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What it Really Means to be a Woman

Tameka Mullins | VenusBlogs Contributor
Artwork: Ysabel LeMay

Being female. What does that really mean? Beyond the shapes of our bodies and our vaginas which are the nucleus of all existence, who are we?

We are strength and doubt. We strut and slump and power our way through life knowing exactly what we want and then in the next moment we know nothing. We are the dreams of our ancestors, the hopes of our mothers and the nightmares of our children. We inspire, provoke and incite or so they say. Everything we do means something and if we do nothing — that means more than what we actually do.

We are walking billboards. If we are absent of a smile at any moment of the day we will be spotted and informed. How dare we not be bubbly 24-7? We are the sun, moon and stars and we are to be illuminated at all times.

Boxes were built for us, but we outgrew them, now we require open fields. We face the resentment of our new status in stilettos and flats and sneakers. We fly airplanes, pull teeth, design dresses, birth babies and build rocket ships. We yawn, swallow our fatigue and digest it using it for fuel the next day.

Our DNA is filled with doctrines, beliefs and falsehoods passed down from numerous generations. Our brains buzz trying to analyze the data. Speak softly. No, if you do that then you won’t be heard. Be boisterous. No, that isn’t lady-like, you’ll be shunned. Take extra iron while menstruating. No, if you do that you’ll overdose and die. Be bold and ask a man out. No, he’ll think you’re easy. Be old-fashioned and traditional. Uh, if you do that you’ll die an old maid.

Then there is the issue of hair. Wear it long and be seen as a harlot, chop it off and be identified as a lesbian. Color it and you’re a member of the illuminati. Don’t wear braids, twists or an afro or you’ll be forever making a political statement.

Speaking of politics. We belong to the establishment. Brandied out at election time. Binders befall us. If we shout out against rape we’re talked down to and lectured on what physical violations really mean. We’re conditioned to believe we are to blame for someone else’s lack of control, power issues or mental illness.

As caregivers we nurture, smother, hover and ignore. Can you blame us? We’re confused. So many self-help books, talk shows and media articles have instructed us on how to be. We’ve lost the sense of who we really are because others are continuously re-writing the manual. See that right there? MANual. Enough said.

At our core we’re lovers. Lovers of nature, learning, new life, adventure, new shoes. We like science books, ball gowns and fancy cars and sweet mints after church. When we wake up in the morning we’re already thinking about what we’re going to accomplish the next day and we’re worrying about what we’ll be doing next year.

We are not to be figured out. Women are not a math problem. We can be a world solution though. When we stand together many great things can be achieved, but don’t put us on pedestals. A lot of us won’t live up to our own high standards. So what if we don’t? To live at all is a blessing and navigating life in a woman’s skin is a huge undertaking. A lot of what we learn about ourselves happens in difficult times when we’re not wearing make-up or baking pies or doing womanly things.

To be a woman is to simply breathe in, exhale out and do it all over again. If we’re blessed enough to do so. That. Is. All.

Tameka is a native Detroiter, living in New York who loves writing, networking and cultivating great relationships. Her professional background includes work as a social media strategist, public relations professional, radio segment producer, project manager and consultant for media & publishing companies as well as non-profit organizations, most notably, WCBS, Newsweek, Scholastic, Girl Scouts of the USA and the American Cancer Society. She wrote her first poem when she was 5-years-old and it consisted of just two words: “I dream.” She believes that with persistence and passion dreams can be transformed into goals which become reality. Her novel Letters to Chyna, which delves into the emotionally charged issues of adoption is currently being reviewed and considered for publication. Follow her on Twitter @Tamstarz.

  • Sulekha

    Tameka, you have read my mind, but I couldn’t write it like you have done. It is a beautiful piece of writing, honest, sensitive and bold. Lady, you are something else :)

    • Tameka Mullins

      Thanks so much Sulekha! I disagree with you though. I’m sure your perspective has your own brand of lyrical excellence. I love your writing! :-)

      • Jennifer

        Loved it!!!!!

        • Tameka Mullins

          Thanks dear one!

  • melissa

    Women have gone a long long way to ‘break’ the rules and norms that people set for them. Our study of theology has also taken a step to infuse a feminine perspective of God as both mother and father, revising liturgies and songs to use ‘human’ instead of just man ;) But there are still a lot of things to do to allow people to see our strengths more than our weaknesses and to completely ‘eradicate’ the culture of USING women (as objects) for people’s profit. There’s a need to educate and empower women to use their intellect, skills and abilities to the fullest. I really love your take on this subject. To add ~ women are capable of creating space for the other. Our womb is a very special place for containing life. Love you Tameka!

    • Tameka (BloggerPoet)

      What a beautiful statement about womanhood Melissa! Thanks so much for continuing to add insight to this most important topic! Love you back!