Society, the ad industry, the toy industry; they all seem clear about what it means to be feminine. The definition of womanhood starts early and the endless parade of imagery boxing us in begins even earlier. We know that women and men are different and we celebrate those differences. We also know that we should all be able to determine our own understanding of our feminine lives.
For a long time Tovah only saw femininity as ruffles, lace and a lot of pink. No surprise there – the world tells us that is femininity. But this definition never suited Tovah. She was the kid in the gender neutral clothing and short hair.
What she realized this year is that she was pushing femininity away. This was not due to a particular aversion to lace, but rather a deeply entrenched belief that femininity equates to weakness. She associated feelings that she saw as feminine as being lesser. She bought into the tropes that women are overly emotional and prone to hysterics. If you asked her at the time she would have denied these beliefs. She would have said: “women are strong, tough, and brave.” What she was really doing, however, was equating a woman’s strength with traditionally “masculine” features. These beliefs were born out of a lifetime of conditioning.
“You don’t have to play masculine to be a strong woman.” – Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Defining femininity for ourselves is what connects us to our inner goddess. Now you may have stopped reading as soon as you saw the words “inner goddess.” Frankly, we wouldn’t blame you. It was only recently that we both became more aware of how we interpret femininity in our own lives and importantly, why it matters. The concept of an inner goddess need not be frightening or steeped in the nuance of the new age unless that is what resonates for you.
Why should we connect to our inner goddess and what does that even mean?
In truth finding your inner goddess means recognizing that any way you choose to be feminine is okay. Your definition of femininity is up to you. Maybe it includes lace and ruffles and maybe it doesn’t. Your inner goddess is the sound and feeling inside your body, mind, soul — whatever word you choose that resonates — that speaks clearly to you about you and your place in the world. It is your intuition, your instinct, your gut, your sense of knowing that calls to you from inside even when the world may be telling you something different.
By connecting to our inner goddess we align with our inner voice. We spend much of our lives concerned with what other people think. We have standards, goals, and measurements of who we are as compared to who we “should be”. That is all noise that drowns out our own voice. In the same way you turn down the radio if you can’t hear someone talking, we need to turn down the noise in our life.
“The facts were right there in front of me to see. But the truth was right there inside of me to feel.” – Glennon Doyle
That all sounds lovely, but practically speaking in order to get to know that inner goddess you need to take at least two steps:
The first step is identifying what is noise and what is your own voice. When Tovah first did this it shocked her how much literal noise there was in her life. The more she tried to silence the voices taking up space in her mind, the more she realized she needed to build practices into her day that not only quieted the inner noise, but also the actual noise. This practice of turning down the noise looks different for everyone. It may come in the form of meditation, or exercise, or dancing it out in the kitchen. Whatever your personal situation, take some time to figure out how to create some quiet and stillness in your day to day life.
Second, once you get clear on what is your own voice and what is outside noise, take the time to listen by tuning in and turning inward. For us, that means identifying our inner goddess and how we think about connecting to our inner life. This in itself is a huge, and challenging step. It is an ongoing conversation with your heart and body. Learn to listen to your intuition and let go.
We often talk about having a partner on this journey into a bolder life. We highly recommend finding someone that you can talk with and have a gut check with as you are figuring out what is your inner voice and what is just noise. If you don’t have that person, start with a journal. Regardless of where you are in the process, keep going and working. Reach out with your questions and join our community!
“A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” – Melinda Gates