One of the exercises in a book I’m working through has to do with gender identity, and how “female” or “male” you feel at any given time. I think that often we associate certain traits with one gender or another, when in fact these traits (such as aggressive or passive, logical or emotional) are simply aspects of being human. To me, gender as I’ve experienced it is a continuum. I’m physically a heterosexual female, yet most of the time I feel rather gender-neutral.
Recently, the times I’ve most noticed my femaleness, aside from the hormones associated with my monthly cycle and sexual preferences, have been tied in with being a mother. Even though my kids are teens, I still get that protective feeling in certain situations. Recently ElvenTiger was in the city with friends and neither she nor I could reach BlackLion, who had planned to pick her up. It was only temporary, but I had a surge of aggressive, protective energy, like the proverbial mama bear. The situation was quickly resolved and the feelings faded, and I found myself wondering what the big deal was. She was with friends and not in danger. Then again, Quester feels that way sometimes about the kids, too, so perhaps this is a more universal parent thing.
It’s unfortunate that I feel most female when my hormones are raging, as those out-of-control, weepy feelings have a negative connotation. However, when I was pregnant and breast-feeding, I felt female in a positive and uplifting, rather empowering way. Perhaps the “female feelings,” for me at least, are tied to times when I’m my body is actively using biologically female functions.
During a conversation about gender identity with a trans-gendered friend, she asked BlackLion and I about how attached we are to the genders we currently inhabit. Neither of us felt particularly attached. We both felt like we could be either male or female with ease. Maybe that’s why we were drawn to one another.
I think it’s kind of cool that I generally feel neutral, neither one gender or another. I’m a spiritual being having a human experience, and in this lifetime I’m a woman. No biggie. When I’m immersed in my creativity or moving through my daily tasks, I feel like, well, like me. Like Starcat.
The thing that I notice that’s missing sometimes is that most other people don’t seem as interested in their inner worlds as I am in mine. I guess that applies to both genders, though in the online communities I’m part of, women seem somewhat more inclined to discuss and share about spirituality and philosophy. Maybe that’s because it’s more acceptable for women to be openly vulnerable and questioning, or because women in this culture tend to be less sure of themselves. Women who are actively seeking a stronger connection with an inner source may just be more comfortable sharing their quest with their communities. I’m not sure.
What about you? How does your gender identity show up in your daily life? Does it shift and change? How is your gender a part of who you are? I’m interested in hearing your experience.