What Does It Mean To Be a Woman?

woman

makeup // catalina montaña

This is a question came up twice for me last week: once in my sensuality e-course, & another in a one-on-one session between me & a client. In both cases, it stumped us.

As soon as I heard that question, my mind began to fill with all kinds of proverbial frou-frou images that have, for most of my girlish life, represented woman: red lipstick; panty hose; shoes that go clip-clop! as I walk; pearls; tulle; eyelash curlers; pink bows; Victoria’s Secret’s super padded push-up bras; Chanel No.5; oven mitts.

But I know better. These are just things, empty tropes that have senselessly carried the weight & sacredness of adult femaleness for centuries. I see these “emblems of womanhood” & feel an instant sense of disconnect with them, because I know that there is a lot more to a woman than what brand of perfume she wears or where she buys her bras—simply because there’s more to me & my womanness than the perfume I wear or the bras that I buy.

Oh, I wish it were that simple. If only I could just by a tube of lipstick, a lacy bra, & a frilly skirt, & then—bam! Sensual adult woman activated! Wouldn’t that be nice?

And while it is true that those emblems of womanhood can contain within them an essence of the womanness one seeks, they’re only meaningful when they are worn, embodied. Otherwise, they’re just perfume on a shelf, bras on a clothes hanger. Empty.

So if being a woman (& I mean the essence of a woman, not the caricature of one) is not found in the lacy bra or the frilly skirt or the sugar, spice, & everything nice look & feel. . . then where is it & where can it be found?

What does it mean to be a woman?

Here’s what I think.

I think what it means to be a woman is as vast & varied as the women who claim the word themselves. I think that the expressions of womanhood are truly unique & intimate & personal, & cannot be defined by any one person—that is, not without using some of those empty tropes I mentioned above, which, as I’ve seen, can be useless.

I think that if anyone on the planet ever says to you, “Look here, being a woman means this & this & this!” run in the opposite direction. I don’t believe that anyone has any jurisdiction in telling you (in telling me) what it means to be a woman. Yes, even if she herself is a woman.

I don’t think that we can ask that question “What does it mean to be a woman?” without also asking “What does it mean to be who I am?” Because your womanness is intrinsically tied into the truth of who you are—all of your quirks, all of your traits, even the ones that are not soft.

I believe that if you incarnated into this life as a woman, if you claim that word as yours (regardless if the claiming is done with pride or uncertainty), it is your task to define what it means to be woman. Namely, to uncover who she is—who you are—in your own way, on your own terms.

So how do you uncover her? You give her safe space for her to be conjured. You honor her presence whenever you feel her pulsations inside of your body. You open yourself up to feel the pulsations of her inside of your body. You embody the truth that you are already a woman, that there is nothing that needs to be done or applied.

That’s a start.

I like to ask this one question whenever a client of mine is unsure of her womanness (or “lack of”):

When do you feel most like a woman?

I love this question because it has an air of lightness to it, much more than “What does it mean to be a woman?”, & there’s all kinds of curious things within its answer(s), things that can help her (you) to begin that journey of uncovering & actualization.

So, when do you feel most like a woman?

As for me. . . it’s true that I tend to feel most like a woman when I’m sporting red lipstick or when my hair looks just right or when I’m baking a pie. But mostly, the essence of my womanhood comes out when I feel at total home with myself. When I am unabashedly in my body—every crease, curve, & freckle. When I am honoring all of my inner rhythms—including the ones that feel dark or “unlady-like.” When I am tuning into my inner voice. When I’m speaking my truth.

My womanness includes much of the frou-frou images mentioned above, yes, but those things do not define me as a woman. And that, for me, is liberating, because it’s exhausting (not to mention unsustainable) to put such precedence on products or symbols & not on my own inherent magnificence.

I am a woman because I say so.
And so are you.

It’s Bi Visibility Day, & I Want You To See Me

// me, September 2014,  via Instagram

I am bisexual. I’ve finally found peace with this word, & am able to claim it while withstanding all of its negative connotations without shrinking. There’s something very radical to me about the word bisexual—to say it with pride, to use it as mine—probably because it has been so stigmatized.

People hate the word so much (I used to hate it, too), & they shy away from claiming it as there’s because of the bad vibes it can give off. So they use other words—queer, pansexual, fluid, heteroflexible—to take the sting out of what it implies.

But I’ve recently discovered that I don’t actually want to take the sting out; the sting needs to exist. The sting incites, prompts awareness.

And so I use the word bisexual these days very much like I use the word feminist—as a form of political activism & radical self-acceptance; to take up space & fan the flames of my own inner fire.

I am bisexual, & I am married—two major pieces of my beingness that I used to see as contradictory, but have transformed into symbols of my inherent complexity.

No, my fluid sexuality doesn’t negate my married self, & my marriage to a man (who, for the record, doesn’t identify as straight) doesn’t negate my sexuality. They work hand-in-hand simply because I’ve chosen to make them work in this way.

In a lot of ways, my marriage celebrates my bisexuality, & in the ways that it doesn’t, I celebrate & actualize it in my own way. (Opening up our relationship was one of the biggest expressions of that celebration, but writing posts like this, where I am come out from under my cloak & talk about my bisexuality is another.)

