Recently I engaged in a brief discussion online about gender identity. I try to avoid doing so because the topic of gender identity these days is very political, highly personal, and, quite complex. It’s full of jargon that I’m only a little bit familiar with and there are about as many different ways to identify as there are people in the queer community. I narrow it to the queer community because for the most part identifying your gender is a queer issue. Even if you’re straight, the very act of identifying yourself out of the typical male/female makes you a bit queer. (Be grateful, queer is awesome.) Having discussions about this, it’s inevitable that I will offend someone or come across as conservative or old-fashioned or just…not with the times. And it’s true, I’m not.
I do have a gender that’s different than the majority. I’m a woman, but I look like a man to a lot of people. I like my brush-cut hair, men’s clothes, minimal grooming, and comfortable shoes. I identify as a woman. I don’t care what other people call me (sir, ma’am, miss, lady, dude, buddy, bro). It’s all the same to me. I have a lot of shared experience with trans people, genderqueers or gender nonconforming people, but I wouldn’t necessarily identify myself as such. Though, I feel that any one of those words would be perfectly accurate descriptions of me if anyone wanted to call me that.
Regarding that online discussion, I did offend, because I expressed my confusion and it came across as invalidation or perhaps that I thought someone shouldn’t be as they are simply because I didn’t quite get it. Even though there really wasn’t any discussion beyond my comment, my mind was racing with thoughts about gender and sex and what makes a person “feel” one way, another, neither, or both. And then I was reminded of a reading I had a few months ago with My Shaman. That’s how I like to refer to her, she is a shaman and she does readings and healings and clearings and whatnot. It involves cards, and conversations with the Creator, reading my Akashic records and all sorts of good stuff like that. In our meeting, she came upon an indication of an imbalance of my Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine. She said I needed to integrate more Divine Feminine into my life. And I’m sitting there thinking, “I don’t know what you’re talking about lady, I’m perfectly full of femininity.” Okay, maybe not. She did her magic to the best of her ability to bring in both female and male energy to intermingle into one complete energy. And I was sent home with homework to embrace my Divine Feminine, whatever that means.
A quick Google search on “integrate divine feminine” leads me to “Divine Balance: The Sacred Union of the Divine Feminine and Masculine.
I do believe that we are linked to multiple incarnations, aka, past lives. And I think that there’s something there that influences who we are in this experience. Since I was born a girl who wanted to look and act like the boys, I believe it tells me something about my balance of masculinity. It’s strong, but not too strong. It’s strong enough that even as a female my natural expression is outwardly male. But, not so strong that it causes conflict in me. As a child I rationalized my difference by creating a story where I was born a boy, but as I grew up I became a girl. Made sense to me. And I think that’s still happening. My growth is quite slow. I have always fully accepted my femaleness. Again, as a kid, if anyone challenged my gender and called me a boy, well, I punched them right in the face. Take that! I am a girl! And yes, still doing that too. Except no punching, just being a woman, a butch woman. Yes, you’re in the right washroom! I am a woman!
So all of this gets me contemplating the strange and wonderfully weird topics of past lives, present lives, choosing our lives, learning certain lessons, and moving forward. The highly political conversation on the internet that I couldn’t relate to led me to remember the shamanic instruction to integrate my divine feminine more. And it all got me thinking about this life. In this life I’m in a woman’s body. I have always felt comfortable identifying as female. I act quite male, but choose to define woman to match who I am, instead of creating new words for others to use on me. Now, I’m remembering that I’m here to experience the Divine Feminine. I’m remembering that being in a female body isn’t an automatic balancing of energy, but simply a reminder to focus on that balance. I’m remembering that my adherence to the female side of me is my indication of the underlying Will to integrate the Feminine. All this to say, I believe there’s something to be learned here.
I’m not suddenly going to start wearing make-up and shopping on the other side of the store. I tried to grow out my hair recently and didn’t like it much. And this is why I have trouble with the political discussion of gender identity. In my journey to integrate the divine feminine and masculine, I won’t be changing my appearance. The key word here is “Divine”. The Divine isn’t the body. It isn’t even the mind. My body, my mind, and my physical expression have certain male and female characteristics, unique to me. And they’re helping me to get in touch with something much deeper and more meaningful. I honestly have no idea “how” I’m going to integrate the divine feminine/masculine more, but being a happy and healthy masculine woman feels like a good lifetime to figure it out. I’ve got some homework to do.