I was 28 when I first time experienced the power of supportive feminine energy so strongly around me. I have been pretty fortunate to be born in a conventional yet pretty liberal household. My mother is curious and open-minded, which ensured that we always lived more like friends. She has widened her viewpoint over the years, keeping herself abreast with the world. Of course, we have times when she doesn’t understand my viewpoints or cannot really relate to my circumstances. Those are the things I have always found hard to share with her. During my college, I had a few wonderful female friends but most of the other women made me uneasy. I couldn’t find anything in common with them and found myself lonely and a misfit. I started to believe in things like two women can never be best friends; they will always compare and get jealous etc. At works place as well, most of the iconic figures were males. Most of the people with whom I’ll find an alignment of thoughts or common interests were men. So I started to accept that. I made my peace with what I had and stopped really caring about having female friends. I think till date most of my close friends are males. And it did create a void which I didn’t really recognise until very recently. Over the past year, I, fortunately, met some really inspirational and strong-headed women. I found common interests and started to enjoy being with them.
I realised that this was the void in my life.
The true revelation happened this year in LSUC when I joined an impromptu women’s listening/healing circle. My dear friend Shubham hosted it, it was the first time I really met her. It was supposed to be a self-care talk, I have no clue what Shubham really had in mind. But as soon as we opened it, held each other's hand, the energy of the circle shifted. We started sharing whatever was alive for us in those very moments. There were women of all ages, starting from an 18-year-old and going up to 50. We were hardly 7–8; strangers to each other, but we started pouring each other with the details of our very personal emotions and experiences. I was getting absorbed. I found myself stating facts and emotions that I never acknowledged to even myself. I felt so connected to myself and all those women sitting there. I first time felt the power of feminine energy around me. It was so comforting and gave a sense of being held. I realised that this was the void in my life. I felt deeply understood. As if we are tied to each other through the threads of similar experiences, feelings etc. I also felt a deep connection with them, their pain, their happiness and their strength.
Of course, we shared similar experiences around how women do not understand women. I learnt that having more male friends than females is a common experience of a lot of females. I started to think to myself that why would a woman pull another woman down? I never gave it much thought before, dismissing these women who I couldn’t connect with as not so intelligent or narrow-minded in my head. But during this circle, I started to see a pattern in that occurrence. Why is it that women see enemies/competitors in each other? There can be several reasons, but a few reasons that came rushing to me are:
- Patriarchal Mindset — We women as well are strongly conditioned towards so many biases that when we see a woman not following the old trends, we feel discomfort. For instance, my mother who is my greatest supporter, many a time says, women should learn to adjust. She fails to understand that they should not always.
- Newly found freedom — Women have recently found freedom to make choice and do whatever they wish to. The percentage of women who have equal access to the resources are really few. We are still adjusting to this freedom. Because it’s not in our experience to be free, it’s hard for us to truly enjoy it. We are still in the recovering phase, and sometimes end up advocating restricted society which we have been part of. So when some women act in the ways which are not in our experience, or not the way we would behave, we start judging them and sometimes even pull them down.
- Lack of empathy — We don’t go deep enough to understand why someone behaves in a certain way. For instance, when we find someone who pulls us down, we react by labelling them as narrow-minded. But rarely we pause to look into the cause of that narrow-mindedness. There are so much deprivation and mental abuse that women have taken, handed over to her as a norm that they have been conditioned to believe that this is the way. When they see another woman enjoying the freedom that they can only imagine, they sometimes end up turning bitter. Next time when you see a woman pulling another woman down, go little deeper and find out the history if you can. Try to empathise and explain and empower her rather than outrightly dismissing her.
- Design of the society is such that women have lived in limited resources at their disposal for 1000 years. They couldn’t go out like men in search of better opportunities. They have competed for resources in the ecosystem they were born into. For example, better men meant a better life, more protection for her children. And for that, they had to compete amongst themselves. Now even when society has changed a bit, the genetic makeup still prompts one for competition. Even when the resource pool has widened, it will take some time and conscious effort for minds to absorb that reality.
- Need to prove themselves — The women has always been put to a test, the test of purity of character, the test of ability etc. They are used to be treated as secondary humans. So they again end up competing with women only, proving themselves to men in the world without even realising.
I could only realise this when I sat in that circle. I realised that there is so much hidden behind the strong appearance we carry. I learnt so much about my own vulnerabilities. And foremost, I felt understood. I would have never imagined that something so simple can make such a huge difference. Just being heard and hearing someone else became such a cathartic process. I realised that I need more women in my life. I became more empathetic. I experienced the immense power of being surrounded by feminine energy, which was always missing in my life.
So now almost three months later, after thinking for quite a lot about it, I feel we need more such spaces. Consciously built to bring us together, to help us understand each other, listen to each other.
Being heard is so empowering.
She Uncodes is a safe listening space which I want to create for women of all ages from all walks of life. And this has to be a combined effort, a self-organised community, for women, by women and of the women. The intentions of these circles are to:
- Create circles of feminine energy and make it a normal thing for more women
- Safe and non-judgemental spaces where women can express their feelings and share their vulnerabilities.
- Empower more women to hold such spaces for their friends.
- Create a personal safe space for each one of us
- Create emotional support systems.
- Gather diverse women to share their experiences which basically gives hopes.
- Make an expression of feelings, dark emotions normal thing to do
This is a long term persisted effort which I feel will benefit us individually and make mental health self-organised. I am not talking about clinical issues, but it will prevent a lot of people from sliding into mental health issues. I think it will forge a deeper connection, bring us together and enable us to experience and demonstrate the power of sisterhood
I am inviting you to join hands to make this alive.