Tuesday, 14 February 2017

How do you teach a woman to feel like a woman?

Today I had a meeting with a nurse, who also works in CBT - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It's a interesting technique. Rather than traditional therapy - which I do too :-/ In which it is very much one-sided, you talk, they listen and on occasion they will interject with perhaps links or common themes, often to do with family relationships. CBT is more proactive, you talk together about problems or worries or behavior that you have and the therapist will set you tasks which help you do to understand that behavior and be able to come to terms with it, live with it and which allows you to progress.

So through meetings with my therapist (who is a man... an interesting, but sometimes difficult aspect of our work together) and my shrink (who prescribes my medication and helps me to look at how I want to progress) ALL FREE - FRENCH HEALTHCARE ROCKS!!! We decided that maybe there was room for me to look at the specific issues I have with gender roles, masculinity, femininity, sexuality, confidence and self worth. It's the topic that I have avoided for over ten years. It's not easy to write, think or talk about, as she said to me today, I can see that this touches you in your core, this is the deepest pain as I sat there unable to actually verbalise anything. I just sat there with tears dripping down my face. The issue of being a woman, and what that means is a complete blackhole to me, to try to describe who we are or who I am and where our place is in society, my head goes blank, and I feel like I am swimming through pixalated dots not being able to string together and form a complete being.

The things I don't understand about femininity and women come from painful traumatic experiences, come from broken relationships, come from adolescence, come from depression, come from my mothers relationship with herself, with my lack of females in my extended family, come from porn, come from feminism, come from anger, come from shame, come from lack of self worth, come from no confidence...come from men...But I want to understand why and where these things come from.

When my daughter the other day turned round to me at the age of ten and said... "I don't think I am pretty" a part of me died... How could this be? Can she see within me and know how insecure I am? I have tried everything to show her inner confidence, put myself in bathing suits even though inside I am cringing, walk around naked and being ok with it... So why does she not feel pretty? And what can I do about it???

What does being pretty mean? And is it important?
This is something that I will work on, and want to, something that doesn't have the same conclusions here in France as it does in the UK. That doesn't have the same meaning now in such a hyper appearance based, social media led society, than it did for me growing up in the 90's, or my Mum in the 60's or my Grandma in the 30's.
In the UK we tend to be more accepting of individuality, we have that come as you are, be as you want mentality, which is something that I love. In France beauty and appearance are much more formulated, you groom yourself in a demure, classic French look - something I also LOVE and admire. So where does my poor daughter feature in all this, what should I be teaching her?
I remember asking a friend when my daughter was about 5 and wanted to put nail varnish on, was this ok? Should I let her? Should I not be telling her to be happy in her natural beauty? And my friend was like YES, it's just dress up, like make up, if it makes her feel good, then why not. You see this is where I come unstuck, I have been brought up to believe that make up as well as all the rest of grooming is society putting pressures on me to conform - to 'be beautiful' and what I should be fighting for is not to be judged by my beauty but by my brains. Natural is best (I know most men prefer their partners without make up anyway) SO WHY SHOULD I BOTHER? and this - even from one meeting today has made me realise...that 'bothering' is about self love, it's about looking in the mirror and liking what you see. Be it made up or bare face that is not the issue, but it's about taking the time and allowing yourself the tools to love who you are.

As teenagers my friends and I hated ourselves, some to more or less extent but all in our own ways hated ourselves. When you don't love yourself you feel unworthy and when you feel unworthy, you feel like you don't deserve self love. Some of my friends abused themselves with eating disorders, others with unhealthy relationships, others with man after man after man... Some with alcohol/drug abuse - some with a bit of all of that and the very few managed to just love themselve enough to make it through

Why is it that women give themselves SUCH a hard time?

How can I help my daughter navigate through this all??

How can I repair the scars of the past?

Well hopefully though the next few months I can share with you some of the tips I learn. I joked with the lady today I thought I might have to do the standing in front of the mirror in my big pants Gock style and then be transformed into a new woman, she said haha that bit is still to come. First mascara, then lipstick and then the world!


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