My mother always told me I was delicate.
I resented that.
I didn't want to be delicate, fragile, or sensitive, because that meant that I was weak. And the weak are trodden upon, looked down on, forgotten.
Somewhere in my little head, I had absorbed the notion that these feminine qualities won't do me any favors, and it's best to fight them off. I'm talking about softness, vulnerability, empathy, caution. Why be these things when confidence, logic, and action are what society treasures?
It took me a solid 26 years to realize that I have been fighting my femininity. Not only was my culture attacking my femininity, but I was too. How many times have you heard "You [act/throw/play/run] like a girl" -- as if everything a female does is fundamentally worse than how a male would do it.
Or how many times have you been laughed at for simply having emotions or for caring "too much"? How many times has someone completely ignored your input because women are inherently irrational and untrustworthy?
I don't know about you, but I heard it everywhere. All of this and more.
And then my therapist told me something that shifted my perspective 180 degrees. "It's a beautiful thing to be so sensitive. You feel more, experience more, grow more." And I thought,
Why have I been attacking myself, when I am the only ally I have?
She was right. All of these "yin" qualities are so precious, especially in a world that has tried to extinguish them. Where will we be when the world's grace, empathy, and thoughtfulness are gone?
I admitted to my mother that maybe being delicate wasn't such a bad thing. And I started to embrace all of those lovely feminine qualities that keep my heart soft and my intuition clear.
They are not my weaknesses. They are my strengths.
Today is International Women's Day, and my wish is for everyone to celebrate their femininity. If you've been cutting these qualities out of yourself, stop. Let them be. And notice how beautiful it is, really, to feel delicate.