ago would have been so challenging for me to do. Every day it gets a little easier and the best part of it. I get a little lighter.