Divine Feminine Fallacy Part I – I Hate Successful Women

You know those memes that nimbly point fingers at some ubiquitous yet unnamed hater? Like:

Meme: haters are my motivators

And:

I'm not jealous, I just don't like that dirty whore

I am that Hater.  I don’t want to utilize this blog as a sphere of severe self-flagellation. (That’s what Facebook posts are for right?) But, as part of addressing the Divine Feminine Fallacies of my own life, I need to get real.

For many years, I thought my bouts of frequent comparison and envy were gender-less.

But, then I started to notice something when that familiar closed-chest feeling hit as I heard about someone’s creative career success or picked up a magazine with a gorgeous woman on the cover.

I was hardly ever jealous of men, no matter how many “30 Under 30” lists they appeared under.

What was it about other women that made my innards curl into coils of envy when I saw their successes?

In real life, I cheer my women friends and love seeing women leaders.  I played basketball (and loved the teamwork aspect) for over ten years.  I’ve mentored young girls and believe all those memes about helping one’s sister.

haters3

Sadly, my unconscious was like, nah bitch…You Are Indeed a HATER.

It was tough:  I felt (and still often feel) incredible shame about these feelings. I want to be a “good feminist”. I am inspired by so many women. I love all things women’s empowerment.

The thing about self-love and acceptance is that you don’t get to live in la-la land if you’re practicing it right. You have to face some hard shit, like how you have internalized the patriarchy. You have to face the not-so-pretty aspects of who you are, the ones that don’t line up with what we profess on the outside.

After lots of meditation, serial-killer like scrawling in numerous journals, and a general openness to what my body has been trying to communicate to me for years, I discovered that I am a Hater of epic proportions.

So appropriate for moi
So appropriate for moi

I could have stopped there, decided I was a terrible person and a farce of a feminist, but I pressed deeper until I saw the story-lines and beliefs that were driving the feelings and thoughts.

I learned that believed in Scarcity in every definition of the word:

That there isn’t room or enough for me “out there”. That I don’t I have what it takes to be successful (not disciplined enough, not photogenic enough, not good enough mixture of witty-intelligent, that I didn’t grow up in the “correct place”...)

I believed that women are my competitors and that I needed to outshine them at all times.

THIS is what I believe in that deep, deep murky grey level of unconscious thought. This is what drives me to Instagram comparison and stalling in certain areas of my life when it comes to building my dreams.

Thankfully, jealousy is also a clue.

A couple months ago, I decided I was going to stop running from this feeling and letting it define who I am. As soon as I decided to do this, all kinds of synchronous happenings entered my life on the nature of female comparison/envy and how jealousy is not the end.

Competition and a belief in lack are some of the greatest bargaining chips the patriarchy has.

I remember hearing from the age of about ten onward that women are just naturally jealous. I heard my own teammates bemoan how women were just catty and that they “wished they could play basketball with the dudes, ‘cuz there was never any drama.” (LOLZ to those of us who remember the Kobe-Shaq Lakers days…)

The values of the patriarchy which so often blend into the tenets that uphold Western civilization espouse constant competition and the Marlboro Man mentality–the lone hero divorced from community and better for it.

Our media never ceases to tell women they are not enough in beauty, brains, or talent. That there are the “stars” and then there are the rest of us: ugly in our ordinariness and imperfections. Our society tell women that there is only so many accolades to go around.

And as much as feminism and my own critical thinking skills helped me resist these ideas to some degree, I had to admit to myself just how much I had internalized them.

Self-love means accepting that I am not the only person with this issue, especially in such a social media saturated world. Hopefully by shining a light on my own struggles, I can more honestly assist other people who feel this same type of cognitive dissonance.

When I feel the anxious stirring of jealousy or comparison today, I don’t wish or will it away.

Here is what I do instead:

  1. Admit When I Am Being a Hater:

I pause. I put my phone down or close out of the article. I listen to my body, the tightness of my chest or upper shoulders. I breathe into it this feeling and allow it to be as big as it wants to.

2. Dig Deep as to Why I Am Hating:

I ask myself some questions. What exactly am I jealous of? What is the Story I am creating? (i.e. I never earned an MBA, therefore I can’t start my own business, Good writers are recognized by age 30, etc.) Why do I think possessing said trait or thing will make me happy? Why don’t I think I can?

As I said before, Jealousy is a HUGE clue for what we actually want. It’s honestly nothing to be ashamed of, no matter how trivial the desire may seem. Perhaps we want to write more or travel to tropical islands or speak our political views without caring what our friends think. By engaging and being honest about where and who we are jealous of, we can start to build the life we want for ourselves. Usually, it is not that we want to be another person, we just want to feel such good things are possible for us too.

