Monthly Archives

April 2015

What Is Beauty?

April 27, 2015

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I could talk about beauty, what it is in reality versus what the media and society say it is. I or anyone else could tell you a thousand times you are beautiful and you may come to believe this, know this, and understand it, but the truth is that unless you know your value, you will never truly inhabit and embrace your beauty, your real beauty.

We are human beings who generally call beautiful that which we find pleasing to the eye. There is nothing wrong with this. There is nothing wrong with preferring one aesthetic over another. There is nothing wrong with identifying what we are uncomfortable with and wanting to improve upon it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be desired. The problem arises when we believe that apart from these things we have a lesser or no value at all.

I was raped as a small child. I can remember being 8 or 9 years old and saying to myself, “I could be a prostitute and thoroughly enjoy it. I could do that easily.” I thought about it for a moment and replied to myself, “No. That’s not who I want to be. There is more for me than simply enjoying sex and using it to be powerful.”

There is a common misunderstanding that all people who have been taken advantage of sexually, at whatever age, are afraid of sex, have low self-esteem, become men/women haters, avoid intimate relationships, turn promiscuous, or are forever scarred by the abuse. Don’t get me wrong, such gross mistreatment does have its effects, but each person processes it in their own way.

For me, being thrust into an adult world at way too young of an age made me very aware of the pleasure my body was able to give me. I did not fear it. I actually fully embraced it, which is why I even contemplated how I could enjoy being a prostitute. However, my saving grace was that I somehow knew the “more for me” that there was involved being treasured, respected, and valued apart from and in spite of any physical characteristic or lack thereof.

Any form of abuse lacks being treasured, respected, and valued, and I knew I needed to know, and I mean deep to my core know, my value. My young self decided that very same day that before I willingly entered into sexual relationships that I had to find my value in who I was or else many things would have the power to be my ruin. Being robbed of my inherent right to being valued was simply not an option. I was made for more than that.

So while my peers ventured into and out of relationships and experimented sexually I went in search of my true self. This led me into a deep spiritual relationship with my Creator and in that I came to truly understand that I am enough–apart from anyone or anything.

I was shown how I was fashioned with not one mistake, and that that is what makes me valuable. There is great intention to every part of me. This makes me want to live to the fullest every part of myself. It makes me want to work hard at working out or overcoming the kinks that threaten to get in the way of this. It makes me want to take care of myself-mentally, physically, and emotionally. This is hard work. It requires constant self-evaluation, hard life choices to keep my space clear of things or people who eat away at my value, and a dedication to taking care of myself physically, whatever that means for me.

So what is my point in sharing that very personal detail of my life and how does it relate to my opening question of what beauty is?

Natural beauty, powerful beauty, doesn’t originate in having a certain form or feature. It comes from knowing who you are, who you were made to be, and that there is absolutely no mistake in the way you were crafted. You are enough. You are highly valued. You are beautiful.

© Emily Tavis 2015. All rights reserved.
Photo © Emily Tavis

You Are Powerful. Period.

April 12, 2015

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Lately, all across social media there has been a lot of talk and illustrations of women’s periods. Pictures of women having bled through their clothing, demonstrations done by sticking winged pads to trees, etc. I understand why this is being done and I don’t disagree that it is due time that the taboos surrounding a woman’s bleeding become destigmatized. I also agree that it should not just be something that is viewed as normal but also something to be embraced by everyone, not just women. However, there is more to it than just this.

While it is a normal bodily process and I believe it should be treated as such, it is still personal. More than that, it is sacred. In my opinion, pads stuck to trees and bloody spots on pants diminish the sacredness of it.

Historically, while a woman was menstruating she was considered to be more sacred and powerful than when she wasn’t bleeding. She was believed to have increased psychic abilities, to be more intuitive and wise, even possessing the ability to heal the sick. During their bleeding, women were revered and accessed by others in the community or village for impartations of these increased abilities. They were given the space not only sit in these increased capabilities and receive what was being imparted them, but they were also allowed and encouraged to use them. They were also given the opportunity to rest during their time.

How very different this is from our culture now that tells everyone to stay away from a woman while she is bleeding. “Don’t talk to her. She’s PMSing.” A woman shows what someone else believes to be a heightened feeling or reaction and she’s asked if it is that time of the month. It’s angering.

Maybe you really actually pissed her off. Maybe her bleeding has her uncomfortable physically (because you know it can actually do that) so, yes, she’s a little more grouchy than usual, which by the way is totally normal when you don’t feel good. Maybe the arrival of her blood means she is not pregnant…again. How do you feel when you are heartbroken? Perhaps she carries deep within her heart and mind the lie that has been told to women for so long now that while she is bleeding she is dirty, she is unwanted, she is annoying. I’d have disdain for my blood too if I believed that.

What if while we were bleeding we were treated with reverence? What if while we were bleeding we treated ourselves with reverence? What if we were not only allowed to occupy the power which comes with the arrival of our blood every few weeks but also sought out for it?

Think of how it would change your month. Think of how it would free you. Imagine our daughters growing up free from the awkwardness and loathing that surrounds the monthly powerful self-cleansing and regenerating of our bodies. Imagine being seen as a goddess, even while still a young girl, not because you are being oversexualized, rather because you are revered for the mere fact that you are a woman and you possess the ability to bleed, to cleanse, to regenerate, and to bring forth new life. Period.

How would this change your view of yourself? How would this change the value you attach to your body and the way it looks? How would this change the way you feel every few weeks as your body sheds what didn’t yield life in the past cycle and prepares the way once again to create new life?