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We are three adults living in a polyamorous triad family. The content here is intended for an adult audience. If you are not an adult, please leave now.
Crone Conversations #1
So, I intend to write as if I were in conversation with a young friend. The young woman that I envision on the other end of what is coming next, is a composite creature who exists only in my own mind. I have begun to call her, Melly. Melly is at the threshold of her adult life. She is full of promise. She grew to this point in a loving family, with a wise mother and an adoring father, and a sister five years her senior. Melly is a bright young woman with average looks, and she is smart enough to know just how far she falls from the genetic superstar women who are paraded in front of her every single day. She worries and frets and fusses that she might never be pretty enough or sexy enough or good enough. She sings, and she has a lovely, strong, warm voice full of character. She may never be a rock star, but the music flows from her with great joy. She is full of curiosity, wanting to know about the theater and the sciences and the great big questions of life. She has a heart full of compassion for all those who suffer and want in her world. If she could, she would make sure that every girl, everywhere, had the right to be educated. She would feed every hungry mouth. She would put an end to violence and bloodshed. In Melly's world, there would be no war, no torture, no persecution, no discrimination, no hatred. She is not me, and she is not my daughter. I wish I'd been her, and I wish that, when I was where she is now, I had found someone like me to talk with. Melly allows me the luxury of framing the questions that I will attempt to answer here.
Melly wonders: How will it affect and influence my life that I was born a woman and not a man?
Your woman's body is a vehicle and a frame and a shelter for your woman's soul. It is strong and dark and tender and mysterious. You already know much of what your wonderful woman's body can do. You have danced and played volleyball and painted theater sets and sent music soaring into the hearts of all who have heard you. You have laughed and cried with your friends. You have followed the imaginings of your heart, enjoying a young woman's dreams, experimenting with what it means to "fall in love," and move on from that place. You are as able as any man; which is not to say that there are not things that are uniquely part of living as a female person in our world.
There are lots of people who will attempt to force you to meet their expectations. From parents and siblings to classmates and colleagues; from friends to lovers; from the media to the government to the religious establishment; you are going to find yourself told who to be and how to be. Listen to your own good heart and follow your own path. That is probably the hardest thing you will need to do from this point forward. No matter what anyone tells you, you will know what is the best thing for you. If you get confused, and make a mistake, don't be afraid to turn around and take another path. Whatever path you follow, be aware of the point where path turns into rut. If the way you are going begins to feel like it is no longer the way you would choose, then stop and consider carefully. There is something scary about taking off in a totally new and unknown direction, but the seemingly safe and comfortable way is not always a good thing.
Define yourself for yourself. Don't let the expectations of the outside turn into "musts" and "shoulds" for you. In spite of all that has changed for women in our society, there is still a very entrenched social "norm" for the trajectory of women's lives. The society around you still believes that you will not be a "complete" woman until you marry and have children. Horse feathers! You are complete exactly as you are. You may choose to love in whatever way you feel works for you. Do not allow your sexuality to be co-opted into some sort of fairy tale princess fantasy that has nothing to do with who you really are. Ignore the labels that force you off your own path. You may, in time, choose traditional marriage. If you do, I hope that is a wonderful and fulfilling way for you to live your dreams. However, I want you to know that it is not true that you MUST marry in the traditional sense. You may find that you love more widely. You may find that you are happier with more loosely defined relationships. You may find that you need more autonomy and freedom than the role of "wife" affords you. There are choices that you can make, and each one of them can lead you to a life that makes you happy and fulfills your needs. It is also not true that every woman born on this Earth is destined to become a mother, or that motherhood is necessarily the highest and best calling for you. Being "mom" to another human being is an awesome undertaking, and not one that is easy or guaranteed to bring you happiness. And, whatever anyone else may tell you, you can choose to be sexual without agreeing to bear a child as a result. The life that you are responsible for is yours.
Find work that you love. Find work that allows you to create. Find work that feeds you beyond the money it may provide you. Do not allow gender labels to define what you can do, and what you cannot do. Generations of men and women before you worked and struggled to break down barriers for you. Any that remain, are yours to tackle for those who will follow you. Teach or build or heal or sing or wander as you will. Live every single day that you are given as fully as you can.
The person that you are has value far beyond the body that you were born into. Never look into the mirror and see only the surface. The body that you wear each day will grow and change and age and decline and, one day, die. The scars and diminishments that are an inevitable result of living over time show up on your surface, but the person inside goes on growing and learning and living and loving. When your young woman's freshness dims; when your skin wrinkles and sags; when the curves that are now your adornment fall to lumps and rolls of tired flesh; when your sight dims and your hearing falters; when you find you can no longer dance and leap; remember who you really are. Hold onto your joy and your bravery and your hope.
Learn. Never stop learning. Every new sunrise will bring new lessons and new adventures. Take it all in. See what there is there of interest. Be fascinated and enchanted and amazed by each new thing. From the moment you opened your eyes in this life of yours, you have learned. You spoke the sounds you learned, you walked the steps you learned. you sang the notes you learned, you traveled the world you learned. Do that. Just that. Everyday of your life. Being female changes nothing if you learn. Being female changes nothing if you live. Really live.