I’ve been thinking about this quote all day. It’s from Sex and the City – the iconic series about women, sex and friendship that many of us loved during the 90s. The quote is from Samantha Jones when she realises she has sacrificed her goals and independence for the man she loves. She has upended her life to help him follow his dream so he can be a success. With her talent and skills, she has taken him from unknown to superstar. But one day, she realises she can’t do it anymore. Although she loves him, she loves herself more.
Somewhere along the way, she willingly chose to lose herself in help him create his dreams. So she leaves and returns to the life that fills her up rather than living a life that ensures his needs are met, rather than her own.
Many years ago, while I was still married, my then-husband’s interests were increasingly divergent from my own. He wanted to stay home, watch the football several nights a week and renovate our house. Increasingly, I wanted to socialise, travel and expand my world. As time went by, and he refused to join me, I chose to go out without him. A female family member told me I should stay at home.
“Even though he won’t go out at all, I should stay home with him because that’s what he wants?” I asked her.
“Yes,” she said.
I left my marriage a year or two later. Clearly, I felt differently to her.
A lot of years have passed since then but I’ve noticed a pattern when it comes to women and the men they love.
I’ve heard women say things like, “Oh, he doesn’t like me to do things without him, so I don’t [insert her dream or passion here]” or, “I just know that he has all this potential so I’m going to help him [insert his dream].”
These are good women who love their men. But I wonder if they realise what they are doing to themselves and their relationships when they shelve their own dreams and desires so they can help their partners achieve theirs.
In partnerships, there are absolutely swings and roundabouts. As we progress through our lives, there will be times when one partner needs more support to help them achieve and reach for their goals. But too often it seems like the woman does a lot more heavy lifting in this department than the man. And we do it voluntarily because that’s what a good wife/girlfriend/partner does. Therein lies the challenge.
In this modern age, there is no reason for women to believe they must put their needs second to their male partner. There is no reason why men shouldn’t do 50 percent of the housework and child-rearing when their female partners also work full-time. But the statistics tell us that women are consistently taking the heavier load.
Mothers still frequently do more for their sons than their daughters. I’ve heard friends with sons and daughters talk about how much more difficult it is for boys than girls. Girls must fend for themselves more because they’re more capable while the mothers are just that bit more protective of their sons. The daughters see this behaviour and carry it forward into their intimate relationships later on.
Culturally, we’re still shown messages every day that women should make more allowances for their men. Female celebrities forgive their male partners for all sorts of indiscretions (including abuse) while their men and their careers still flourish. Just take a look at some of the sportsmen and musicians of the world for examples where women and the man’s adoring fans forgive all kinds of appalling behaviour. Mind you, a woman is unlikely to get away with similar antics without being called a myriad of names and probably losing her income.
The common theme parroted by women throughout all of these situations, is love. Too often it’s the narrative of unconditional love. “You must love unconditionally,” we’re told. But I think women have misinterpreted this message.
Telling a woman she should stay home all the time and shrink her world because that’s what her husband wants, is not love.
Prioritising his dreams and desires over yours, is not love.
Continuing to pick up more of the home and child-rearing tasks, is not love.
Ensuring sons are treated with more care than our daughters, is not love.
Making allowances for disrespectful and sometimes abusive behaviour, is not love.
We must love fiercely – we must set boundaries and say no, this is not okay. We must love ourselves fiercely and refuse to enable poor masculine behaviour. We must only only accept equality because that is what we deserve.
We must demand respect, not beg for it.
We must love fiercely with boundaries and accept nothing less.
If we learn to do this effectively, we will empower ourselves as women and also empower our men, instead of demeaning ourselves and emasculating them.
Love fiercely. And know you can love them but you need to love yourself more.
Unconditional love doesn’t mean giving away your power. We need to stop believing it does.
There’s an old saying about witches and their cats: “Every witch needs a familiar”. It’s believed the cat (familiar) and the witch are drawn to each other intuitively and form a lifelong connection.
As a former cat owner, I’ve jokingly refer to myself as a witch who needs a ‘familiar’ and these comments have sometimes caused an expression of disquiet to pass over the faces of people around me.
“But you’re not really a witch, are you?” they’ve asked. You can tell just the word, witch, conjures up unsettling images of supernatural spells, dark places, steaming cauldrons and women with nefarious intentions and wart-topped noses perched on broomsticks. She might even have green skin (if you watched The Wizard of Oz as a child).
