By the time women reach the stage in their life when the menopause comes knocking, they would have been around the block long enough to have pondered the question, ‘who am I?’, several times. For some women the menopause offers a reflective time for this question because their role as a nurturer to their children has transitioned or maybe because they are coming towards the end of a working life.
Whatever the reason its always good to reflect on who we want to be and how we might continue to grow into our full potential without the limitations of others.
This week we feature the written work of Tammy Jennings reflecting on claiming her power as a woman. As Tammy says, ‘This writing came at a very important time for me…reclaiming power…..no other choice.’
Thank you Tammy for your contribution and thought provoking words.
Who am I?
I am this woman, this witch, the granddaughter of one that got away, that you didn’t, couldn’t burn.
Yet I burn anyway. I burn with the desire to feel, and to will my energies my connectedness to all that I know is true, and powerful, and right. But where can I find this fire inside of me that has been dampened down, like my hair, my anger, my voice?
They told me to be small, and in that way I would be safe, and accepted and allowed. They told me to be quiet, and in that way I would be safe, and accepted and allowed.
They lied. They lied because I am not safe, I am still sucked and punched and pulled, down, to their level. Told to be quiet, I stilled my voice, inside, that reminded me of whom I really was. I played instead with the toys and stories I was told were good, and acceptable and allowed.
Not powerful, not connected, but separate, and small.
I shaved my hair, in places I was told I was dirty, and I grew my hair, in places that made me invited, into the club that adores a woman’s touch. I had to look pretty, and young, and available, controllable, good.
But in my goodness, I got lost. I forgot the woman I was and when she came again and again, in my dreams, my mirror, my desires, because she could never truly be silenced, I thought she was ugly, and scared, and I told her to go away.
And I tried again, again to dismiss her.
But she returned.
And each time, I ignored, covered, and tried to pretend that I could live without her. I succeeded for a while and managed to live in the world of man, and squares, and solitude. Wringing my hands with washing, and silence. I became acceptable, employable, steady, calm and quiet. You’ve seen them, walking down the aisles, of supermarkets and weddings. Walking their babies, on pavements meant for cars, not women and children. Keeping their bodies tight, and creamy like dew, like new bread just risen, not at all stale, or thick or crusty. Beauty in all it’s acceptable glory.
And then after miles of this dance, in high heels and suits and something akin to funeral parlour couture, one begins to unravel. And someone says, “Oh she couldn’t cope,” when she breaks down and cries “She’s had too much,” as if she just over indulged and it was her shame to bear this.
But that is not the truth. No matter how hard she tried to blot it out, she felt, and saw, and she became the woman she tried to ignore. The one who feels so deeply and truly, that covering the crying, dying, starving faces of her fellow sisters in a world gone crazy, with pore coverage and wrinkle creams just wasn’t working anymore. She cannot look away, yet curls inward with the protection she wishes she could give away. Powerless, rudderless she’s not sure which way or how to help. Inert, weak, she gives up and gives in.
This is who I am. In this awareness, of the suffering, I see, I am awake again, and want my hair back, and my power back and my burning back. Because it is in this burning that I am strong, and able to bear the burdens that I see and carry within my heart. Living in a world where people are silenced, raped, disenfranchised, moved from their homes to places of refuge, from places of war is too overwhelming to comprehend, or bear. With this burning I am strong, and able and alive. I will not be dampened down to become like the ashes, like the dead ones, like the grandmothers before me forever silenced.
If you feel inspired by Tammy’s words and want to make a contribution please get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org