3.Tell the person!

Yikers. This one takes ovaries but once you do it, it bizarrely feels good. Sometimes, if the person is someone I know, I just admit it to them. I don’t blame them and I am not expecting or needing them to babysit my emotions. Being vocally honest allows my hater-ade to dissipate. I am able to feel more and move beyond the super grips of envy. Plus, the other person gets to see just how awesome they are.

You don’t need to drag it on forever and turn it into a self-pity session. (Please don’t do that.) Just a simple, “I’m mad jealous you got to meet President Obama,” will do. Many times, you may even find out they are jealous of you for some reason!

We humans are very funny.

4. Remember the Patriarchy Sucks:

It exists to divide and to stifle. It sells a story of Not-Enough and perpetuates a deep feeling of lack. It divorces us from people who can help us. Jealousy is almost always about feeling we are not enough on some level.

There was no way I was going to be able to fully embrace divine feminine principles without examining and discarding these vestiges of the patriarchy. I wanted a deeper integration of feminist values in my life and desired to support women in all their ways of being—not just when it was convenient for my ego.

Addressing my jealousy is steadily helping me to be a whole-hearted person, integrated and truly alive.

5. Take the simplest action:

Delete the app. Practice four square breathing. Take a walk. Actually write down the whys and who’s of your envy. Take the smallest step toward building your own version of success: look up those ticket prices, go to the Zumba class, write down 10 accomplishments you’re been proud of, dress to the nines for work the next day.

Above all else, love who you are in this moment. You are doing the best you can.

Don't know who "Jakee" is, but you are loved!
Don’t know who “Jakee” is, but you are loved!

Jealousy did and does not make me defective. It is not my whole story. I wish I knew this sooner, but I know it now!

If you struggle with jealousy or comparison, it’s not your entire story unless you want it to be.

Let’s get to that revision, shall we?

Onward,

Hannah

On Positivity

Thinking positive never really worked for me.

Sure, sometimes my tenuous glee would buoy me for a couple of hours or a couple of days, but it always felt like I was failing at positivity all the time. 

Dark brown skinned hand in thumbs up in front of wall painting of ocean.
C’mon Be Happy!

I was trying really hard to be positive, but trying is trying. It gets tough and ungainly after some time.

I have read copious amounts of self-help. There is something deeply American about self-help and I cannot say that I hate it. I love word combos like ‘personal growth’ and ‘self-love’.

I somehow always find myself in bookstore aisles marked ‘Personal Transformation’.

 

I have read enough self-help to know that ‘just be happy’ and ‘think positive’ do not um, translate well for me. God, I wish it did! I wish that I always saw the bright side, that I thought the best of people irregardless of their previous rudeness, that I never cussed slow drivers under my breath or saw progress in every news headline.

Sometimes I do. But often, I am a person with a lotta feelings. And many of those are not relegated under Positive.

How I punished myself on this lack of positivity! I was sure “the Universe” was auditing my every negative thought and sending bad karma  back to me.

I was like some sadistic accountant, marking each negative thought I had with a brilliant red pen.

I think a lot of self-help ‘gurus’ and teachers do people a tremendous amount of disservice by suggesting that being purely positive is the only way lasting joy can occur.

Most of these times these gurus are living lives that most would find enviable and their good fortune, though usually hard and rightfully won, blinds them to the hurdles and sadness people are desperately trying to climb out of. (Thankfully there are some self-help leaders who are decidedly NOT espousing this message.)

Their words and lectures cheapen our kaleidoscope of human experience.

I will never fault people on their path to happiness. But, aren’t we humans so much deeper than this?

I always wanted to be one of those bloggers who had some wham-bam story of my reversal of fortunes. I was once sad, hopeless, pessimistic, and alone. I was broke. But now, look at me! I am HAPPY! ALL THE TIME! And you can be too! Just pay me monthly installments of $599 @1299 and I’ll show YOU how!

Well, I am not one of those bloggers apparently.

I have a really good life. It is deepening and opening up in a way I find miraculous due to the great humans I’ve encountered and all of my efforts in self-helpery: the classes, books, webinars, and programs.

There is no grand reversal in my life to testify of. There is just my erratic pace on my own distinct, healing path: sometimes still, other times racing like mad, but mostly a steady, sure walk.

When a therapist first suggested I accept myself as I was some years ago, I was appalled. Now why in the fuck would I do that? I thought instantaneously.

