About a week ago I posted about the experience of freeing ourselves from the self-repression we may feel in how to express our beauty. The message was about how shining our beauty from our inner source of light in our own unique way is truly the way to feel aligned with the desire to reveal who you are, be seen, play in feminine beautifying acts, while knowing it’s not coming from an unconscious or shallow place.
I spoke about how beauty is a feeling, and from that feeling, it radiates out in who you are, how you are living, and it trickles into the choices you make in your physical appearance, as a natural extension of the inner-radiance you feel. Rather than trying to find and express beauty from the outside. This was to shine light on the way that sometimes our doubts (which have been conditioned though society, culture and experience) about what we ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t wear stop us from truly tapping into our love of adorning our feminine selves in a way that feels good - which is different each and every ,moment for each and every person.
The entry to this conversation was from getting my hair all braided with a vibrant purple colour, and sharing that it came from the desire to express this inner goddess energy that I felt within myself as bright, playful and lovely. I shared that this act is of getting my hair done was completely beautiful and valid, and didn’t (and shouldn’t) make me feel, seem or look any less spiritual, though our fear could very well be that. (This, in the past, was a big point of contention as I entered more into my spiritual path).
Read the first post here.
A beautiful woman following my page and work reached out to me in vulnerable expression of a truth that felt important for her to share, as coming from a different context that I do not have experience in living.
What she shared illuminating something that to me was not apparent, and has not been in my life. It opened up a conversation between us which led to the truth that in order for all women to rise together in our collective expression of our unique selves, then understanding the differences and intricacies of human experience - and in this situation, feminine human experience - is key. To breed understanding, respect and compassion and to give us the platform to rise together.
My post spoke about repression to expression, in terms of how we ‘repress’ our own expression of beauty with the thought that it may not be spiritual, or that we shouldn’t externally show our love of being seen. What I didn’t touch upon is an underlining oppression that happens for women beyond just this aspect of beauty expression in the spiritual sense. For some us us - myself included - I haven’t felt this outside cultural oppression as deep. This was about the racial oppression that women feel. This is a bigger conversation, where I will not touch upon the complexities of this situation, as I am not an expert in this area, and won't attempt to be from my limited understanding.
But I can share what this conversation opened up within me, and between this woman, that feels so potent in our connecting sisterhood.
This conversation is relevant to all cultures and situations where a group is being affected in one way, and another is not. Where we are pitted against others, which creates separation, fear and tension between us.
Deeper Layers of Understanding
The hairstyle I chose to get was long coloured extension braids, and I shared that it was an expression coming from trying something out and feeling beautiful and different in this, rather than repressing my desire to express myself because I might be judged. The deeper layer, that I did not touch upon, is the cultural aspect of repression and judgement that the very women who created this hairstyle have felt, and continue to feel, because of their skin colour; because of their race. The very women who created this gorgeous goddess hairstyle, can be condemned, looked down upon, fired and not considered professional, when expressing themselves in this way.
Whereas me, in my spiritual community of Ubud, where we are all a little weird in what we wear and do, and being in a job that is not in an office environment, has only given me praise by how beautiful it looks. Though this is the issue: when it is in a different context, like if I was working in a different environment, would I receive the same judgement as a woman of colour wearing this hair? Would there be the same judgement of ‘unprofessionalism’ or anything else, because of my skin colour? Is it just the hair? Is it more?
Again, this is a far bigger conversation that I have knowledge on. But what this did spark in me, that this woman shared, was the feeling of deep pain it brought to my heart, in feeling just a slither of repression to expression that these woman would have felt. I have the experience of the repression of my self-judgment of perhaps not being taken seriously, seen as shallow, etc that may come about in choosing this hair. But women of colour, in their hometowns, in their work, wearing this style that is historic to them, that is practical and beautiful, have experienced a lot of challenge, I am told. This is heartbreaking.
Connecting Through Compassion
She shared with me that she feels that for us women who haven’t experienced this kind of racial seclusion in any way (which I haven’t, having the privilege of being a middle-class white woman) is important for us to understand one another. It's important to acknowledge and credit those who created this style, and have ever felt that pain of being judged from wearing this very same style that makes me feel so beautiful now, resulting in them feeling disempowered and oppressed. I agree. To these women, I am sorry you have/have to experience this. Which is why I feel the need to bring this to the forefront now.
This woman was fired from her job because she did’t straighten her hair. The establishment preferred not to have someone look ethnic. Just now, as of 2019, she shared that changes are only now being made in workplace lay to protect people’ natural hairstyles… wow.
To go deeper into this conversation from my lack of true understanding from not having experienced the deeper layers of this cultural repression wouldn’t feel right to me. So my wish in these words is to share what came through in my lens, in focusing on feminine expression and sister connection.
So here is what came through, beyond hair, race, or anything else:
Repression of expression is something I understand, having grown up in my own family internal culture of being told not to cry, dance, speak up, be silly, be a ‘girl’ etc from being in a family of a brother and a dad who weren’t sure at all how to handle a sensitive young girl. Further than that, our western culture, even in privileged communities, represses our expression. I’m not talking about political and expression of rights, as again, this is a deeper conversation. I’m talking about the small everyday details of expression of individuality - allowing ourselves to play with all forms of beauty, not just what we’ve been marketed to. Or being our crazy, ugly, emotional selves, rather than poised princesses. Of honouring our journey through our cycles and allowing ourselves to find out empowerment through these magic intuitive gifts we have been given as a womb, rather than ‘solutions’ to this ‘problem’ of being a menstruating woman. Of dressing one way as appropriate, but not too much because we may be seen and judged a certain way. I
n our varied cultures, background, societies and environments, each and every one of us women are going through so many unique challenges in our journey to finding full expression of our feminine essence. But that's just it. We go through them. We know the pain. Our individual pain, though different, becomes connected in our collective community as women.
It’s not us or the other. We are all, as women, sisters together, helping each other rise. And we each have our own experience that gives us unique lens to understand the world, and help others do the same. In our upbringing, our cultures, the environments we’ve been in and the experiences we’ve had.
All Facets of Feminine Expression
For this woman to have felt in her power and her truth to express this to me, in such a real, thoughtful and open way is the POINT. This is it. It’s not just powerful feminine expression to dance, find beauty in acts we do, and to allow ourselves to feel emotion. It’s powerful feminine expression when we can feel safe and in so deep in our truth and wisdom to speak out about something that is important and needs to be heard.
Especially to a woman where you perhaps don’t know what her reaction could be, if it would be taken openly and in the love that it was expressed from. That she did this, and that her speaking out came from expressing for the greater collective of a group of women in this world - is the POINT. We are here to help each other rise, and bring our unique understandings to one another to do that, so we all feel included, heard, seen and understood. Not to compete, judge or make each other separate from one another - which sadly, in the world of women, is still so strong.
So women, let’s take a page from this lady’s book of her own beauty expression (her beautiful power of her voice).
Let’s open our hearts, hear each other’s journeys, and from this collective understanding of our unique experiences as women, we can rise together in a truly unified way. Not as women from this culture or that place in the world, but as women from divinity, as women.
I received her words in love, gratitude, and understanding, when then also also gave her the feeling of connection and freedom in her way of expressing to me. Now we have both grown from this experience, of her sharing her truth in a powerful and loving way, and realising that this can be received in love. And of me receiving her perspective, words and yearning to be understood, in a way where I am more mindful of all the ways we, as women, can rise together. These are the intricacies of feminine experience. These are the gifts of feminine expression.