Since I had my hysterectomy it’s been harder to figure out where I belong, especially where being a woman is concerned. I realize that I haven’t yet figured it all out, but here goes trying.
Think about what makes up a woman, mentally and emotionally.
I’ll share parts of my definition of a woman:
A woman is kind, sincere, strong, passionate, compassionate, a listener. I could go on, but those are the main things that pop into my mind initially. One could certainly argue for more or less attributes.
What about physically?
There are things that don’t necessarily contribute fully like hair length or height, but can certainly be pictured a certain way when envisioning a woman. There are others that can’t necessarily be argued: a woman has breasts, a woman has a reproductive system that includes a uterus and cervix made specifically to house a growing baby, a woman has a period, women have birthed children.
When women get together and discuss being a woman, “girl talk,” it is usually the physical aspects, not the emotional or mental aspects. Women discuss being a woman, without having to directly say, “we’re talking about what it is to be a woman.” Women discuss how their periods make them feel; women discuss what it feels like to give birth and carry a child; women discuss breasts (on themselves or on other women). These are just simply the things that only other women can understand because it is what separates them from being men.
Over the past 3 years I’ve tried to figure out where I fit in this picture. I don’t have a period, and I’m not grateful to not have one (some women are, some aren’t – for me it represents something that I can’t have and have lost so I’m not personally fond of the idea that it’s a good thing that I don’t have one). I don’t have a working or complete reproductive system. I can’t bear children.
I’m left with breasts. I do have those.
I am an incomplete woman. Is there a definition of a woman that goes beyond the physical? Something that is being a woman alone and doesn’t relate to men (men can certainly be compassionate and strong and kind)? A man can not bear a child or have a period or have breasts.
Is it a feeling? Does one only have to feel like a woman and not have to carry the physical aspects? I’m not entirely sure about that. I know that when I sit in a circle of women talking about the experiences of being a woman – I don’t belong. I’m not a part of that world anymore, and I don’t share in their experiences as women. I’ve experienced something that singles me out and casts me out. I’m terribly unsympathetic to periods pains, or birth/pregnancy pains – and I don’t necessarily have things to share that would bond me with other women on a level that could only speak to a woman.
This part of my writing is going to be more open discussion than anything, as I’ve said, I haven’t figured it out yet. I’ve already expressed my feelings, and my conclusion is that I am somehow an incomplete woman, that I am no longer a part of the world of women. What do you feel defines a woman? If a woman does not encompass your definition, can she still be a complete woman? For me, since I do not completely fit into my definition of being a women, I’m not a complete woman. What is it for you? And do you fit into your definition of being a woman? Could you fit your definition of being a woman if you lost an important part of that?