I am bisexual, & I want you to see me. Even though my origin story of bisexuality doesn’t date back to elementary school; even though I didn’t have my first raging girl crush until I was 18; even though my attraction to women is very much unlike my attraction to men—I deserve to be seen.

Bi erasure & invisibility is real—it’s being done to me, & I will admit that I’ve done it to myself. But I’m at a place in my life where I am ready to be seen as not only bi, but as a queer woman of color, as a tender witchy femme who believes in & conjures magick, as a fierce feminist with an affinity for both bell hooks & Beyoncé.

Words hold power, & within these particular ones—bisexual, QWOC, witch—I’ve found parts of my true self, & lasting liberation within those parts.

/ / /

More celebrations & glitter for bisexuality!

+ BLOGS : bidykebisexuwhales; bisexualweek.

+ RESOURCES : Autostraddle; Laci Green (this one, too); 8 Questions to Stop Asking Bisexuals; The Bisexual-Bisexual Marriage; & I Think I Might Not Be Straight, So What Am I?.

+ &. . . you’re in good company.

Special Note: Not only is today Bi Visibility Day, but it’s also Bi Awareness Week! Autostraddle, one of my favorite sites on the internet, has written a lovely little thing about how you can celebrate & support bi awareness.

I’m Creating an e-Course on Sensuality, & I Need Your Help!

To me, there cannot be sexuality without sensuality. Sensual expression fuels erotic expression. Without it, sex & the erotic would be mechanic, heady, slightly methodical. No, we absolutely need sensuality to help our sexual expressions bloom fully & deliciously.

But what exactly is sensuality? What does it mean to be sensual? And how does one connect to this exquisite-sounding way of living on a daily basis, both in & out of the bedroom?

At the most basic level, sensuality is about living life fully through the senses, about embodiment & indulgence & erotic physicality.

It’s also about connection, self-expression, deep inner listening, shameless satiation, & pleasure—lots & lots of pleasure.

Now, you may be reading this now, & thinking, “That all sounds nice & interesting, but that’s not me.”

Oh, but I beg to differ.

I believe that you have it in you to be sensual—always have, always will. And I want so badly for you to be beautifully mindful of the body you’re in; for you to feel juicy, turned on, voluptuous, succulent. I want you to feel awake to every gorgeous moment that happens in your life—every day, every minute, always.

What I especially want is for you to feel comfortable & confident claiming the word sensual for yourself.

If sensuality & sensual living has ever felt lofty to you; if you’ve ever thought to yourself “I am not sensual”; if you’re curious about how you can embody sensuality daily, in your own beautiful way. . .

I invite you to take the 30 Days of Sensuality e-course, with me as your sensual guide.

30-days-email

Next Monday, September 8th—which just so happens to be a Full Moon—I’m doing a soft launch of my brand new e-course, 30 Days of Sensuality. This’ll be a 4-week journey that will help you reclaim your sensual nature & get into the habit of living life fully through your senses on a daily basis. 

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because I took my very old & out-of-date email series of the same name & revamped it entirely, giving it fresh content, more in-depth assignments, & other lovely little additions to help you uncover, reclaim, & celebrate your sensual expression.

Some of those lovely little additions:

  • moxie-filled daily prompts
  • a private online forum
  • group coaching sessions with me & other sensualists
  • + more!

But here’s the thing: I need your help.

This e-course is nearly finished. I’m putting the final touches on it as we speak. And while I could just trust that I’ve done good work, that everything’s perfect & launch, I want to be sure.

I want to be sure that this course is as transformative as I have dreamed it up to be. I want to be sure that all of this hard work that I’ve been doing is perfectly translated into something that’ll renew you. I want to be sure that this course has everything you need to help reclaim your sensual essence & live a life of succulence from here on out.

And that’s where you come in.

I’m seeking a small group of sensually curious women who would like to reconnect themselves back into their bodies, their senses, & uncover (or meet for the first time) a part of themselves that has been lost: their succulence, their juiciness, & a deeper, more meaningful sense of pleasure.

In exchange for their curiosity & willingness to play & give feedback, they’ll go through my newly forged 30 Days of Sensuality e-course at a special introductory price—more than 75% off of the original price.

PLUS. . . all of the lovely little additions I mentioned above—all thirty course prompts, access to the private, members-only forum, & two group coaching sessions with me & other sensualists (this one alone is worth $250).

AND! If you ever want to take the course again (& it’ll be even better the second time), the beta price of the course will stay locked in forever for you.  

If you’d like to be one of the first people in the inaugural launch of 30 Days of Sensuality, put in your information below.






Please Note: By signing up here, you will also be signing up to receive my newsletter.
If you already get letters from me via email, you don’t have to do anything.

Then. . . on September 8th @ midnight, I’ll open the doors to the inaugural launch of 30 Days of Sensuality, letting in only a small number of people (I’m thinking less than 20).

