How To Be A Woman - by Monique DeBose
I am a woman. I’ve been one for the last 32 years, although I didn’t know this until much more recently- 8:47pm, June 2, 2006 to be exact. Up until that moment, I’d considered myself a girl, someone who wasn’t capable of claiming the ‘woman’ title because it required far more courage, elegance and skill than I felt I had.
Women were people who had their careers figured out. They were in successful relationships and extremely confident in most areas of their lives. They wore pantyhose and drank coffee. They had vibrators and did yoga for God’s sake. They were wizards with time management and knew how to organize parties and children and households. They could easily seduce a man with just a glance across the bar.
I was not a woman.
I was not a woman.
I was awkward and quiet. I often felt scared and was ashamed of most of my feelings. I was living with a man I loved and respected, but who I was not ‘in love’ with. We wanted such different things and I was terrified of the life we’d continue to create. I had a job that I appreciated but had no passion for. I was close to my family but in a very distant, ‘lets not talk about anything personal because feelings are uncomfortable’ way and I loved my friends but felt like we were on such different paths. I often felt alone in their company. I knew who I wanted to be but had no idea how to make the transition- and what’s worse, I had little hope that it was even possible for me.
Pan to a dimly lit Hollywood restaurant. Plush velvet chairs, hardened candle wax cemented to the table. Inaudible chatter from the surrounding tables and expensive side dishes listed on the hard to read menu. It’s 8:46pm, June 2, 2006. I am at dinner with my family and then boyfriend for my 31st birthday celebration.
I notice throughout the entire dinner that I am feeling sad. I check in with myself and get clear that it’s not because I will no longer be able to say, ‘oh, I just turned 30’ when people ask me my age. And it’s not because I am at a restaurant my mom randomly picked from the LA Times food section and I don’t see anything I want on the menu.
I feel sad because I don’t like my life. I feel trapped in my relationships, unhappy in my career and scared that if I don’t do something fast, I might solidify my place in ‘I guess this isn’t so bad’ living.
At 8:46pm I feel the room grow heavy. My brother in law is telling his most recent anecdote about how my sister has embarrassed him and I look around the table, as if in slow motion. Everyone seems enthralled in his story and the moment he hits the punch line and they’re all laughing, the words, ‘there’s got to be something more for me’ ring so clearly in my mind that I check to see if the waiter is standing over my shoulder.
I knew in that moment, I had to make a choice. There was a small window of opportunity and if I passed on it, I didn’t know if I’d have the strength to act on it the next time…if there even was a ‘next’ time.
That night, after a ‘pleasant’ birthday dinner, I told my boyfriend of 2 years that I couldn’t be with him anymore. In the weeks to follow, I let go of a ‘good, safe, secure’ job and colleagues that I had come to love.
It was an extremely complex and painful time. I cried a lot. A lot. I felt remorse, regret, doubt and uncertainty…but underneath all of that, I also felt a tinge of excitement. I had listened to my heart for the first time. I had trusted that small voice inside that had been speaking all along. I didn’t have a laid out plan, but I had the opportunity to create the life I wanted.
On June 2, 2006 at 8:47pm precisely, I chose me. And that felt amazing…very womanly in fact.
To be a woman requires so much, yet it is inherently in us all from the moment we are born. Life experiences are the exact tool necessary to activate what is so naturally ingrained in us. To be a woman means to trust your intuition. It means to honor what is right for you in the exact moment you become aware. It means recognizing that you are perfect exactly as you are and have every right to have what you want. Being a woman means claiming responsibility for your choices, your happiness and your life.
It is an honor to be a woman. A gift in fact. But as we all know, complex gifts should come with instructions. The following are the instructions I’ve discovered along the way and I am sure I will find more with each new day. Enjoy.
How to be a Woman.
1. Define and then Own your beauty
2. Trust your Intuition
3. Take time for yourself
4. Earn your own money and Feel Good about what you contribute to the world
5. Stay connected to other women
6. Have a constructive way to express all of who you are
7. Be vulnerably strong
8. Laugh out loud regularly
9. Embrace the fact that you’re a sensual/sexual being
10. Let go of the guilt around what you desire in your life
11. Remember that life is journey, a process of learning
(Besides exploring the range of human emotions on this site, I also sing and write songs. Check out www.MoniqueDeBose.com)