The 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

by Carrinicole

I thought I spent my life as a reluctant woman, always proving I could do — or be better — at anything men could do.

My single sex education was a glass bubble: we didn’t wear makeup, shave… hell, we didn’t even brush our hair. We had opinions, excelled and achieved, proving time and time again we can be the best.

I haven’t stopped being angry since I stepped out, into the real world. Overnight I became ‘intimidating’. An uncontrollable quality — my gender — shoved me into an unfamiliar category of societal competence I wasn’t prepared for.

My ability to make decisions about my health with my doctor isn’t to be trusted. Judgement on how I look — my skin, my body, my hair — not the Western standard of beauty. Showing skin when you’re supposed to. Covering up when you’re supposed to. Investing in procedures injecting poison and products to be ‘normal.’ A prude. A slut.

Fighting for a seat at the table. Crafting communication to be approachable. Squeezing into molds, becoming smaller to be less threatening.

I learned from Sue Monk Kidd, this is not reluctancy, but a wounding. It’s hard to heal when we’re taught the male is the norm from which our own selves deviate. The Feminine Wound creates sanitized versions of ourselves.

100 years ago today, the 19th Amendment was ratified. For 144 years women’s political opinions couldn’t be trusted. We have to continue being bold, to chip away at our collective wound, and fight for everyone to have a voice.

Covid was my breaking point. I’m tired of feeling wounded: that I my presence is too ‘big’, that I’m too ‘different’. I am committing to telling my story, because like the suffragettes, we have to tell the truth about our lives.

I have things to say to my generation. I’m still in the process of healing my wound, but every day it heals a little more.

I now love that which makes me feminine. If I’m labeled a ‘know it all’, that means I’m smart. I have opinions. My body, muscular, like my Spartan warrior ancestors. My hair doesn’t hang from my head, it breathes and grows. I’m also allowed to age and that is feminine. Streaked with grey, lines recalling how much I laugh and smile. Beautiful.

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