Monday, April 21, 2008

Reflecting...becoming a woman of freedom.

As I reflect upon the changes I have made in my life in the last several years, I am coming to the realization that my efforts have been fruitful. I have had the opportunity to get in touch with a few people from my past, one very significant, and they have all noted the changes in me.

For a long time, I was afraid. There is no other way to put it. I was afraid of everything, afraid of living my life, afraid of not living my life, afraid I would miss something, but too scared to contribute. My husband, one fateful day, told me, "Stop being so weak." It was not in regards to anything major. Just a statement about my general reaction to some general situation. but, his words struck a chord deep within myself. I saw that I was weak, very weak. I was so floored by this that I almost began to cry. When did I let myself get here? How could this have happened to me?

It turns out, I was weak for most of my life. I constantly required the approval of anyone, someone! in order to pursue any endeavor. I could do nothing unless I knew it was condoned by someone else. This went for school, work, religion, food, you name it. I required approval from someone else for everything. But then my husband told me I was weak. And in my weakness, I found my strength.

I began reading books about embracing your feminism, but without wanting to become a feminist (it turns out to be a delicate balance!). I started with Lynn V. Andrews Medicine Woman. This book changed my life. I was already open to suggestion when I began to read this book, but the message of this book to my soul was clear: seek to discover who you are. It was after reading this book that I decided on the path I would follow to lead me to freedom and independence, and I began a three-year, self-directed course in women's studies. I have still not even skimmed the surface of the vast quantity of knowledge to be had in the greater history of womankind, but allowing the books to choose me, I read my way to freedom.

By this time in my life, I had thought I was past the point in my life when a book would have the ability to change me. Medicine Woman changed all that, and I proceeded to read more books like Women who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes and When the Drummers were Women by Layne Redmond that gave me the foundation I was missing and the tools I needed to heal the places I had left deteriorating for so long. These books were difficult to read, not because of the content in an of itself, but because I had immense amounts of internalizing and applying and reapplying and readjusting and so on and so on to do in my life.

There was a tumultuous explosion in my home as I segued from weak, mousy-me into Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Truth. There was a clash of the titans, and when Apollo finally realized that the new me was evolving whether I had his approval or not, he allowed me room to grow. As I grew, the funniest thing happened: Apollo was pleased with the changes in me. Granted, there were more moments of disagreement than there had been in the past, but Athena has points of view that are often different and new and that lead to a better path (now, sometimes she was still wrong, but the important thing was that she asserted herself).

Over time, I have learned that my opinion has value, especially when well researched. I have plenty to offer to the people in my life. I do not need anyone's approval but my own. The only person whose opinion should be able to change my mind is my own.

I find myself on the verge of moving a step further into the spiral as I circle around again, moving forever toward the center. I do not know where my next journey will take me, but I do know that I am moving there with confidence and self-assurance. I am moving. I am changing, and it shows. I am free.

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