Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Accepting the Masculine and the Feminine

I almost titled this Masculine versus Feminine, but I'm tired of everything being a fight.  I've also been fighting myself about posting this blog.  I don't know why.  So, here it is.  If it resonates with you, let me know.  

For most of my adult life, I have been a take-care-of-business, accept no one’s shit, take no prisoners kind of girl. In a job performance review once, in fact, I was told I was “too direct.” I told them they never would have said that to a man (probably only serving to prove their point). I was proud that my balls were bigger than most dudes’. The facade was that I didn’t need anyone to take care of me because I could handle my own life just fine thank-you-very-much. I was very aloof and avoidant in relationships. I was a serial monogamist with commitment issues, which doesn’t really make sense.

It’s pretty lonely at the top. But the truth is, we are made to want a partner. And there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s fucked up is society tells us there’s something wrong with us and that we are desperate if we say we want to settle down but haven’t found the right person.

In my 30’s, I had two long term relationships. Neither were good or healthy relationships. And I probably emasculated both of those guys every day, mostly by not needing them. I never really cried because showing emotion like that was a sign of weakness. I rarely told either of those men that I loved them. And I resented them both for wasting my time. Yet I also allowed guilt to keep me in those relationships even though it should have been easy to see that neither were viable from early on.

I spent much of my life living in my masculine. It was almost like I hadn’t even heard of my feminine side. The side of me that gives and accepts love and desires to gratefully share in what another human has to offer. I was too busy just taking care of myself. I hated it. I was exhausted and felt like I never got a break.

Strangely, I have always somewhat disliked the right side of my face.  I always called it my stroke face. I have what I call a “wonky eye” (one eye is slightly more open than the other, which is actually pretty common). I feel like my mouth is more down-turned on that side. I even think my nose looks completely different. When I take photos, I generally turn the left side of my face to the camera. “This is my good side!” I will rearrange a group photo to put myself on the correct side if I can.  To me, the right side represents the analytical/masculine side. The left is the more artistic/feminine side.  In reality, facial asymmetry is pretty common.

I was thinking of how this plays out in my life. In my last long term relationship, I was the “man of the house.” He was working on his doctorate and only worked (for a paycheck) part of the time we were together. So the care of the household fell to me. I worked full time. I made sure the bills were paid. I had to cook. I had to clean. We really were just two humans who lived in the same space. Barely roommates. Definitely not lovers. I never got to just relax. I always felt like I had to take care of everything. He was legally blind so driving responsibilities fell to me as well. I think about how the “masculine” side of my face would have presented itself to him as I drove us everywhere. The ugly face that I hated. The face that hated that relationship and feeling like I had to be the "man of the house."

After I got out of that relationship four years ago, I met the “love of my life.” He’s the one that opened my heart up again and reminded me what love was. He was very much in his masculine. And he made me want to be in my feminine. To accept love. I suddenly wanted to be the traditional 50’s house wife who cooked and cleaned for her man and anticipated his every need. I would have had ten kids with him if he’d asked me to. (Look, I’m not saying this was all healthy, I’m just saying I felt like a crazy teenager in love for the first time.) He would drive and we would hold hands. The beautiful, feminine left side of my face presenting to him. Smiling. Telling him I loved him. He wasn’t the right one ultimately, but he taught me some important life lessons.

Recently, my friend Andrew took a ton of photos of Kim, Ginger, and me at the Golden Gate Bridge. We put on fancy dresses and took some super fun photos. When I saw the pictures, I realized I didn’t hate the photos taken of the right side of my face. For the first time probably ever. Whether 350 pounds, 180 pounds, or somewhere in between, the left side of my face has always been my preference. And on this day, I finally accepted (and actually liked) both sides of my face, the balancing of the masculine and the feminine, and of myself.

This is like the acceptance of my shadow self. Or acknowledging my inner child. All of these parts of me are exactly that...me. And rejecting any part of myself only makes me feel like I’m not good enough. But I know I am.

I spent so many years feeling broken, and then the last few years really working on healing myself. I believe that this realization and acceptance of all parts of myself is kind of the last puzzle piece falling into place. This is who I am. This is how I speak (or write). This is what I look like. This is how I conduct my life. Take it or leave it. I’ve always spouted that script, except now I believe it.

I’m so grateful for the path I’ve been on, and for the growth I’ve experienced. I feel like a completely different person than I was even a year ago. I have spent so many years battling myself and I have finally found some peace in this crazy world.  

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