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Archive for the ‘In all ways a woman’ Category

snippetScribbled in various old journals of mine are the words I am Fortune’s fool. Not original, I admit, but my journals have the tendency to be melodramatic and what could be more melodramatic than a reference to Romeo’s romantic anguish? I have felt like a fool repeatedly in love, and until now, was not particularly happy about it. But I have experienced a synchronistic turn of events now having me think otherwise.

When I got my wisdom teeth pulled this summer, my wonderfully creative friend gifted me her newly printed zine called Snippet and a little black notebook to keep me entertained during the recovery. The theme of this first issue was “Journey”. A few pages into the zine I encountered a photocopy of the tarot card of The Fool, which I had never seen before. I was then prompted to locate and analyze the various symbols on the card and how that all relates to journeys.

tarot_foolThere is clearly the man walking towards a steep cliff, with his head held high and eyes closed, just one step away from falling off the edge. His posture shows no sign of fear or concern, and he does not pay attention to the dog next to him apparently trying to warn him of the potential danger ahead. The Fool carries a white rose in one hand, which I perceived as beauty and innocence, a ruck sack as he is clearly on an adventure, and the sun shines down on him from behind, illuminating his journey. It’s a bright, sunny day despite the looming threat of danger unknown to him.

I have since looked up the symbolism of this card, and it is more or less on par with this interpretation. But what I learned was that The Fool is an unnumbered card, or sometimes represented as a 0, either at the beginning of the Major Arcana or at the end. The number 0 being of unlimited potential. Anything could happen for the Fool, but only something can happen if he takes a step. He creates his own destiny. The Fool represents new beginnings and invites us to take a leap of faith and to trust in the Universe. He encourages us to believe in ourself and follow our heart, no matter how crazy or ‘foolish’ the impulse may seem.

All my life I thought being a fool was a bad thing. But now I was beginning to like The Fool.

At the moment of reading this zine, I was having a strong impulse pushing me towards San Francisco for both professional and personal reasons. I wrote in my journal mostly about how I wanted to be like The Fool on this new journey, this big move to San Francisco and everything it involved. I chose to trust in the Universe and focus on the beauty at hand.

I arrived and instantly headed out to the Burning Man festival, all full of excitement about my new life. There was a pending matter of the heart to attend to with someone out there, and I was looking forward to embracing that. Without going into much detail, I can just say that I didn’t see the precipice ahead, despite the fact there had been a dog beside me barking its warning for some time. Eyes closed, big smile on my face, white rose in hand, I took a leisurely step and suddenly there was no ground beneath my feet. I felt myself free falling off a cliff. I smacked the ground and it hurt. And, ironically, it happened while watching this beautiful sculpture called Embrace burn to the ground.

embrace_burn

I was, again, Fortune’s Fool. And there were ashes to prove it.

Later that afternoon I embarked on a different journey with my friends through a massive dust storm, in the hopes to reclaim my Burning Man experience and heal my fresh wound at the caring side of my lovely friends. The dust cloud was fairly dense, allowing just a few feet of visibility at times. There is something very beautiful and surreal about walking aimlessly through a dust storm. It’s quiet and calm and I am left with my thoughts. As I walked slowly through the whiteout, my mind returned to the events of the morning and the heartbreak. I kept thinking how foolish it was to open my heart and allow this pain to happen.

dust

Due to the lack of visibility we walked towards the setting sun that would eventually lead us back to our camp. The sun felt good on my skin, and I closed my eyes to soak it in. Since I couldn’t really see anything anyway, I kept my eyes closed and continued walking towards the sun. I thought about the Fool walking with his eyes closed, and I decided to embrace my new beginning. I broke off a bit from my friends and decided it was time for a self-love pep talk. Gripping the shoulder straps of my Camelback in each fist, I created a shield of armor over my chest and repeated to myself over and over again that I was strong. I envisioned my wolf-woman self, bringing me back to that centered, confident place where I sometimes find myself. My chin was up, eyes still closed, a smile finally breaking on my lips. I was a Warrior Woman, completely invincible.

