Loving Myself, A Woman

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On rugby balls, Caterpillar boots, patriarchy, a piercing whisper from God and a red dress.

In October I said Yes to a project created by Jonathan Brink of Civitas Press called The Practice of Love: Real Stories of Living into the Kingdom of God.

I knew I had to write something. We had launched SheLovesmagazine.com a few months earlier—my life revolved around wanting to tell stories of Love: love for God, love for ourselves and love for others.

The Practice of Love sounded like it needed to be another piece of growing my Love consciousness.

There was several categories to choose from, but the thing I knew I needed to write through, was my story of loving myself, a woman.

It was one of the scariest pieces of writing I have ever committed to. It felt heavy inside of me … a part of my story not quite perfectly shaped. Not quite figured out.

The first draft was due in the middle of December: days after my daughter’s birthday, in the last days of Christmas concerts and goodie bags and gifts for teachers, in the midst of decorating and preparing.

I felt stretched and it was one of those moments when I just had to sit down, get quiet, bite down and push through.

Jonathan came back with great suggestions to draw out the story. Again, for the next deadline, I remember having to walk away from family visiting from Nanaimo and locking myself into my office. I sat on my green chair deep into the night, while others laughed in the kitchen.

I was so aware how these words come with that tenacious commitment to ship.

Now that I’d done that

Then, after I submitted the second draft in January, I haven’t wanted to look at it again. It felt so raw. Not ready. Not finished. But I had hit send and the words were out of my hands.

Last night, I finally had the courage to open up the file again to see what I had written. It’s the story of growing up in South Africa–where patriarchy feels like it’s seeped into the water and airways–and looking at how I believed I needed to sacrifice my femininity in order to be strong.

It’s also the story of connecting with a group of beautiful and powerful women and finding my place in the world as a woman.

It’s the story of changing shoes: arriving in Taipei with Caterpillar boots and leaving, four and a half years later, in fun girly gray boots.

There was a moment when I learned it was OK to be a woman, and in fact, it was more than OK, it was something God intended for me … My womanhood was not a mistake and it looked very different from what I had seen around me growing up.

My Practice of Love

Writing this piece was a practice of Love for me … It was written for me, to help me sort through the question of my femininity, the discomfort I used to feel reconciling my feminine self and my strength. It was about remembering the girl I used to be and a very precious whisper from God straight to my heart.

It was also written with the hope that anyone else who may need it, will find permission to be her full glorious, powerful, beautiful, feminine self.

There are so many contributions in this book, from wonderful writers like (one of my favorites) Kathy Escobar. We are also participating in a synchroblog (a first for me!) I hope you’ll check out the book. *deep breaths*

The Practice of Love is available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Kindle.

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  • http://jonathanbrink.com Jonathan Brink

    Thank you Idelette. I loved your story.
    You can see a list of all the participants here:
    http://civitaspress.com/2011/05/15/the-practice-of-love-synchroblog/

    • http://www.idelette.com idelette

      Thank you so much, Jonathan. I really was so impressed with you and working with you. 

  • http://twitter.com/teenbug Tina Francis

    I am SO proud of you!! WOWeeEWOW!

    • idelette

      Thank you, my friend! (((big hug)))

    • http://www.idelette.com idelette

      Thank you!!!! xoxoxoxo

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  • Christiana Walter

     I cannot WAIT to read this, idelette. This piece is really moving! 

    • http://www.idelette.com idelette

      Thank you so much, Christi. I would LOVE to hear any feedback you might have … 

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  • http://www.tillhecomes.org Jeremy Myers

     Idelette, 

    As I read the book last week, I starred the chapters which I thought were most compelling. It is not that the others are not great. They are. It is just that a few of them really taught me something or tugged on me in new directions. I only ended up starring 7 chapters. Yours was one. 

    Thanks for writing!

    • http://www.idelette.com idelette

      Jeremy, wow … thank you so much! I think you just made my night. I really appreciate your kindness and feedback. 

  • http://www.divandmama.blogspot.com Jenn

    I’m just reading it now, I love how there are so many different voices and issues speaking to the same concept of love. I appreciated yours because lately the whole concept of women, and women loving themselves has been heavily on my heart as a mom raising daughters.