The Journey to Feminine Liberation
In 2015 I was selected as a nü Icon featured in the nü Icon Movie, a fascinating interactive online media project created by award-winning Artist, Laura Hollick. Laura put together a Vision Quest, a free guided journey that included multiple videos and calls you can follow along to discover your unique Iconic Essence.
When Laura and her photographer, Kevin Thom, shared the final photo they had selected of me from the shoot we did together, I had a minor meltdown.
Here’s the picture:
When I looked at the picture I thought I looked like I was in pain and in orgasm at the same time – my hands (which we painted that fiery orange) so gnarled yet my face looking, well, kind of pleasured.
In actual fact, I was neither in pain nor in orgasm in that moment. However, during that photo shoot, I did feel quite tapped into a collective field that included both my own personal experiences and the experiences of women everywhere. I was tapped into our anger, our frustration, and our yearning to be free in our expression.
So often my thoughts and attention go to the state of women on the planet. During the photo shoot, I felt like I was tuned into the web of women around the globe. We have a very long history of repression. We also have a unique superpower of feeling and creating pleasure. The two have been at odds. It’s no secret anymore how much we have been quieted across the centuries.
I felt into the primal fear we have felt as we have suffered so much pain at the hands of the patriarchy who have misunderstood our natural gifts as women. I felt into the rape, the abuse, and the shame placed on sexually expressed women. I felt into the hesitation modern women have to fully express ourselves for fear of retribution both from men who might be violent toward us and other women who might judge us.
I also felt into the desire so many of us have to feel more free in our sensual expression as a feminine woman. To feel safe to do so. To stop holding ourselves back. To be able to open our voices. To be liberated. This is what we all ache for in our hearts I think.
In my personal journey, I have been working through these themes very intently, often placed painfully in front of the barriers I have had up to the fullest expression of my sexuality because of the rape and abuse I’ve experienced in this lifetime.
I have been deeply committed to the healing of my system around this because I have seen when I allow more of my sensual expression through, my whole life from my career, my relationships, to my health and my money benefit. With each breakthrough, I see this happen. And it has been a long, windy road to create the internal experience of safety so I could allow that healing to happen.
During the mystical weekend journey I took with Laura and 7 other women, I went deeper into red, the color Laura assigned me for this journey, and into the unveiling of my unique Iconic Essence.
I found myself in the exploration of what it means to be a liberated woman, a feminine woman, a sensual woman, and a expressed woman.
I wrote this intention for myself at the beginning of the weekend:
“I want to set myself free to be all of who I am.”
Really this is the intention I always hold both for myself and the women to whom I am a friend, supporter, and mentor. My desire is to always keep testing the internal boundaries and conversations that pop up preventing this. I aim to dissolve them with love and understanding so that we can feel safe to move through and forward.
One of the biggest barriers I have come up against that has handicapped me over and over again through the course of my life is my fear of what people will think. Especially my family, the people closest to me, and people I respect in my community. It has held me back time and again in a massive way.
As I have been expanding into the public eye these last few years, this has gotten louder and louder.
Just before Laura and Kevin shared their selected image from the shoot with me, a former client, a woman I have great respect for, told me she felt I was being too sexual in my expression online so that’s one of the reasons she chose to unfriend me on Facebook.
This was fascinating to me since my sexual expression is something I have felt quite inhibited around. So when this picture from Laura came to me, this woman’s feedback immediately came up and I thought, “I wonder what she would think of this!”
Then all the other women that have felt triggered by me over the years came up, and suddenly I felt very, very alone. Like somehow I would be stepping out on a limb with no one to catch me but plenty of people to throw things at me. Which simply isn’t true because I have many amazing, supportive people in my life who are there to catch me. But that was the *feeling*.
So that got me thinking: How have we as women bought into the repression?
How have we lived in to the patriarchy?
Why do we sometimes tear other women down?
What is so threatening about another woman expressing her sexuality?
Why am I threatened by that in other women and also afraid of judgment for it in myself?
At the time all of this was unfolding, I was drawn to re-read Sera Beak’s searing book, “Red, Hot, and Holy”. In it Sera describes the “false feminine”.
She writes, “Operating from my false feminine keeps me anxious and competitive, envious and separate.” She goes on to say, “The false feminine isn’t just found in women trying to get attention or power through their looks or sexual energy; She is also found in women who are condemning other women for ‘using their looks and sexuality to get attention and power’.”
I feel strongly that for women to liberate ourselves, we must be willing to liberate each other, to celebrate other women in their freedom. Without that, we are simply “patriarchy’s puppets” as Sera has brilliantly said.
During the weekend with Laura, we did some cool free-writing exercises, and this is some of what came through:
“Be raw and real and true – who cares what people think. Let your sensuality flow unapologetically.”
So, here I am, vulnerably out on a limb, revealing these parts of myself that have been scary to share, holding the torch for all women to do the same. The truth is I still care what you think. But not enough to stop me from sharing this.
Laura asked us to come up with a phrase that described our Iconic Essence and after this alchemical journey, this is what came through:
I am a stand for the Feminine Liberation of women everywhere.
I believe that starts with women coming together, celebrating each other even when they are expressing things that bring up all of our stuff, learning from each other, and giving each other permission to be all of who we are. This is how we will all feel more free.
When I first freaked out about the photograph, I wrote Laura and Kevin and asked them to explain to me why they chose this photo of all the possible options (we took many!) and this is what Kevin said:
“To me, the image is full of dynamism. There is no part of it that is still, so the word ‘gnarled’ doesn’t register when I see it. Everything is in flow (hair, earrings, body, expression, emotion) and to me, that is the ultimate manifestation of liberty and personal power.
In being willing to burst through the constraints of the standard ‘pretty picture’ and display raw emotional power, I think the image expresses liberation in the most potent way possible.” ~Kevin Thom
If that is what this photograph represents, then I can get behind that and I am willing to move through my fear of what you think to share it with you.
I hope this serves you in some way.
With all my heart,
Photo by: Kevin Thom
Feminine Liberation was not something I was taught. I had to learn this and now I stand for all women experiencing this. In my experience most women do not feel completely free to be everything that they are – there are many places where they feel held back. This was true for me too.