And then, bang! I got side-swiped by a bicyclist. The girl he was doubling flew (safely) off the handlebars and both were quickly at my side, very apologetic. And I just stood there and laughed. I told them that I was walking with my eyes closed, so it was my fault. I told them about my Warrior Woman pep-talk and my invincibility, and we all had a good laugh. He brought out a bottle of tequila, and I took a swig. They told me a cute story about how they had just met thirty minutes before, and sent me along my way.

The Fool is not so invincible, as it turns out. That cliff edge is a real thing.

The next day my friends and I rode our bikes out to explore the artwork and came across an installation involving a bunch of old, differently colored doors attached to create a circle.

The Wheel of Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune

We parked our bikes and I walked right up to it, opened one of the doors and stepped through. The inside of this space gave me the impression of an old brothel, and as I turned around in the circle I realized that behind each door was a tarot card. I looked back at the door that I had walked through. And, no surprise, I had unknowingly selected The Fool, who this time was depicted as a masked woman in a beautiful black and white image spanning the entire door frame.

The_Fool_Wheel_of_ FortuneI remember unhappily muttering, “of course…,” and a woman inside the installation laughed at (or with?) me. I teared up a bit, just wanting to go home and crawl into my clean bed where I could close my eyes and stop walking and be safe.

Days later I was back home and reflecting on my week out in the desert. Suddenly all the different moments of synchronicity came together and I thought, perhaps there was something behind this Fool thing. I did more research into the card, and decided that I am not Fortune’s fool, but rather I am fortunately the Fool. I walk blindly and trustingly through my life and always have. And, for the most part, that has worked out for me and I have lived such beautiful and amazing experiences as a result. I would much rather trust people, and myself, than to live my life full of fear and doubt. I am the number zero. I am unlimited potential.

I was so afraid that this recent experience would make me question my judgement or lose my faith. But I am realizing that the Universe is indeed looking after me. I fell and it hurt. But it was the landing of a huge leap forward that I needed to take. The sun comes up each day and I have the ability to begin a new journey. Had I not trusted in my heart and followed an impulse, I would not be here in San Francisco finally moving forward in my career path and reconnecting with my family, old friends and new.

I am not invincible, especially when I allow myself to be vulnerable and exposed (or when I walk through crowded, whited-out intersections with my eyes closed apparently!). But I will not be afraid to close my eyes, trust, and walk steadily ahead. It may be foolish, but I love being a fool.

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There is a new trend happening in my life, and it deals with accompaniment. For someone who really loves people, I am quickly realizing that accompanying another person, and perhaps more importantly, being accompanied by another person, is not as simple or natural as it seems. As if the Universe knew I was needing some help and preparation in the subject (it always does!) it simultaneously sent me both theory and practice in the form of a women’s circle.

I am in the process of training to become a doula, which is a woman who assists other women during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. The role of a doula is much more complex than that simple definition, and at some point I will write more about that. But for now the important thing to know is that the primary role of a doula is to accompany women (and often times her surrounding family) through the birthing process on a more emotionally supportive level, and to insure that the mother is in charge her own birthing experience.

The past couple of months I have been attending women’s retreats and getting more engaged in my doula studies. Slowly I am learning that a doula’s job is not to help women in as much as to accompany them. It is a two-way relationship requiring trust, love, support and understanding. In the course and trainings we listen to the speakers and read our workbooks about the major topics, but mainly we sit there in a circle on the floor and share experiences and thoughts, and we encourage one another. Because that is a large part of what it takes to be a good doula and a good companion. It is extremely uplifting and each month I become more and more excited about the idea of accompanying women through one of the biggest moments of their lives. And also for the day that I get to live that moment as well, hopefully in the presence of my own doula. I am understanding more and more the need to be accompanied, and seeing the beauty in it.

To continue with the accompaniment trend I am currently experiencing, about two months ago I attended a women’s weekend retreat, hoping to connect with nature, myself and other women on a more spiritual and holistic level. Surprise surprise, the focus of the weekend was accompaniment. The retreat was organized by a doula, and therefore it had an emphasis on how to accompany mothers and women in general. That said, the lessons I learned most definitely apply to everyone outside of that circle, mainly because the lessons were more within me.

