"Stop the words now. Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out."
Recently, I said that I've wanted to become more feminine, because I feel very masculine. My bodyworker, Trevor, asked why I felt that way.
"Everything I do is very masculine — I'm an entrepreneur, the role I play in a lot of different situations is the go-getter and make-it-happen person. A lot of the sports I do are also very masculine."
He blew a wisp of his strawberry blonde hair away from his eyes, raised a brow, then looked at me perplexed. "I don't see you as masculine at all," he told me, continuing to work on releasing the tension I've built up in my body from stress and physical activity.
We chatted about the idea of masculinity versus femininity for a little longer, and he added a bit of wisdom that was echoed today during a conversation with Tara, owner of Kaia Fit. "I think that you're focusing too much on being feminine," he added, "when in actuality, all you have to do is just embrace that you're a beautiful human being. I think that'll do it."
Trevor's been working on fixing my hip, the plantar fasciitis that happened lately, and tension so deep in my shoulders that it feels like my muscles are knotted into one unbreakable rope. Part of the reason I'm so tight is because of the activities I do, one of which is a women-only boot camp that I started a few weeks ago.
It used to be that I was reluctant to join in any group activities limited to females, as I always felt like the most masculine one of the bunch. But, in an effort to open up to my yin side, I've started exploring different opportunities to be around my tribe, and it's actually been quite lovely, especially in learning how everyone has gone through their own versions of crap to become the beautiful souls standing before me.
Tara and I talked about a few of the hurdles I've been facing, including not being able to push to my limits because of my injuries. I mentioned my whole battle with masculine versus feminine, and she said, "What would happen if you removed those labels?"
I furrowed my brows, unsure of what she was asking.
"Well, you think that by being an entrepreneur, it makes you more masculine. Why does that have to be masculine? Why can't it just be awesome that you're a go-getter who makes things happen? I think when you compartmentalizing activities and parts of yourself as this or that, you're not embracing everything of who you are and just letting it be. I think if you just let yourself be exactly who you are, a lot of these things from working out and injuries to food and relationships would all just work themselves out. Let go of the label of feminine or masculine or even having had an eating disorder and just be all of who you are, this amazing person."
It felt like a light bulb went off. As often happens, the Universe will repeat the same message to me in increasing frequency if it's something that I'm supposed to learn, and these similar messages from Trevor and Tara about just "being" as an antidote to my feeling more feminine became ever more apparent.
I told Tara how earlier during class, my dear friend Roe gave me a few tips in the midst of our reps so that I wouldn't further exacerbate my injuries. Roe is an exceptional bodyworker and amazing heart, and always has my best interests in mind.
"Y'know, if you ease up, you're stil getting the workout in," Roe advised. "You're still getting your heart rate up, all while preventing further injury."
I nodded, knowing that her words were a lesson in learning how to better honor myself.
"And y'know what else?" she smiled. "Your numbers are always the highest in class... maybe you could just ease up a little? When you push like that, your body starts to go into stress mode. It can't tell if you're working out or running away from a lion. That's why a lot of people, even when they're working out really hard, hold onto weight. The body goes into conservation mode, since it's not sure what's going to happen next, so it's preparing itself."
"You're obviously an athlete," Tara agreed with Roeshan.
Again, I cocked my head to the side, curious of her perception of me. This idea of "athlete" is something I've heard again and again from various people in my life, but it's never sunk in because to me, an athlete is a professional player on the soccer field or on the basketball court. I didn't feel like it ever applied to me, someone who just likes to be active in every way.
I got home and shared these dialogues with my friend, who's visiting in town. "Yeah, you totally have the Asian mentality about work, where you feel you have to keep pushing harder and harder to make it count."
So, despite all the times that people say, "Don't listen to what others say or worry about what they think, listen to yourself," because I'm so hard on myself, it actually is important for me to open up and see myself through someone else's eyes as they're usually a lot kinder, more generous, and loving.
It's time to let go of the labels. And just be me.