At this point, I usually make a joke and lightly move the conversation on to other subjects because I know they feel confronted and perhaps a little afraid of what I’m saying.
I don’t usually refer to myself as a witch because it’s not a term I’ve felt overly drawn to. But I know that in centuries past, someone with my psychic skillset would have been called a witch. In those times I might have been sought out as a healer, a soothsayer, a maker of potions and so on. I may have been feared, ostracised or burned at the stake for my naturally-occurring gifts, even if I used them to help others.
In those times it was wise to keep a low profile.
If you fast forward to the 1960s and 70s, women with metaphysical gifts were depicted in television shows like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Samantha and Jeannie (the respective main characters) were bright, creative and energetic women who were forced to hide who they truly were because their husbands could never feel comfortable with their special gifts and worrying about what the neighbours might think was a big concern.
Shows like these gave my mother’s generation very clear messages about conformity and that openly claiming your metaphysical gifts could not occur in mainstream society. The underlying themes of masculinity being unable to hold space for gifted women was also very revealing (but that is a subject better dealt with in another post).
Fast forward to Halloween 2018 and many little girls across the world donned black hats, wigs and false noses (with the obligatory wart) and (cackling witchily) they moved from house to house asking, “Trick or treat?”
Clearly, the somewhat negative perceptions of witches persist today.
The women I know with metaphysical gifts (and I know quite a lot of them) do not look different from any other person you might meet on the street. They do not have green skin or nefarious intentions for the world around them. They are flawed humans who have special gifts they use to help others and make a difference to the planet in whatever way feels right for them.
They may call themselves witches or herbalists, clairvoyants, psychics, channels, healers, shamans, lightworkers, empaths or any other name that feels right to them.
Their gifts in another time and place would most certainly have defined them as witches.
It’s part of my mission to draw the veil back from the mystery of metaphysics and help others understand that psychic and energetic skills should not be feared, but should be embraced and owned. As I sit here in my make-up and stilettos, writing this post, I also want people to know we are often living in our suburban homes or apartment buildings and participating in mainstream life, just like you.
We’re not weird and we don’t usually have warts on our noses. Some own cauldrons (shout out to my close friend S, you know who you are) but a lot of us don’t. Others work with crystals while some have never used a metaphysical tool in their life. We are all as diverse and unique as the rest of the human race.
And fortunately, in most places in the world, we can no longer be burned at the stake.
Lucretia is an author, psychic channel and transformational teacher who helps women harness their intuition so they can live their Soul’s Mission. You can find more of her work onFacebookandInstagram.
Like a lot of women there have been times when I’ve felt hemmed in and controlled by my appearance and weight.
I’ve even cancelled social events because I’ve looked in my wardrobe despairingly and thought, “I have nothing to wear because I’ve put on x kilos and I can’t possibly wear that ‘awful’ outfit even though it’s the only one that still fits me.”
So, when a friend confessed she’d nearly cancelled our catch up because she felt too fat, I could totally relate.
She’s not fat and, you know what, neither was I when I was cancelling my appointments with people who cared about me.
Instead I was just being really mean to me.
A lot of women do this and it’s really a waste of our beautiful energy.
The people who truly love us don’t care if we’re carrying a few extra kilos. They probably won’t even see it. They just want to see us.
Years ago, a marriage counselor asked my then-husband David* how he would feel if I put on 50 kilos. She wanted to know if he would love me less.
He told her it wouldn’t make any difference to how he felt.
My counselor (who it turned out was pretty jaded when it came to marriage) nearly fell off her chair when he said that, because he meant it.
And that is what real love is.
Love is accepting people just the way they are and wanting to spend time with them because they’re smart, funny and beautiful in their own unique way.
I choose to spend my time with people who love me. They’re not judging me by how much I weigh. They’re just looking forward to seeing my smile and hearing my voice.
Most days I manage to keep the fat police out of my head because I know they’re not real.
It’s better to be who I am, be healthy-ish and know that is enough.
When I was in year 4, a girl in year 7 came up to me and asked, “Are you wearing a bra?”
How is an eight year old supposed to know what a bra is?
I asked my Mum, “What’s a bra?” She just looked down my top, squealed with joy in her voice and said, “It’s time to go shopping, you DO have little boobies”.
Really? Like, really? At the age of eight?
There was no turning back from there. I was an early “bloomer” (as some people put it). Not long afterwards a year 7 boy said I looked like Shannon Doherty from Beverly Hills 90210.
On my expedition later that week to buy a bra with my Mum, a girl in my brother’s year level asked me, “How’s your new boyfriend Tom?”