It was a full weekend of very intimate, and at times uncomfortable, exercises and really honest conversation, while again sitting in a large circle. What came as a huge surprise was that I learned how much I fear letting someone step into my personal space. These strangers, these women. And then through them I came to realize how much I block out people wanting to get very close to me, with a special attention on men.

In addition, I realized that having many people around me didn’t necessarily mean the same thing as being accompanied. I’ve been living far from home and family for many years now, and have been single practically my whole life. So I guess you could say I’ve become quite independent. Perhaps too much. I do depend on my friends quite a lot, it’s true. But I’m talking about a different type of independence. One in which most of my actions are based on my own needs and desires. I hope that the doula studies and practice will help me overcome that, since it will require a lot of adaption to adjust to a mother’s needs and schedule. Just imagine a woman calling me in the middle of night with labor pains. I couldn’t really turn off the phone, or say I was busy!

I’m a people person, but I like my personal space. It’s like Johnny in Dirty Dancing, when he is teaching Baby how to dance properly and he grips her arms in such a way as to create a calculated space between them. He tells her, “Look, spaghetti arms. This is my dance space. This is your dance space. I don’t go into yours, you don’t go into mine. You gotta hold the frame.” I can’t think of any better way to explain it than this. I love to dance with people, but with a calculated space between us. And experience with dancing with men had showed me that whenever I went spaghetti on my partner, meaning I got soft and made myself vulnerable, then he stepped on my toes and danced away. Or vice versa. So I’ve been trying to hold the frame with more and more precision. Don’t let them in, keep it superficial, and you will be safe.

Now back to the women’s retreat. On Saturday night the organizers threw us a dance party. All the magical witch dancing instantly turned my strengthening frame into soppy noodles. I let my guard down in the presence and security of these 40 supportive (and topless) women. And right then, unannounced and arriving in a little blue convertible, waltzed right in…a man!

I just may be the only woman to meet a man at a women’s retreat. He was not actually part of the retreat, but had come as “entertainment” for the Saturday night, topless dance fever extravaganza. Imagine 40 hyper-sensual women feeling open and loose (I mean it more in the emotional way, but perhaps a bit in the physical sense as well). Then imagine three cute and fun guys showing up and being thrown in the mix. In the end I think they were more entertained than entertaining. To make an already long story just a wee bit shorter, after hours of dancing as a noodle, I somehow found myself curled up in a second set of big, strong noodle arms. There we were, laying on the floor of this old stone room decorated with colorful blankets and candles, with pictures of fairy-like women with flowing hair blue-tacked onto the walls. Next to us was a very endearing punki mother breastfeeding her adorable little boy, and on the other side a funny older women who laughed and mumbled to herself like a real witch in the dark corner. And we wrapped around each other for warmth on the cold floor under these colorful blankets listening to the pouring rain outside. I don’t know for certain what he was thinking, but I was thinking how comfortable I felt there in his arms, despite the strange circumstances. It just felt right.

Back in the reality of our non-forest-dwelling lives, nearly two months later, I am still feeling comfortable in his arms. But it’s difficult for me too. This whole getting comfortable bit. I am trying really hard to learn how to accompany, and to be accompanied, in this new and developing relationship. Each new step, each new emotion have me momentarily shaking from the inside out. What is particularly challenging is trying to find a balance between me, the independent girl I’ve been for so long, and this new woman I’m slowly becoming that now has to think about someone else all the time, whether I want to or not. In the doula course we learn that every woman is different and therefore it is important to allow each one make her own decisions, express her own thoughts and needs. One woman may prefer that her husband massages her back and another one cringes at the thought of being touched. And as a doula you need to adjust to her, to accompany the woman and her needs, and to be understanding. I think it is no different in a romantic relationship. Not everyone is the same, and I cannot expect this person to be like me, or to act or react in the same way as I do. Nor can he expect that of me. So we have to adapt a bit, and understand and respect each other’s needs.