Chalkboard of Bad Feelings with X over it
What too many self-help books dictate

It seemed counter-productive to the extreme. I wanted to change! I wanted to be happier, fitter, less weird around money, comfortable in my skin, sure of my purpose. I wanted to be a positive person.

I ran around acceptance, didn’t want to touch it in the least.

And now, I sit here with her and it’s actually pretty good.

Acceptance does not mean I have to love or like the thing I am accepting.

Acceptance is noticing the full reality of whatever it is. I cannot change my bad self-care habits if I don’t look closely at why I am acting this way in the first place.

Being ‘positive’ about those things I wanted to was a disaster to me. It’s like that old anecdote about holding a beach ball under water. No matter how strong your grip is, soon enough it ricochets up and probably hits you right in the face.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get hit in the face with a beach ball.

I choose to accept where I am at. To look at my full reality, unpleasant and affirming, good and bad, fucked up and enlightening.

It’s funny, because I’ve never felt so positive in my whole life than I do these days.

And I’m not even trying.

Go figure.

Dark brown skinned hand holding pink petaled flower in front of large wall painting of ocean
Sometimes acceptance of what is brings you flowers

Onward,

Hannah

 

 

Letter from a Blue Restorative INFP

So, I like tests. Personality tests to be exact, though tests in general never really scared me. Personality tests were always an alluring topic for me: fill out the bubbles, see how many more A’s you have than C’s, find yourself on the Likert scale of your choice… I loved the idea of the right assortment of answers unlocking who I was.

So, what did I find?

I am an INFP.

INFP

I have a blue-green brain.

My top strengths are Input, Intellection, Restorative, Empathy, and Individualization.

I am an Aries with a Gemini moon and Aquarius ascendant.

Of course, these tests would never really solve the truest desire of my soul, which was to know myself and peek at the divine within. The thing about external measures is that they are only pointers to what our souls already know. We often confuse the pointer with the answer.

Still, these tests were fun and pretty interesting to look back on. For instance, I used to test as an ENFP and then slowly came to be an INFP over time. Honestly, if you’re ever bored on The Internet, these tests can be illuminating.

I write this because I am still swimming in the waters of trying to figure out who I am. I am still tearing off identities that don’t fit, peeling off layers that only serve to make me uncomfortable, constrained, and annoyed.

Surely you can relate.

Maybe you’re addicted to personality tests like me. I can also say I am a workshop junkie and a self-help fiend at times.  Hello, my name is Hannah and I am addicted to online “challenges”.

I wandered bookstores in a myriad of cities, would look up and find myself surrounded by A Course in Miracles and Co-Dependent No More. It was like some weird sort of magic.

ACIM.org
ACIM.org

I was always hoping Someone Else would give me a clue on how to be myself. (I’m an Aries, we can’t help but study ourselves and even my personality tests say I’m likely to be a constant improver. Sigh…)

What kind of woman do I want to be and who I am now? Who I am when no one is looking and there is no chance for side-eyes, internet ridicule, or second guessing?

Today (for today and this minute is all that we have), I am an idealistic woman wanting to fully express herself in the world. I am organized chaos. I am a wounded healer. I am a goddess wrapped up in a funnel coat.

I try not to berate myself for my constant inner searching and treks to energy healers, classes, and seminars galore. I used to.  A LOT. It was another thing I added to the I Hate Myself list. Laughing about this drive in me is much better. Oh, Hannah, you test addict you!

Besides, because of these journeys, I have become a better person more attuned to my own path.That’s not a terrible thing.

But, I am ready to stop looking for the next book to speak direction. I am ready to define myself and work with what I have. Maybe it’s the New Moon in Aquarius.

Art By: Mystic Mamma
Art By: Mystic Mamma

Even as I write this, I am a little like WTF, Hannah? I have been in a military environment for more than ten years. I have a degree in Community and Economic Development. I was a Logistics major…who I am to be talking about new moons and this “woo-woo crap”?

I am who I am. That is the answer. And I don’t want my navel gazing to be in vain. I want it to serve in whatever way it can. I want other women and girls to live fully expressed and in love with Life, right here right now.

Really, I want for others what I want for myself:

To be free.

So, whoever is reading this manifesto-y self-exploration blog post, please bear with me. I am trying to let my soul know that it is now or never.

Dear Soul,

It’s time to stop hiding. It’s time to step into this next stage and live without looking for a test or model life to conform. (You can still read some self-help books but let’s try more novels, huh?)

You are not alone in this quest and all this living you have done will be of use. Your quest to live with honesty will serve others.