I’ll keep the doors open for only 24 hours, or until all spots are filled—whichever happens first. So if you’re serious about lending your eyes & senses in the initial launch of this newly crafted course, you’ll need to act fast. These few spots will go quickly.

I so appreciate your interest in helping, & I’m very, very excited about introducing you to (& essentially co-creating) this course.

With deepest love,

Ev'Yan-signature

I Am A “Too Much” Woman

Press play above to listen to me read this article aloud to you. Player not showing? Click here.

/ / / 

Note: This writing is inspired by & dedicated to all of the Too Much women I have worked with, who, very bravely & against all odds, rise.

There she is. . . the “too much” woman. The one who loves too hard, feels too deeply, asks too often, desires too much.

There she is taking up too much space, with her laughter, her curves, her honesty, her sexuality. Her presence is as tall as a tree, as wide as a mountain. Her energy occupies every crevice of the room. Too much space she takes.

There she is causing a ruckus with her persistent wanting, too much wanting. She desires a lot, wants everything—too much happiness, too much alone time, too much pleasure. She’ll go through brimstone, murky river, & hellfire to get it. She’ll risk all to quell the longings of her heart & body. This makes her dangerous. She is dangerous.

And there she goes, that “too much” woman, making people think too much, feel too much, swoon too much. She with her authentic prose & a self-assuredness in the way she carries herself. She with her belly laughs & her insatiable appetite & her proneness to fiery passion. All eyes on her, thinking she’s hot shit.

Oh, that “too much” woman. . . too loud, too vibrant, too honest, too emotional, too smart, too intense, too pretty, too difficult, too sensitive, too wild, too intimidating, too successful, too fat, too strong, too political, too joyous, too needy—too much.

She should simmer down a bit, be taken down a couple notches. Someone should put her back in a more respectable place. Someone should tell her.

Here I am. . . the Too Much Woman, with my too-tender heart & my too-much emotions.

A hedonist, feminist, pleasure seeker, empath. I want a lot—justice, sincerity, spaciousness, ease, intimacy, actualization, respect, to be seen, to be understood, your undivided attention, & all of your promises to be kept.

I’ve been called high maintenance because I want what I want, & intimidating because of the space I occupy. I’ve been called selfish because I am self-loving. I’ve been called a witch because I know how to heal myself.

And still. . . I rise. Still, I want & feel & ask & risk & take up space.

I must.

Us Too Much Women have been facing extermination for centuries—we are so afraid of her, terrified of her big presence, of the way she commands respect & wields the truth of her feelings. We’ve been trying to stifle the Too Much Woman for ions—in our sisters, in our wives, in our daughters. And even now, even today, we shame the Too Much Woman for her bigness, for her wanting, for her passionate nature.

And still. . . she thrives.

In my own world & before my very eyes, I am witnessing the reclamation & rising up of the Too Much Woman. That Too Much Woman is also known to some as Wild Woman or the Divine Feminine. In any case, she is me, she is you, & she is loving that she’s finally, finally getting some airtime.

If you’ve ever been called “too much,” or “overly emotional,” or “bitchy,” or “stuck up,” you are likely a Too Much Woman.

And if you are. . . I implore you to embrace all that you are—all of your depth, all of your vastness; to not hold yourself in, & to never abandon yourself, your bigness, your radiance.

Forget everything you’ve heard—your too much-ness is a gift; oh yes, one that can heal, incite, liberate, & cut straight to the heart of things.

Do not be afraid of this gift, & let no one shy you away from it. Your too much-ness is magic, is medicine. It can change the world.

Don’t believe me? Check this: All of your favorite women, the ones who’ve made history, the ones who’ve lent their voices for change & have courageously given themselves permission to be exactly who they are—some examples: Oprah, Ronda Rousey, Danielle LaPorte, Beyoncé, Kali, Misty Copeland, Janet Mock, Mary Magdalene . . .—they’re all Too Much Women.

So please, Two Much Woman: Ask. Seek. Desire. Expand. Move. Feel. Be.

Make your waves, fan your flames, give us chills.

Please, rise.
We need you.

A Simple & Potent Reminder for When It Doesn’t Come Easy

It’s OK if it’s hard.

It’s OK if desire doesn’t come easy for you tonight, tomorrow morning, or mid-afternoon next Friday.

It’s OK if your body isn’t feeling juicy or sexual.

It’s OK if your orgasm is no where to be found.

It’s OK if you can’t seem to access the sensual, embodied, feminine parts of you today.

It’s OK if your inner dialogue is saying things to you that you would never say to your best friend or lover or daughter.

It’s OK if you’re not in the mood, if you’ve got a headache, if it’s been a long day, if the answer is simply No.

It’s OK if you don’t know why.

It’s all alright.

Your sexual identity doesn’t cease to exist, your erotic power does not become null, because of a bad night or a series of weird moments.

Just give yourself space to be. Allow this strangeness, these out-of-nowhere awkward feelings to pass through you. Honor what is. If “what is” is can’t do, that’s perfectly alright. (Yes, really.)

Everything goes in cycles; this is your cycle, one of many that you’ll have in your lifetime, & it’s perfect as it is.

You are OK, you are enough, you are whole.

This too shall pass.