"We live in a cultural climate that makes women feel perpetually guilty for simply being women." - Lisa Lister
I sat this evening reading “Witch” by Lisa Lister and she has a fantastic chapter about the witch hunts. Lisa says that after women were persecuted for their skills, knowledge and life-giving power, we were now told that our bodies were places of sin and shame and we were supposed to be obedient under patriarchy.
It made me think of the photograph of myself feeding Autumn-Violet. Years ago I would have never dreamed of putting something like that on the internet. Not because I mind personally, but because I cared very greatly what other people thought.
My body is not shameful, at least not to me anymore.
It has taken so long to get to this point. It is a lesson I learn, and re-learn, with deepening awareness. It’s something that takes me by surprise every now and then, as I worry my dress is cut too low or I’ve left it too long without shaving my legs. It leaves me gasping for air. I think, shit, I thought I dealt with all this before. Why is this coming up again?
Wounds run deep.
Trauma leaves epigenetic markers on our bodies – we are scarred by the trauma of our grandmothers and all that came before. It literally lives in our skin.
But maybe you are the one who has been chosen now.
What we are dealing with is layers. Peeling back layers of deepening awareness and truths. Learning is not linear, it is cyclical.
I look back to the days where I couldn’t leave the house without a product used for every part of my body. Where I thought I needed a bra that dug into my ribcage, left red welts and compromised my breathing to make me look decent to the world. That myself, unaltered, was something that was not fit to be seen. Shame, shame.
When I couldn't stand to even acknowledge the body I lived in. The plastic wrappers of menstrual products rustling, then hidden in the waste paper bin.
I look at myself. Soft stomached, face lightly lined.
Myself and my daughter, belly to belly, hand in hand. Born through me and of me. She will have inherited some of my trauma, some of my truth. She will have lessons to unravel and my own mistakes to contend with. I am in no doubt of that. I can do one thing for her at least… what I hope more than anything is that she will know her female body is a safe place to be, in its unaltered raw form. I hope that anything she chooses to do with her body is done through joy.
I hope she knows that she is the Goddess personified.
Photograph by Lillian Craze Birth Photography (click the photo!)