My work, my love, my time, my face

Gathered into one intense

Gesture of growing like a plant.

As slowly as the ripening fruit

Fertile, detached, and always spent,

Falls but does not exhaust the root.

- May Sarton


In our culture, aging has always been a taboo topic for women. Our culture is slowly changing but historically it has been a sign of rudeness to ask a woman her age. It always been ok for men to age, they even become more distinguished, like a fine whiskey. But for women, we have been enculturated to hide our age and to lament the aging process. Women become the haggard old witch or the ugly yet wise crone but very rarely the distinguished beauty of a life well lived, like a rich elegant wine.


As I near my 40’s I can see how much of my life I have kept myself small, suppressed my expressions, or tried to live up to the expectations of others at the expense of my own happiness and fulfilment. I was enculturated to be pleasant, to not rock the boat, and to accept my acquiescent social status. Can you relate? It may not even be that I am female, this enculturation can happen with any power dynamic. It is just that the traditional role of a woman as the milder sex is still lingering insidiously in our culture.  


"Fierce self-compassion, especially when balanced with tender self-compassion, can help us fight for our rights and counter the harm done by centuries of being told to keep quiet and look pretty."

- Kristen Neff


Many of us are fighting (read: working our arses off) more than ever to gain equal pay, equal status, and gain (or maintain) rights to our body autonomy. We didn’t always have access to education, we didn’t always have access to contraception, and we didn’t always have access to leadership positions. But now we do and we do it all, but at a cost. 


We work like we have never worked before, accept for that brief period in history when women first entered the workforce during World War II to build aircrafts and more generally to keep society functioning. The difference is at that time it was empowering for women to leave home, contribute to society at large and earn their very own wage. It was liberating. Now, we are ‘free’ to do it all. To gain the highest education, to climb the career ladder, to give our very bodies over to creating life and then striving to raise children into healthy adults.


My point is that even if we can do it all, because we are fucking amazing, that doesn’t mean we can do it all, all of the time. We need to remember to live with the cycles of the earth to regenerate, to allow our fruits to fall to the earth and let the decomposing process nourish our roots. Autumn is the time of our yearly cycle that we actively slow down, put strategies in place for more pockets of time to rest. Don’t think that it will just happen naturally, if we don’t put boundaries up and protect our time, we become exhausted.


'Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces...'
- May Sarton


To fully claim our equal power we need to delegate instead of being a martyr, we need to get comfortable saying 'no' and we need to be the leaders this world needs by influencing our culture to live by the values of care and compassion. Women are not the milder sex, we are fierce and we use our fierceness to make what is wrong, right. That means teaching others how to treat us, giving ourselves the time we need to be nourished, and protecting our rights that so many women in our past have ferociously given their lives to ensure we have them. 


"A woman's time is infinite and unprotected. She's always available to pick up childcare, do a chore, deal with a problem, or give herself to other unpaid labor… As a result of the systemic inequity that has shaped our society for centuries, women have internalized a belief that their time is worth less than a man's. "Women have started telling themselves that they do the housework and childcare because their husband makes more money, or because they're better at multitasking than their husband, or because it's just more efficient and that, in the time it would take to explain to their husband what needs to be done, they might as well just do it themselves. So many women I speak to tell me that being available all the time has become part of their identity," Rodsky says. "But this is crazy, and it's depriving women of time-choice," she adds. "When we lose time-choice, we lose freedom, and when we lose freedom, we lose power."" - Josie Cox



It takes conscious effort to cultivate your life as the work of art that you desire it to be...

If you were a plant, what kind of plant would you be?

Where are you growing?

What is nourishing your roots, your soil, your foundations?

How are you reclaiming your time, your freedom and your power?

In what ways are you kind, accepting and compassionate toward your own failures?

Who are you becoming? 


Read full poem ‘Now I Become Myself’This blog was inspired by 'Women, Money, Power: The Rise and Fall of Economic Equality' by Josie Cox and 'Fierce Self-Compassion' by Kristen Neff.


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