I’ve surprised myself at how easily I’ve allowed this person to come into my personal space. And how much I love having him there. And he’s surprised me with his understanding when I suddenly freak out and straighten out my noodles into a tight frame between him and me when he gets too close. Space. And his understanding again when five minutes later I call him back in, slightly frenzied. He must get dizzy but he keeps walking towards me in a straight line. He’s cool like that.

It’s all a learning process I guess. I’m grateful for learning this new skill, accompaniment, which will not only help me to one day assist women through their pregnancies and birthing experiences, but that is right now also allowing me to experience something sweet that I’ve only seen in the movies or heard about from my friends. I guess thirty is better late than never.

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If someone had told me that I would spend a weekend chanting and feeling other women’s breasts in the middle of a forest, I would probably have opted out on the retreat.

Luckily for me, however, I went blindly into the weekend and came out with a whole new perspective.

Returning to Barcelona after a week of spiritual and physical connections at Burning Man was difficult for me. Here in the city people stare at you at all the time, but rarely do they share a look with you, straight in the eyes, with purpose or curiosity. People just stare/glare at you on the metro, in the street, in the cafes. And rarely do they smile when you catch their eyes. It’s really disheartening. It feels very cold.

Barcelona feels at times very disconnected. People feel really disconnected. This whole past month, in post-Burning Man fashion, I have been longing to connect with people, with nature, and with myself. So when someone forwarded me information about a weekend-long women’s retreat in the countryside, I signed up before thoroughly reading what the weekend was to entail. A few days prior to the retreat, I received information from the organizer where she mentioned various items we needed to bring along: a ball of yarn of a color best representing me, beaded jewelry, a long flowy skirt, and a pillow case, amongst other things.

A sudden panic set in. I’m heading out to the wilderness with a bunch of hippies. We’re probably going to get naked, chant and dance in a circle. Oh geez. I read through the retreat information again and also noticed that there was a strong emphasis on mothers. I am interested in midwifery and working with mothers, but I am not a mother.

I called the organizer at almost midnight the night before the retreat and asked her quite frankly, “Did I make a mistake by signing up for this? I’m not sure this is for me.” I explained to her why I signed up (my need for connection with people, nature and myself) and she said yes, of course this retreat was for me. Just come. And don’t worry.

I packed my suitcase. Oddly almost everything I brought, including my ball of yarn, was purple. Like my bedroom wall and the scent of lavender, it is the color that relaxes me and makes me feel positive and sensual. And that’s how I felt all weekend.

We arrived to the old rural house in the Empordà and immediately I felt out of place. First of all, I was the only non-European there. Of the 40 or so women that attended, I was one of the youngest and definitely the poorest in Spanish language skills. Since I arrived with the preconceived idea of a hippie retreat, I also felt very ‘straight’ in the presence of such powerful, spiritual and eccentric women, adorned in their flowy clothes and braided hair. I felt like I was being judged just as much as I was judging.

Everything changed, quickly, once it was time to set up our circle space, this cold stone room where the 40 of us would open up and share with one another for the weekend. We cleaned the space, put down wool blankets on the floor and hung colorful material from the ceiling and walls. A group of women walked into the forest and returned with bundles of flowers, lavender plants and herbs to string around the place. In a matter of 2 hours, the room was warm and comfortable, incredibly inviting. And it was created by us together. As such, the connection began.

I had heard of women’s circles before but I didn’t totally grasp the idea. Common sense told me that we’d sit in a circle and talk, but it was much more than that. Drawing on the wisdom of ancient cultures in an atmosphere of love and support, women’s circles are a safe environment for nourishing honest and deep communication. The women’s circles also provide an opportunity to take note of new beginnings and journeys within our lives. Though the organizers had various prompts and activities planned, often times the circle just led itself. Apart from speaking, we also did various movement and interactive activities.

I was in the presence of such incredible and diverse women, all of whom shared their dreams and their nightmares. I watched, and participated, as 39 women joined forces to aid one woman through a difficult or beautiful revelation. I listened as women told secrets they had never shared before because there was so much trust and understanding hovering in the room. I shared my own experiences with them as well. We laughed and we cried. And we practiced yoga with the sunrise.