If it doesn’t, well, I sure as hell hope they find someone who does help them. Here’s to action. Here’s to being Yourself.

With love,

Hannah

 

 

My So-Called InstaPerfect Life

A reminder
A reminder

I wake up each morning at 6 am. I meditate for 20 minutes and complete a 20 minute cycle of yoga. I say gratitude prayers over a candle and my boyfriend lovingly smiles at me as he fixes breakfast. I drink my daily warm lemon juice and green smoothie. Yum! This is my  daily ritual. Nothing messes with these events.

I write for 20 minutes and am astounded that my words resemble the opening chapter of a Toni Morrison novel. I rest secure in my artistic gift.

I shower.  I only use organic soaps and jojoba oil once I’ve toweled off with my natural fiber towel. My locs are always supple and bouncy. My skin is clear and radiant. I look at my phone and take in my daily Deepak Chopra affirmation. I feel supremely connected.

I kiss my boyfriend goodbye as he hands me my vegan lunch. I am impeccably dressed by the way. It is near freezing outside but I look totally chic with a brilliant pop of red lipstick. My hair is perfect and my liquid eyeliner lined eyes are without mistake.

My I-Pod shuffles between walking meditations and upbeat 90’s music. Everyone smiles at me as I walk towards Atlantic Center. I hand out several dollar bills to the homeless I see. I am light, peaceful, and open.

On the train, a man walks up, “You looking fine! I love a woman in red lipstick! Do you have a boyfriend?” he says.  He sits close to me and starts talking more. I put down my Oprah’s Book Club pick and look him square in the eyes and speak in a level, assertive voice,

“Sir, I appreciate your comments but I do not want to talk right now. I am reading. Please be wary  of commenting on a stranger’s looks in public spaces. Namaste.”

“Wow, miss, you really taught me something. I’m going to read some bell hooks tonight.” He walks away with a grin.

I smile to myself, happy to insert loving feminism into the atmosphere.  The R train car smells like roses and is a nice temperature. The people in the train car have countenances full of sunshine.

Once, I arrive at work, I am greeted by my supervisor,

“You are awesome!” she says, flashing a thumbs up.

I smile but know that my true worth resides within me.  I am ego-less and free. All day I work in complete dedication at a good pace. I spend one hour in the nearby gym in a high intensity spin class. I walk past the candy laden food machines all day without stopping for a Snickers. I eat my lunch slowly and mindfully while sitting down.

Once I depart work, I conduct a series of errands easily and all in a row. Whenever I am waiting in line, I breathe deeply and feel the genuine deepness of God in my heart.

Later, I meet a friend for dinner. I expertly pick a place not too expensive and spend wisely. (No dessert!) When my friend announces she has made 100K from her blog and is touring South America next week, all I feel is a supreme joy. We hug and I feel the interconnection of our souls.

On my way home, a modeling scout hands me a card and says I should really hook up with his agency who are looking for Amazonesque dark-skinned women.

My boyfriend greets me at the door of our apartment which now smells like chocolate. He has made flourless cake! I cut a tiny piece and feel completely satisfied.

We watch an educational documentary on Netflix. I meditate for 20 minutes after the movie concludes and am in bed at 10:30. I and my boyfriend engage in loving sexual relations and both of us orgasm simultaneously. I fall asleep to lucid dreams where I find out my life’s purpose and talk with my late grandmother.

The end.

Sometimes I really wish my days looked like this. As I wrote this, I couldn’t help but chuckle out loud. While some of these practices and experiences are indeed very possible, the level of pressure I put on myself to conform to them ALL THE TIME is ludicrous.

I may not explicitly think I am doing so, but usually these experiences are what I expect my life to be.

I am a human being.  Sometimes I feel anxious. Sometimes I am crazy jealous. I often eat too fast and ignore the fact that I and milk chocolate don’t agree. Sometimes I am  bitterly disappointed by my failures. Sometimes I am eager for attention in a way that scares me.

I have moments I grow so despondent over the state of the world I don’t know what to do with myself.

Sometimes I think I am deeper or better than others.

I am a work in progress.

When I write out the lofty expectations I have for my life here, I can laugh. Who can be that perfect every single day? Instagram and whatever social media app will have us think everyone is. But, c’mon, now. Every day?

I hope this made you laugh too. We all want perfect days. But, maybe the harder work is seeing what is already perfect. What is already so very good right now? I don’t know about you, but I am tired of acting as if my present life is a prequel to the Next Better Thing.

I wish you the ease of being you in all your imperfection. And remember, I write this because I need to learn it myself.

Love,

Hannah