The Weight of Being a Woman

There are days I cannot breath as a woman. The weight of my sex is so heavy within me that it’s surprising I can walk or talk. Every exhale is labored. Every inhale like breathing under water. The weight of being nothing but an ‘also ran’ is constantly with me. We are attached, me and this Siamese twin of otherness.

For me this is what it feels like to be a woman at times: the pressure in my chest blossoms into fury, and yet I know there is nowhere for that outward spray to go, and so two thousand years of history sits there in the middle of my chest. The whole thing is almost impossible to move except in the tiniest of increments so you can suck enough air to keep you alive.

It’s exhausting.

It is exhausting knowing deep down in my bone marrow no matter what I do, no matter how hard I work, how much I learn, I will always be seen as second best by people who consider themselves best for no legitimate reason other than they’ve always been told they are. I will almost always have a qualifier in front of my name, an extra “W” for Woman added. Almost everything I do will be measured from a yardstick of maledom. It is exhausting to remind myself that I should not let that dictate what I do or do not do.

I try.

The weight of being a woman is trying to dispel the suspicion that the entire world is set up not only to facilitate my failure, but to take joy in it.

The weight of being a woman is the near constant battle of internal and external. The internal does not feel any different, no better than or less than, but the world around me screams something very different. The outer world does not match my inner world. It’s a constant battle to maintain equilibrium.

It weighs on me. As a woman.

I wonder, do some think a woman arises from her bed in the morning, groggy with sleep and warmth, feeling as if she is naturally less than a man? Do some assume women wear a sense of inferiority like a second skin? Burrow into it like a rabbit warren? Do some think women simply accept a notion of less as point of fact?

The weight of being a woman is fighting that notion, with nail and claw and written word, some days with nearly every breath I struggle to take.

I am not tired of being a woman. I am tired of being a woman in this world. I am tired of arguing for legitimacy, as if the possession of ovaries instead of testicles automatically confers something I am blind, deaf, and dumb to. I am tired of having an identifier attached to my name. I am tired of being a derivative. I am tired of being half the yardstick. I am tired of explaining how the system is set up against me, against my sisters, to people whom the system benefits.

The weight of being a woman is sometimes simply the sheer exhaustion of being nice. It is exhausting feigning polite merely to survive, constantly calculating risk, managing the way I walk through life. It is exhausting not trusting there are people have your best interests at heart, that they are not simply waiting in the wings in some sort of sexist ambush. It is exhausting trying to squeeze into the idea of feminine when everything within me overflows those boundaries.

The weight of being a woman is actual weight as well of pregnancies and infants on hip, of petticoats and bustles, layer upon layer upon layer of veil to mask us from ourselves, from the world.

The weight of a woman is the exhaustion of navigating the world with a currency of sexuality in your pocket. A currency given to me before I was old enough to use it or save it or spend it. A currency which is practically worthless now that I am of a certain age. Spent now, nothing left though my pockets still feel plenty heavy to me.

The weight of being a woman is watching young girls navigate their way through this mine field, knowing exactly where the detonating points are. Warning them will have no effect. It will take years of constant subtle–and not so subtle– explosions to convince them.

I want to take them aside and tell them about this weight, this weight of being a woman, but they will dismiss me as nothing more than an old crank. Halfway to crone. Worldly womanly wisdom is not yet discernible in a wrinkled jowl or a head of white.

I’m not a kindly oldening woman offering sage advice.

I am a vortex of rage. An eddy of emotion, whipped frustration and just sheer exhaustion. Exhausted by the weight of being a woman.

The weight of a woman is trying to explain this, all of it invisible to everyone but those who carry it around with them, every day, everywhere they go.

There are days I cannot breathe as a woman.

Today is one of those days.

 

 

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14 thoughts on “The Weight of Being a Woman

  1. insanitybytes22 October 11, 2017 / 7:45 pm

    It’s a well written post.

    I had to change my whole mindset, place myself in a state of receiving and enjoying everything womanhood offers. I had to start asking, “who told me that being a woman was a heavy weight and why did I allow those voices to get into my head?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dina Honour October 13, 2017 / 1:05 pm

      There is a lot of truth to that. On a good day, I allow the internal to win. On a bad day, I fume. Ok, I rage.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. anonymouslyafroirish October 12, 2017 / 10:57 am

    It’s crazy that we face so much disadvantages right from the very beginning. Just because we were born female. On days like the one you were having, I just marvel at how much of a man’s world it really is and I fume at the injustice of it all. Because we can say that we all have equal opportunities as citizens of this planet but when you look at it closely, you begin to see how untrue this is. I was going to say that hopefully it changes but hope has never changed anything by itself..so what now?

    Like

    • Dina Honour October 13, 2017 / 1:04 pm

      When I figure out the ‘now what?’ part, I’ll let you know. Because I don’t know. And that’s part of the exhaustion of the whole process.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maggie Wilson October 12, 2017 / 10:45 pm

    “… the entire world is set up not only to facilitate my failure, but to take joy in it.”

    I weep for the truth in that line.

    Like

  4. Shanna S Mathews Mendez October 13, 2017 / 4:38 am

    beautiful rage. I’m with you sister.

    Like

  5. Liu Min October 13, 2017 / 6:50 am

    A very beautiful and well-written post! But I love being a woman.:)

    Like

    • Dina Honour October 13, 2017 / 1:03 pm

      Oh, I do too. I just find it incredibly exhaust trying to balance how I feel with how society views me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Liu Min October 14, 2017 / 10:01 am

        Hope all is doing well in your life. I really enjoy your writing! Look forward to more of your posts. 🙂

        Like

  6. Mod Milspouse October 16, 2017 / 12:08 am

    beautifully written!! this totally spoke to my soul! some days are just ROUGH.

    Like

    • Dina Honour October 16, 2017 / 7:52 am

      Yup. Somedays I feel like I am strong enough to stand above it all and let it fall from my shoulders. Other days I want to weep with it all. ON the best days there is a balance of sorts.

      Like

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