[Edited 17 Apr 2016, 5:33 pm EST]
When I wrote this post yesterday, I wanted to say certain things. But I think it didn’t come out all that great. Let me try again. [Also, because I think it’s important for people to see imperfection and honest messes, I am leaving the original text, below the new post.]
Ariana Grande- pop star- has a new single out called ‘Dangerous Woman,’ and I love the song. Except for one thing: she sings this song to someone else. She’s not feeling like a dangerous woman on her own, from an internal sense of herself. She’s only feeling like a dangerous woman in the presence of someone else.
In our society, a truly dangerous woman (not just a sexually adventurous one) is one who lives and acts from an internal sense of herself.
That woman, the one who does not need to relate, is dangerous because she does not need your support or permission to be who she is. A dangerous woman doesn’t obey the law of Western society which asks her to seek permission and validation from outside herself.
I am learning this lesson afresh.
I am integrating my sensuality and sexuality and I am feeling a different connection to those energies and experiences. Instead of needing someone to express myself with – so that I can feel and understand myself in sexual and sensual ways – I am living this way. I am becoming this, rather than needing to express it outwardly so much.
I am beginning to locate my sexual power not in my ability to express it to or with others, but in how I feel inside myself- and how I live from there.
This is not to say I’m perfect at it. People say I exude sexiness and strength and I still have trouble seeing it and feeling it fully. I still project my desires onto other people. I still feel strange holding sexual power and not doing anything with it. I still feel like a newbie every time I open to a new level of my sexual energy and letting it flow. But stepping forward into it is really the only option. (It is the adventure of life- being scared and stepping over the boundary anyway.)
Perhaps we do need to express ourselves to others before we can internalize something and just be it. Perhaps we need to make sense of it before we can bring the concept into ourselves, before we can embody it. But I wonder if locating our power outside ourselves isn’t something girls are taught to do. (In fact, that is exactly what girls are taught to do. And boys, to a great extent. We are taught to obey society, all of us.)
I got a new tattoo on Thursday. It is a tattoo to crown myself as the Empress of my own life. My power resides within me, on me. I am a dangerous woman, but not because you make me feel that way- I am dangerous because of who I am, deep inside myself, and the fact that I will not obey social norms anymore.
:: ORIGINAL POST BEGINS HERE ::
I’m going to talk about one of the deepest teachings I share with my clients. And I’m sure there are 20,000 things wrong with doing that from a business perspective, but today that doesn’t matter. Because I want women (and men) to be free.
::: ::: ::: :::
Women are taught to know themselves by relating to other people.
Women, even as young girls, are taught that we cannot know who we really are until we begin interacting with and relating to another person as who we are or who we believe ourselves to be.
Think about that for a sec.
We have to relate to others in order to know ourselves.
I think that is kinda messed up.
I think that is kinda patriarchal.
I think that might limit women and men.
Women are more likely to be relational than men. This is partly due to hormones (it’s true, but only a little tiny part of the equation) and muchly due to socialization. And because we are more relational, we are more likely to define ourselves by relationship. And to create ourselves by relationship. (Men do this, too, but on a less obvious level, I think.)
This can be wonderful. It can also be awful.
::: ::: ::: :::
When we create or know ourselves only by relationship, it can take us further from who we actually are. Goodness knows there are bazillions of gals who don’t know who they really are, so they don the latest fads or the ideals of their group and take that as their persona.
The other difficulty is that, if we practice at or try to develop a new part of ourselves and we are rejected by those we relate to, we believe the rejection is a judgement of who we are or who we are trying to become. That we are bad or inadequate or something else negative because they rejected us. In fact, someone else’s rejection of us is only an indicator of their preferences.
Their rejection has zero to do with the goodness or authenticity of who we are or who we are becoming. (But it takes time and practice to understand this.)
::: ::: ::: :::
The real gold of this idea- that we must relate to know and understand ourselves – is that it isn’t true.
We do not need to relate to another to know who we are or who we are becoming.
Others may spark something in us, help us open to another aspect of our true Self, but we do not have to stay connected to them to become the true Self.
When I was going through the Sex Surge, I wanted a man (who was not my husband) very desperately. And I wanted him because I believed, with him, I could finally:
- be sexually free
- be sensual all the time
- express my passion
- create (sexually, verbally, spiritually)
- deeply connect on many levels
I finally (finally) figured out that I could be these things without him. The Joanna I imagined myself to be in his presence was someone I could be anyway. This man sparked a desire for growth in me, but it didn’t mean I could only grow (and become) with him around. [In fact, he never knew about these desires.]
When we decide to stay with our internal selves in this way (not seeking the other) we are actually creating intimacy with ourselves– we are connecting with and accepting ourselves. And we are not running to the other because of our own internal anxiety at having abandoned ourselves.
If we stay with ourselves in this way- defining ourselves without the other- we will also see where we are addicted and where we are needy. [And I just wrote- and deleted- another 400 words about neediness in relationships. Because not all neediness is bad. But, I think it needs its own blog post.] When we run to the other to continue defining us we have to ask why.
::: ::: ::: :::
Once we know, especially as women know, that we can define and become ourselves without relating to the other we are dangerous. We have crawled out from under yet another societal rule that keeps us hidden, ever striving (and therefor ever tired), and small.
I am a dangerous woman now.
I choose to be the Empress.
I choose to be sensual.
I choose to be sexually free.
I choose to create deep connections.
I choose to express my passion.
All without anyone’s help or permission.
::: ::: ::: :::
I don’t want this post to be about rugged individualism and refusing connection. Connecting is one of the best parts of being human. (So many good things about connecting that I just want to gush!) But we must also know ourselves as ourselves. This is one of the most beautiful paradoxes of being human- the need for connection and individuation. It is a dance of learning to love both.