Finding my feminine in my feminism.

This past year, I have been growing into my feminism, and being comfortable as it grows to become a much more prominent part of me.

This past year, I am re-discovering what being feminine means to me. It isn’t the yin to your yang, and it certainly isn’t the dainty and delicate version of soft. I am re-claiming what “soft” means to me. For years, I have passionately pushed back against the term “soft”-skills because of all the connotations it has carried about being feminine, and thus something not as serious, and somehow lower on the hierarchy of skills. I am learning instead to find the fierce, passionate, vulnerable, confident version of “soft”, and nourish that powerful kind of feminine as a strength instead.

11214290_856908114401730_4574824764839309948_n

This past year, I have suddenly become acutely aware of the “masculine” language around me, which has so long been my lens to see the world. I find myself wary of the misleading masculine rhetoric that I seem to have imbibed through the years, and disappointed with how much mediocrity I was taught to accept and admire from powerful charming men through the years through that lens. I am learning to hold the men I admire and love to higher standards, and not feeling guilty about it. I am reminding myself to allow my non-male heroes more leeway to falter sometimes, as I have with the men.

20170709_222925 (2)

 

This year, I am learning about a leadership that is ferociously feminine, and learning to practice this kind of a leadership that enables, and take responsibility for that power without the hierarchies and designated positions that I seem to have been taught are essential in this “tough macho world”. I am resisting that conditioned voice that constantly measures my own styles against the inherently masculine standards I have inherited. I am allowing myself the opportunity to live my version of feminine as I carve my way into the world instead.

 

I am angry, I am grieving, I am frustrated, and I am allowing myself to feel those things without judging. I have been raised to glorify silence as graciousness, and I am learning to find grace in my voice instead. I am remembering that there is a zero between the positive and the negative, while also becoming aware when my “rational objectivity” is a way of masking my complicity, and finding courage to speak up then. I am learning not to mistake assertiveness for aggression, and resisting the politeness that I have used as an excuse for my fear of confrontation. While at it, I am searching for forgiveness, kindness, compassion and love – things I stand for – amidst it all, without compromising on accountability and responsibility I have come to expect.

13494834_10157124076415192_6618631968874186634_n

This year, I am growing into my femininity, and learning to embrace all forms it takes. Sometimes I will be wrong, sometimes I will make mistakes and sometimes I will falter into my old habits. Sometimes this will seem too loud, and often I would have to keep working on unlearning all the images and standards I have been taught and finding new ones for reference. This Women’s day, despite all my skepticism about it, I am reminding myself to allow for the space to blossom and learn and evolve through all of that.

21752191_10159393772385192_4715342480978189591_n

Jayati Doshi
8th March, 2018. 3:30pm.

I was craving kindness today.

I think there are themes to our lives.

My mum told me that if you are in touch with your body well enough, your cravings tell you what you really need right now. Not the cravings for chocolate and maggi, she’d remind me, if you get your body used to the good healthy diet, it will truly crave the healthier things you need.

I tried this once. I don’t know about weight loss, but I remember my skin glowed at the end of it. And my body craved a lot of fruits – bursts of nutrients that scatter through your body, like the tickles of a child’s fingers – the kind of good that’s subtle in its presence.

I think it is the same with our lives and our mental and emotional and spiritual healths. I think our bodies and deeper parts of our minds know what we need, and we crave that. Cravings we lose touch with when we get too wrapped up in our calendars.

I have been craving kindness. I didn’t know that.

More than anything, she’s awfully kind, a friend, A, said a few days ago as she introduced me to someone for work. A strange trait to point out in the middle of a professional meeting perhaps. But K (the third person in the room) and I smiled. That’s an important characteristic to spell out in introductions, she chimed.

Despite all the long list of incredible ideas that meeting gave me, this one, for some reason, stayed. If I were being introduced to someone, I aspired, this is how I would like to be introduced.

I met this “kind” person a few days later. I don’t know what left me warm at the end of the meeting – the great conversation we had, the kindness she exuded or the fact that I was suddenly more aware of it because it had been pointed out?

Suddenly I started to see kind everywhere. In the meetings I’ve had these past few days, with people at varying degrees of high on my “admired” list, I am beginning to see how “kind” has perhaps been such an essential measure towards the admiration.

I told this to another friend, who had just introduced me to someone else with a note of he is very, very kind. We then spoke about a bunch of things before we circled back to the kindness I was suddenly so aware of. He called it humilityThat too, I said, suddenly feeling the need to justify, but kindness feels like it’s so much more than that. Empathy? Compassion? Generosity? All that, but not quite. I didn’t have any more ways to describe this qualitative difference in words; I might bode fairly well with words, but my brain thinks in the form of images: pictures. and smells. and sounds. and feel. and kindness, had its own catalogue entries in my senses. And I didn’t know how to curate that to explain.

I met the “very, very kind” person today. I was perhaps looking too hard for it.

I saw that kindness today. There’s a way that kindness touches you that makes something in your body relax. You know that feeling you get when you are meditating, and you can feel your body release tensions as you pay attention to it – something like that. Attention, like kindness, is in short supply lately. I wonder if there’s a connection.

I think I finally know what the term “kind eyes” means: it is the way eyes expand and pupils dilate because someone is interested in what you are saying, because they are taking in and considering it gently and patiently, not just without judgment, but with a sense of calm curiosity with an open heart, a light that shines from that opening.

And as I walked away, carrying this lightness and becoming aware of it at the same time, I started to think of this theme around me that had shaped up over the past few weeks: I was craving kindness, my source of it within myself slowly leaking away as I piled my jenga of unfinished things higher and higher, waiting for it to fall.

Oh.

I didn’t know where to find the kindness to replenish my supply from.

The type-A me poked her head out as I thought that – she had never gotten along too well with the me that liked to think about things; the two of them have a classic product vs. process struggle with their values. So, I took my book out and scribbled, letting the both of them speak. And now that they are done unloading all that pent-up-unkindness, they are slightly more accommodating of each other.

I then showed them the images I had collected from last few weeks: above all, we are kind, I reminded them. Gave them a product and process to work on.  A prescription for a diet of fruits, in some ways.

Jayati Doshi
4th Oct, 2017. 5.12pm