I have been living on the edge of something for a while, something elusive and fearful, something powerful but terrifying. I was stuck in a dark, constricted, oppressive space which seemed without end. I had no words to express what I was on the edge of, or how it felt.
I do now.
Primeval, female, animal, guttural, powerful, divine, free, connected, strong, whole, authentic, sexual, creative, wild.
This is what I have been on the edge of, the edge of my full power as a complete woman.
I have been fighting with this woman within because she is too powerful, too vulnerable, too outspoken, too confrontational, too lascivious, too threatening to others.
How do I know this? Because others told her. Others trampled on her. Others disapproved of her. Others squashed and repressed her. And so did I.
I subjugated her because I wanted to fit in. I subjugated her because she was too powerful for other people to understand. I subjugated her because of the fear of rejection and isolation. I subjugated her in fear of disconnection from those around me. And in the process I disconnected from myself.
I ignored her intuition, deliberately overriding it to capitulate to the thoughts, feelings and will of others, rationalising in my head that this was ok, that I was ok. I needed to know things, to understand the world at an intellectual level, to control things, to contain things, to avoid her spilling out and betraying me as a fraud, or worse, as mentally unstable.
I have often thought I should have been a man. I have over-masculinised myself to cope with the fear of the almighty female power within. But yet, I have always known she was there. In my early twenties I met a woman when I was travelling who told me that she could sense that I knew things and felt things that others didn’t, that I could feel and see the dark places in others and was called to heal them. I was terrified and extricated myself as quickly as possible and put it down to mumbo jumbo. But somewhere deep inside I knew – and I was afraid.
She was with me in the labour of childbirth. I was totally in tune with what it means to be a woman. I was a powerful goddess, connected to the earth and spirit, birthing new life with extreme power and beauty. But then life took over and the veil descended and she was lost to me.
My life and my relationships with others have been orchestrated to conceal her, to contain her, to repress her. She has whispered at times, and I have paid no heed. Now she is shouting so loudly that I can’t think.
So what now? I am fighting with myself. I know now that I am afraid of surrendering to her, of being ostracised, rejected and derided all over again. But there is a faint light at the end of the dark place. I have come further than there is still to go. She needs to be heard.
Claire Macaulay is a working mum of two who started writing about her vulnerabilities and then found she couldn’t stop. Founder of Woman Uncut, she encourages women to express all parts of themselves and parade their power with love.
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