Saturday night was our party. We were told to dress like diosas and the organizer arranged for a DJ to come set the mood for our moves! And dance we did, most of the women topless, amidst a wild thunder and lightning storm raging outside. Oddly enough a few friends of mine from Barcelona showed up unexpectedly for what they were told would be a “witch party” in the forest. Ha! Upon seeing them, my initial reaction was one of shock and slight disappointment, since it was suppose to be a women’s spiritual weekend with strangers. Now there were men AND friends of mine? Soon enough I remembered that nothing in my world is ever a coincidence. Everything always happens for reasons. What could have been a big jolt in my women’s weekend in the end was a beautiful and unexpected surprise. The little bit of male energy presence was gratefully welcomed and, if anything, it only reinforced my new strengthened sense of femininity, which as it turns out is very fun to share 😉

Speaking of breasts, yes, we did massage each others’ boobies. After dedicating a good half hour to our own breasts with a homemade oil, someone suggested that we massage each other. A red flag went up for me and I almost jumped out of that circle immediately. But I did not. Because quite frankly, for me there was nothing sexual about it whatsoever. These were mothers and grandmothers. It was a powerful moment for me because I was paired up with an older woman who only had one breast, due to breast cancer. Earlier that day she told the group that she had no sensation in her removed breast for many years and only recently had she developed some feeling in it again. So imagine both of our delight as I massaged an area that once caused her so much pain and that she was only now starting to appreciate again. She almost purred and it felt so nice to bring joy to this woman in such a simple way. There were quite a lot of giggles and little jokes amongst the women. I don’t think this is something any of us had really done before and we were all clearly aware that it was half-amazing and half-strange. But I have to say, I have a whole new respect for my breasts now.

The focus of the weekend was about accompaniment. How to accompany someone else, and how to be accompanied. As the retreat was organized by women that aid other women through pregnancies and birth, this made sense. We did some interesting exercises. I always thought I was much better at receiving, but I learned this weekend that perhaps I’m actually more of a giver in certain situations. There were some extremely uncomfortable moments when I had to be passive and let someone give to me. I wanted to have control. As my partners in the exercises approached me, I felt a huge wall and would go rigid. And they could sense it and tried to respect my space. It was strange. I’ve always considered myself fairly open, but as I’ve been told by various strangers during my travels and by plenty of men, I am actually quite guarded. This weekend really helped me see that and, more importantly, taught me how to let down my guard and feel comfortable with someone crossing over my protective border.

At the close of the last day we performed a healing ceremony for a woman who has breast cancer. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life. The woman, a mother of two gorgeous children, sat in the middle of our circle with her shirt off. Two women sat with her, holding her hand, while the rest of us passed around a bottle of oil and ‘blessed’ it each in her own way. All the while repeating some sort of healing chant. It lasted a good twenty minutes. And I started to cry. And then I started to bawl. Whatever I had kept in during the whole weekend just started to flow out and I couldn’t stop! The women sitting on each side of just held my hand and let me cry. And it felt wonderful.

I am so glad that my own prejudices and preconceptions did not impede me from attending this retreat. I learned so much from these women, and about myself through their eyes, words and contact. This weekend has reinforced that I do want to work with women and mothers, and I do want to help people heal. It feels amazing to know I’m moving towards the right path and I am glowing from the inside out.

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Sitting here in the sports bar of the Philadelphia airport awaiting my continuing flight to Kansas City, I have two things on my mind. One, I am thirsty for a locally brewed amber lager. It’s the first thing that I crave when coming back to the States. And two, I turn thirty in exactly one week.

Apparently, thirst for alcohol and thirty are now more related than I thought. I just ordered a beer and started fiddling through my wallet full of USA cards and miscellaneous objects, looking for my American drivers license since the bartender was inevitably going to ask for my ID. But, to my surprise and utter disappointment he didn’t ask for my ID. He poured me a beautifully golden pint and walked away.

