It’s funny. To think of the damage caused by cultural norms and stereotypes.
Of course, there are the absolutely beautiful cultural narratives out there. Those that cherish and honour human life by holding it, by respecting it so beautifully that even the hardest of hearts must surely be touched by the story of it all.
I heard a story as beautiful, just the other day. My counsellor told it to me: how, in her culture, when a woman becomes pregnant, she becomes the queen. The whole tribe lavish her with love, care, and most importantly, perhaps…food.
This discussion came about after a lovely tender moment where she looked over at me, my bulging belly sweetly growing a perfect little gift, and offered to bake me something lovely to celebrate the occasion (that’s right, surprise, I’m fourteen weeks pregnant. And how lovely it is, to me. How lovely it is. xx)
But, I digress. Because although there are some absolutely beautiful cultural stories passed on by certain cultures in the world, other cultures do not even realise their own toxicity. (And when I say toxicity, what I mean is…truly, their cultural ideas are heartbreaking and damaging to individuals who do not fit into the selected story being told.)
There are some absolutely wonderful things to be said about the culture I was born into. But one arm of the narrative, an arm that destroyed any hope of me developing healthy self-esteem in my early years, was the idea that vulnerability and softness were somehow character flaws. I was mostly soft.
As it turns out, this soft part of me, this sensitivity, is my super power; a power that helps me soothe, and bring safety to those who need it. A power that helps me tap into the world of everything and nothing, and pull down the words and creativity needed for my writing to touch people in the way that it seems to.
But my culture called me ‘soft’. It told me to ‘harden up’, and it assumed that If I didn’t…then surely I must be broken, at worst. Naive at best. Never have I been these labels.
And if you are a deep and tender heart resonating with these words…never have you been these labels, either.
Always we’ve been perfect.
Just the way we are.
Think of the trillions of flowers, plants and trees out there. Some are soft. Some are hard, shrubs built to last in the wind and rain and hail. None of them judge each other for being ‘wrong’ in anyway. They simply exist.
And so do I.
So do we.