My mother instantly slapped me across the face and I burst into tears.
I am from a first generation migrant family and I wasn’t supposed to know boys existed until marriage. It was also the 1980s and hitting children wasn’t frowned upon.
So my first experience of being “liked” didn’t turn out so well. As you can imagine, I developed an unhealthy body and sexual image of myself at a young age. Was it because I had boobs? Did I really start to look like Shannon?
I didn’t want to be pretty. I didn’t want to get into trouble.
It didn’t get better as I got older. My boobs grew bigger, my face became prettier and more boys and men noticed me as I reached my teens and young adulthood.
I struggled in a few unhealthy relationships growing up. I didn’t know if it was due to my looks or maybe I wasn’t compatible with the men I dated.
I wasn’t redirected to focus on the more important aspects in life, rather than the external attributes I possessed. I found it hard to embrace the way I looked. I grew up getting compliments. I still do.
But I’m 30 now. I have two beautiful daughters and my husband would say they look like me. And although my face is ageing slowly, I’m embracing every minute I have this face. More importantly, I focus my daughters’ attention on how well they can read, count, play, and show love, affection and manners. The looks are a given but they don’t determine the level of success you possess as a human being.
Women are the biggest critics and the most supportive beings towards one another. Mothers have the biggest impacts on their daughters. I’m blessed to have mine and blessed to be one now.
Aurora S is a woman, lover, friend and mother with a passion for lifelong learning. She has a serious job but doesn’t take life too seriously.
The paunchy, balding bloke in a red convertible is a thing of the past. In its place is a far more wholesome pursuit to recapture youth and vibrancy.
I’ve labelled it Competitive Middle Ageing.
So what is it?
Competitive Middle Ageing involves preparing a list of goals to achieve before you hit 40.
You know, running a marathon, volunteering in a remote African village, climbing K2, walking Kokoda twice blindfolded while in a potato sack… that kind of thing.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not against people setting goals and achieving them. I think the whole “age is no barrier thing” is highly commendable.
Trouble is, as a mere 38-year-old woman, I’m exhausted just getting through the average week of family life. Juggling the demands of a job, a husband, pets, two preteen daughters and mind-bogglingly complex super statements has me all tuckered out.
Even more sadly, as my long suffering husband will attest, we’re flat out scheduling half an hour for sex, let alone a 50km ride before breakfast.
So, while I’ve watched on as friends have aced their first marathon, taken up fencing, and knocked off a personal best at their latest triathlon, I’ve been doing my best to keep my head down and my wardrobe free of lycra.
You never know, I might just warm to this Competitive Middle Ageing thing in time for my fiftieth.
In the meantime, don’t feel offended if I haven’t “liked” your latest dragon boat win on Facebook. I’m no tall poppy slasher – just someone hoping I won’t be invited to participate in your next event.
Kate G is a harassed 38-year-old mother, wife and communications officer who is hoping to catch a nanna nap sometime soon.
The year is 1995. I’m 42 years of age and married with children.
My place of employment has given us an unexpected bonus and I am ready to dutifully hand over the money towards our joint marital finances. However, there’s talk around the office that a tandem parachuting trip may be organised.
Parachuting. Jumping out of a plane. The idea was enticing.
I was at the stage of my life (some might say the mid-life crisis stage) where I was questioning my future paths.
I’m not sure what triggered my interest in the parachuting. But, before I realised it, I was in my car and driving around and around the local shopping centre car park, trying to decide whether I (who had a fear of heights) could actually sit near the open door of a plane 12,000 feet in the air and exit.
I circled the car park numerous times when a voice inside said, “You can do this. “Just do it. Stop fussing!”
I can still remember placing the cheque on the desk in front of Matt (the organiser) with mixed feelings of excitement and apprehension.
I was applauded by the girls in the office as a heroine.
My five male colleagues who were brave and gallant (not!) sat me near the open door of the plane so I was the first to jump.
As I exited (screaming of course), waves of exhilaration and freedom flowed through my being with a “oneness” I experienced as immeasurable and indescribable. That leap of faith was one of the many catalysts that turned my life into a roller coaster ride for taking more risks and trusting my inner voice.
Not only was it the quickest way to cure my fear of heights but I did it for myself alone and no one else.
I owned it!
Today those leaps of faith still occur as I continue my journey through life.
Marilyn Moes is a holistic counsellor, clairvoyant and sporadic risk taker. You can read more of her words at http://www.tamleysgift.com.au