This is the first time I have NOT been carded in the States. And it’s kind of a big deal. Bars are really strict about carding “young-looking” people here, especially in the airport. I asked the bartender if he wanted to see my ID, and he responded, “No hon’, it’s cool. I know you are old enough.” He laughed. I laughed along with him, all the while trying to keep the wrinkles around my eyes from crinkling too much and adjusting my bra straps for extra leverage and push.

Apparently I no longer look like I’m in my 20s.
Maybe that’s because I’m no longer in my 20s.

I have not given too much thought about turning thirty, mainly because I am not afraid of getting older. And in general, the 30s are supposedly awesome years for women. It’s when women seem to be at their peak and I look forward to reaching my peak as well! That said, I think it is affecting me on a more subconscious level. These past few months have been full of new life aspirations, many of which have to do with “settling down” and finding a career path and some stability. These are sure tell signs of getting older. I had been warned by many that turning thirty marks a big turning point in the lives of women, but I honestly believed it would just happen and things would remain the same. But truthfully, I do feel different. These past nine months have been full of radical changes and journals full of new thoughts and desires. Not to mention a biological clock that ticks like crazy. Perhaps this 30s business is getting under my skin after all.

So here I raise my cold, sweating lager glass to make a toast to my thirst and my upcoming thirties! I will embrace this new decade of my life with open arms and perhaps some anti-aging creams.

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Many friends have suggested that I try online dating. The new online social networking strategies seem to be the way of the future for city dating, so I am told. But I am not totally convinced. There are some creepy people out there and I do not really feel like offering up the bait to attract them. Besides, I much prefer seeing a person in front of me and learning about him from his spoken word, rather than checking out his profile and perhaps extremely photo-shopped portrait shot, which may not even be him! I no longer accept Facebook invitations from guys I like, because I hate the whole “spying” quality of this online connection. I much prefer to get to know a guy in person.

That said, I know of many couples that have met via the online dating route and who have continued on with successful relationships. Props to them. I have given some thought to the idea, but rather than jump on the online dating bandwagon I have instead decided to steal the concept of online dating and apply it to offline dating. What is it that makes Match.com work? There are two main components: one, you “put out there” what you are looking for so as to attract what you want, and two, you filter through options and focus in one ones that seem to have what you are looking for.

So I am now taking the first step of “putting it out there”. Technically, this is still online, being my blog and all, but I fully intend to make my wishes more clear early on when meeting a man in person. I guess I should be more upfront about what I want from the start, just so there are no surprises. Apparently I give off the impression that I just like to have fun and in no way am interested in being in a relationship. That’s what they tell me at least. Well, they are wrong. And perhaps it is my fault for not having made things more clear.

Men – let me tell you what it is that I do want. In simple and direct language so that I make myself clear from the get go. I want to be in mutually respectful, beneficial, loving and honest relationship. If you are not looking for the same, then no need to read my personals ad below!

Here goes my ad:

Single white female looks for a 30-something year old man who is open to the idea of a committed relationship. He will ideally be my opposite: rational, somewhat grounded, good with power tools, and even-keeled. He will love children and hope to have one or two or three of his own one day. It is fine with me if he already has one or two kids, but in that case he should be a loving, dedicated father and he should absolutely want some more (with me). A man who lives in the same city as me could be a good start. A man who is not married, or dating another woman (I don’t care if things are going poorly with her – that’s your problem, do not make it mine). A man who has not just terminated a long relationship. Call me only once you have gotten over her and are ready to commit again. Intelligence is very sexy. A man who can stimulate my brain as much as my nether regions will reap the benefits. A man who finds leisure in outdoor activities, theatre, concerts, reading, etc are generally preferred to men that play video games and watch endless hours of television. A man who loves and values food (if he likes to cook, extra points!). Physically, I like when a man is taller than me and who smiles a lot. I find laughing wrinkles around the eyes adorable. I’m flexible with nationality and language preference, although some basic knowledge of English would not be a bad thing. No matter how we communicate, we should be able to understand one another. A sense of humor, a positive outlook on life, and an all around honest, genuine and friendly nature is a must.

