Happy International Women’s Day!
Today is one of my favorite holidays, and this happens to be my 60th blog post. How serendipitous!
Last year, I wrote about how my perspective on femininity deepened as I moved from childhood to adulthood. This year, I’d like to share about my expanding perspective on masculinity.
Thanks to a dear friend and mentor, Kym Pham, I’ve been exploring some books about men and women. (Feel free to ask me about them; that’s a totally different topic that I’d love to geek out about with whomever is curious and willing!) My eyes have been opened to a new way of being, and I can’t go back to my old ways anymore. The only way forward from here is, well… to step forward. Allow me to explain.
Men and women both have feminine and masculine sides. In today’s culture, “The Patriarchy” is arguably a “bad” system. It has instilled values in generations that don’t necessarily HELP the people in those generations. But because it is so mainstream and present nearly everywhere, even if you want to “fight” it, it is very challenging to do so. A lot of people are angry about this system, and I can understand why. Heck, before I read these books, even I myself felt angry and frustrated with it. I would converse with friends and compare notes. Throughout California and the United States, even among different age groups, we all shared similar experiences: men could be very rude, immature, non-communicative, and just flat out disrespectful. In turn, we would become more “picky” and cautious about which of these men we actually let into our lives. It was a vicious cycle: hurt men hurting women, and hurt women hurting men. My brothers hurting my sisters, and my sisters hurting my brothers. But no one willing enough to take a step back and actually STOP this cycle.
Since our current system is labeled with a masculine name, it is easy to vilify or “blame” the masculine for everything wrong with it. The current system is rampant with immature, manipulative, selfish versions of masculinity… I don’t think it can even properly be labeled as TRUE “masculinity” at all. Because there actually IS a mature, real, authentic, and beautiful masculinity that exists. It feels grounded, steady, and expansive all at the same time. I’m lucky to experience it with my father, my brothers, and even my first love – these are real, Capital “M,” MEN. I witness it in mentors, coworkers, and a few of the male friends that I do have. I witness it in my friends’ partners. I witness it in men who graciously and respectfully accept my “goodbye,” and who wish me all the best as well. I witness it in celebrities, authors, and artists who are doing everything in their power to bring forth and actively PRACTICE mature masculinity. I see these Men stepping up as Kings, and I love them for it.
I’ve been working hard to embody both the masculine AND feminine within myself these last couple of years. It may sound cheesy, but this visualization really helps – I picture myself as a Queen. Because I AM one, and because “fake it ’til you make it” is really just another version of “be your own evidence,” which works for me. A Queen is fierce, humble, confident, strong. Brave. Powerful, understanding, intelligent, open-minded. Kind, NOT “nice.” Loving. Curious, creative. Willing and able. Assertive. Beautiful, radiant, playful. A force of nature. Most importantly – a Queen has a vision of how life CAN be. She works hard to embody that life in herself, and to inspire others to bring that life to fruition. She fans the flames of the Light and holds steady witness to the Shadow in her brothers and sisters, and especially in HERSELF.
I envision a life where mature masculinity is not only celebrated, but where it is the baseline, the bare minimum, of how this world’s citizens interact with each other. I envision a life in which the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine dance and play TOGETHER, within each individual, and among all humans. I envision a life of mutual respect and celebration of all living beings.
Queens and Kings can not only coexist, but they need each other and can celebrate each other. I don’t mean in the sense of partnership or in marriage (though that is beautiful, too). I mean that Queens can hold space for the King in every Man – encourage him to come out into the daylight, celebrate him when he expresses his strength AND vulnerability, and LET him be HIMSELF. Kings can do the exact same thing for Queens. And when each of us is playing our role, being our authentic, natural, fully-expressed selves, then we will automatically draw out the best in each other. Elevating others automatically elevates ME.
Yeah yeah yeah, “*uck The Patriarchy.” Yeah yeah yeah, “The Future Is Female.” I think these catch phrases have good intentions, but they are incomplete pictures of the overall problem. The patriarchy itself is just a system, just a game, just a tool; how it is UTILIZED is the problem. It is just Boys and Guys pretending to be Men. The ACTUAL issue is that – we have to, and we GET to, redefine how real masculinity is expressed. Women currently and will continue to play a HUGE role in the future. The ACTUAL issue is that – we cannot leave the men behind in our dust. A Queen cares for ALL the people in her realm – past, present, and, especially, future. Either we all rise up into a new way of BEING TOGETHER… or we remain stagnant in the current system, holding each other down in the process.
I want my sons and daughters to grow up and live their lives in a world where masculinity and femininity are cherished and fully embodied in everyone. I want them to hear about our current system and think, “Patriarchy? What kind of utter nonsense was that?” I want them to know and feel with every cell in their bodies that they are capable of building a beautiful world, FOR THEMSELVES, TOGETHER.
May we stand witness to our fellow brothers and sisters. May we celebrate each other’s light, and remind one another of it when we get lost in the shadows. May we hold space for each other. May we support and encourage each other. May we bring out the Kings and Queens in each other. May we ALL rise, TOGETHER.