Being a Feeling Woman in the Patriarchy

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I’m so thrilled you could join me for today’s conversation because it’s based on conversations that I’ve been having with a few women over the past week, all of which tended to dial into one common theme, and that’s feeling (or in lots of cases not feeling).


 

Transcript

I thought there would be more than this?!  Is this it? 

Two questions that I hear midlife women ponder time and time again.   

For me, I distinctly remember the question hitting me in the heart with a sudden force that took my breath away and made me think, ‘this is it, I’m having a midlife crisis’!  I looked around me, taking in my two beautiful children, my house, my husband, all the good fortune we’ve been privileged to enjoy and thought – why is this not making me happy?  Why do I resent it all, why I am I narky and grumpy, why can’t I drag my ass out and exercise instead of diving into bars of chocolate and glasses of wine?   

Why do I love all of this so much and yet equally desire to run away from it all, why am I so bored, and why do I hate myself so much for feeling all of these things?  

And in these nuances lies the answer – that in a patriarchal society, women are not allowed to feel or express the multitude of feelings they experience every day.   

From an early age, I embodied the idea that girls should be seen and not heard.  To the point where I used to give myself a specific word count for each day, and if I stayed within that wordcount I would consider myself to be a good girl.     

When I was 11, my breasts developed, and I started my periods.  My body was growing too quickly for my mind and I was ashamed to be different.  My mum did her best and taught me the basics, but I had no role model showing me how to love or celebrate these changes, how to feel through the transitions and tumultuous emotions of my blooming body, and so I started to control these emotions with food.  This began a 30-year relationship of using food to numb and control my emotions swinging from deprivation and starvation to compulsive eating.  Food was my mask, my go-to, my anchor when my feelings seemed out of control.  Eating was better than feeling.   

When I reached my early thirties, I got married and had two beautiful boys which unearthed an extreme range of emotions, from the purest of joy to the darkest rage.  These emotions would overwhelm me and leave me (literally) curled up in a ball on the floor in an attempt to protect myself.  I did not know how, or feel safe enough, to feel the strength of these emotions.   

Instead, I’d found another numbing agent – busyness and angry cleaning!  From morning to night, I was busy looking after other people, taking care of their needs, making sure they had everything they wanted, threw myself into building a business, spending every minute of free time working, or cleaning the house until I would flop into bed at 10pm only to get up and do it again the next day and the next.  The business kept me distracted from a growing sense of frustration, resentment and disconnect, the food filled a hole of loneliness and self-contempt, and the sweeping brush would be picked up and used as an avoidance technique to speaking to my husband and dealing with the gaping hole that had developed in our relationship. 

So, there I was in my 40s – dealing with a life of not feeling, of fearing my emotions, of thinking that bad emotions made me a bad person.  There was no space to express, no space to breathe, no space to rest, or just be.  It was numb, empty and filled with that question, is this it? 

The reason why I want to speak around my experience, is because it’s not in any way, shape or form unique, and I believe my loves, this is because this state of numbness is exactly where patriarchal society wants us to be.   

It wants us to be stuck and powerless.  It wants to disconnect us from the bounty of our bodies and view them as vehicles for men’s enjoyment or reproduction or unpaid labour.  It wants us to feel shame and guilt and question ourselves as to whether we are too much or not enough.   

It wants to keep us here, because when we are busy, distracted, feeling unworthy and full of shame, we do not have the energy to challenge the status quo.  We don’t have the strength to lift our heads up from the to-do list and say where has the patriarchal structure with its slavery to capitalism, racial hierarchy, insatiable consumption, destruction of the planet, inequality of wealth, and total severance from our spiritual nature got us? 

The planet is on fire, sick with virus’s, ravaged by war yet the structures destroy and consume, destroy and consume, whilst women as a collective battle with feelings of not being good enough to make a difference. 

I am here to let you know that it is safe to feel all of your emotions.  To support you to open up, welcome them, love them and find the truth that lies within.  There is so much more out there for you, if you can start to feel your way through the numbness.   

I’m here to let you know that it is safe to rise, to stake a claim for what you desire for yourself and the rest of the world.  To experience a different way of operating beyond the robotic dance of servitude that you perform every day, and it all starts within your body. 

It starts by working deep through your shame, guilt, tension and anxiety.  It starts by connecting to yourself as a fully feeling woman and the expression of that fullness.  It starts by setting new boundaries, replacing limiting beliefs and re-connecting to the very essence of you and the reason why you were birthed into this world. It starts with putting yourself first and opening your heart to the belief that you are valuable beyond belief, and perfect in all of your imperfections. 

When all of this lands deep in your body, then the magic happens because once you have expanded, and sense things differently, it’s impossible to go back to the numbness and heartbreak of not feeling anything.  And so you start to rise, step-by-step, change-by-change until you rise as mother and queen of your earth, where you make up our own rules and no longer bow down to the word of the father.  

If this resonates with you in any way, I would love to hear your thoughts.   

If this resonates with you, and you want to do something about it – dive into your feelings, feel safe and supported to express them without guilt or shame – I invite you to book in for your free clarity session where we can explore this together and create a plan for actualising change both in you, and the space you inhabit. 

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I help midlife women make bold, body based decisions so they can move forward with confidence, clarity and ease.

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