More or less, this is what I am looking for in a man. I’m pretty sure if I mention any part of this to a guy within the first three dates he will run away as fast as possible. But hey – “running fast” did not make the list.

Now on to the second step taken from the online dating technique, and probably the more important step: filter through the options and only respond to ones that fit the profile. One thing is to want the above mentioned qualities in a man, and another is to choose a man with none of those qualities and then get upset that he did not live up to (my) expectations. Come on, we all do it! But this is where I generally error, so I am making a conscious effort to not seduce or amuse emotionally or otherwise unavailable men.

Now I’ve started the process online, in this blog. The hard part is to now make it apply to my offline life [gulp]. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Now that I am a woman I am done with boys. By “boys” I am not referring to braces-wearing, acne-bearing, teenage males. I am referring to the typical male species, mainly 30-40 years of age, who happen to fade in and out of my life as quickly as my tan.

There have been many. And in general, minus a couple really incredible exceptions, they remain nameless. My friends and family know of them only by the nicknames I create for them. They are known simply as boys. For example, “the singing boy” or “the photographer boy” or “the cute boy” or, my favorite, “the [insert nationality of the month] boy.”

But I am done with boys. I am done with the Peter Pan and Lost Boys types that make motherly Wendys or emotionally unstable Tinkerbells out of me. Like Wendy, I’ve finally reached the realization that Neverland is not for me. And this is not because Neverland is unattractive. On the contrary, it’s a great destination for an extended holiday. But if you take a look at the couple of females permanently residing there (Tinkerbell and Tiger Lily mainly) they suffer from something that not even the forces of Neverland’s power can break through: a woman’s instinct and need to love and be loved, exclusively and long-term. The lack of commitment and proper attention from Peter turn these two female characters into vindictive, jealous and ill-behaved female energies. And I really don’t want to become one of them.

So I am done with boys, these uncertain guys whose own fears and confusions unintentionally, yet rudely, awaken the insecure little girl inside of me. This woman (me) is getting stronger and much more confident about what she wants. I want a secure, available and fearless man whose confidence and decisiveness will only reinforce my own. I no longer care if he can fly or fight pirates. I now find a man who knows what he wants much more attractive than a boy in tights.

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When girls get their periods for the first time, we are told “you are a woman now.” Then when the first little breast bumps start forming and we have to buy our first bras, we are told “welcome to womanhood.” Then comes the day that we lose our virginity, and that little spot of blood on the sheets (or sand, or kitchen floor, or what have you) spells out W.O.M.A.N. The moods swing in and out, and we blame it on being a woman.

Each one of us is different, and I imagine that each girl transforms into a woman at different stages in her life. Looks like it took me about twenty-nine years and ten months to finally admit that yes, I am a woman.

My nine year-old English student asked me if I was a girl or a woman during our class yesterday. I looked at her, and at first did not know how to respond. I did not have the answer. So instead I asked her what she thought, and her reply was bashful but very self-assured – “You are a woman.” This same conversation came up two months ago at a wedding. I was trying to convince a Basque stranger that I was still a girl. He spent about forty-five minutes trying to convince me that I was most definitely not a girl, but a woman. I just giggled and skipped my way back into the swimming pool fully dressed in my polka-dot dress, with high heels still attached. Denial.

Consequently, yesterday was also the birthday of my student’s older sister. She just turned eighteen years old, and she expressed to me her fear of growing up. Me, the largely kid-at-heart “big girl”, spent an hour trying to reassure her that in fact life gets better as you grow up. My reasoning was this: as you become a woman, you become more confident in yourself and an inner strength begins to pour from every pore in your body. But how would I know this if I was not in fact a more confident and strong woman myself? I spoke with a knowledge and ease that was foreign, yet strangely familiar.

So guess what guys and gals? I feel and act like a woman. So I guess that makes me a woman. I am a woman! And now I feel like hanging the spotted sheet from my window balcony for all to see.

Just don’t ask me if I am an adult yet.

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