So, I was kinda overwhelmed at the response to last week’s post. Over 98 women were moved to email or message me to share their body story. Not for publication, not for any reason at all apart from a yearning, deep in their womb, to share their story with a sister. They heard their story in mine, and were called to respond.
I made a lot o’ eye water last Tuesday, not because some of those stories were sad, although some of them were, not because those stories were painful, although some of them were, but because, so many of us are in one hell of a messed up relationship with our bodies.
Lots of women wrote asking if I could fix them. In fact I heard that so deeply, my instant knee-jerk reaction was to think of a gazillion ways in which I could reach out to each woman who shared her story and provide her with an answer, a solution.
Lots of women wrote offering to fix me.
But the truth is, no-one needs fixing.
I worship at the altar o’ Akhilanda, the goddess of never not broken, you can read about her in my book SASSY, because for me, it’s in our ability to be broken and to explore the dark and unknown-ness between the cracks, that our true nature, the very essence of who we are is revealed. Now, if that all sounds super-deep and like it might be a bit painful, in my experience, you’d be completely right, but the payoff?
The payoff is golden.
The release, the growth, the healing that happens when we turn our awareness to the cracks becomes SHE medicine - freakin’ powerful and potent wisdom - that flows between the broken pieces like liquid gold, letting light in and letting light out.
We are still broken, each fragment holding a piece of the story of who we are, but we’re no longer dis-connected from ourselves. From what it is to be a woman. From what it is to be THIS woman, in THIS body.
Which is why I dive deep into menstrual (mind, body, & spirit) health with the women I work with, because the reason as to why so many of us are unable to fully embrace our menstrual cycle and in turn our bodies, our self-worth and our complete woman-ness, is because we’ve never been fully initiated into womanhood.
In lots of cultures around the world a girl’s transition to womanhood is celebrated in ritual and ceremony; it’s the time of coming into her power, yet so many women in the western world have lacked that celebratory entry into womanhood, and this has effected everything from their attitude to their menstrual cycle, how they parent, how they do business, how they view the body they reside in and how they show up in the world.
I see how so many of my actions in love, in relationships, in business, in life have been informed by a 13 year old me who’s mumma wasn’t there for her and refused to talk about this with her.
In fact, I didn’t fully come into my power as a woman until my 34th year, 21 years on from my first bleed, when I had my very own menarche ceremony. (Yep, you can totally throw yourself a menarche celebration at any time in your life, in fact I actively encourage it on the Explore Your Lady Landscape programme!)
I invite the women in the Explore Your Lady Landscape circle to start excavating their SHE power, to re-connect to the truth of who they are, through sharing their menarche story, the story of their first bleed. These are OUR stories, and in sharing them, we can find our truth and reclaim our power.
I am in total wonderment staring at my screen as woman after woman steps forward to share that moment for her. It’s not clean, it’s not edited, it’s not polite, it’s raw and vulnerable and there is definitely swearing. I especially love when they come back to the story days later and add a delicious revelation that has occurred since they first shared it. Or a fellow circle member has seen their own story in the one being shared. In the sharing of stories, if we dare to delve deep enough, we will be offered our SHE medicine. This is where the healing happens. This is where the truth is revealed. For ourselves and for all ladykind.
How was it for you? If it was pushed aside, un-celebrated, frowned at, shrouded in shame, then there’s a big chance that you are experiencing being a woman in the same way. I've told my menarche story a few times in public now, and each time I take myself back to that moment, another realisation about myself as a woman becomes evident, which is why, if you were one of the women that wrote to me wanting desperately to be fixed, asking for answers, asking for me to create a diet plan so you could love your body again, asking for me to please make INbodyment a course, I invite you to start here. No diet, no five point plan to follow for insta-self-love, simply ask yourself 'how did I experience my first bleed?' What did it feel like? Where were you? Was it celebratory? Was it negative?
I’d really recommend writing your story as if you were there, in that young girl’s body, in that moment, right now and allow your heart to simply riff on it.
This is such an important exercise and one that may need a couple of visits. For some it can be quite traumatic, for others it was such a non-event that you may have wiped it clean from your memory, but keep going there, keep re-visiting, because this is where the real INbodyment begins.
As always, if you feel called, I invite you to share.