the woman within

I had two watershed experiences when I was in my early twenties, experiences that went against everything I had been taught about my body up to then. While at a women’s weeklong gathering and at night at the fire near the hot springs, I saw a naked woman of about thirty-five; her breasts were emptied out by childbearing her belly strained from birthing children. I was very young and I remember feeling sorry for the assaults on her fair and thin skin.

Some one was playing.. and she began to dance, her hair, her breasts, her skin, her limbs all moving in different directions. How beautiful she was, how vital. Her grace was heartbreaking. … that night I saw it. I saw what I had been taught to ignore, the power of a womans body when it is animated from the inside.

-Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves

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begin here, with your daughters and sons, mothers fight the ever-growing war against this illusion of sculpting our bodies as though we were not born perfectly into this world. Teach your daughters to love themselves from the inside out. Teach your sons that we are perfect in all our flaws,  that really the flaws are an illusion in its self.  That our bodies are going to grow and change as we do, that never throughout our lives will we stay the same nor should we feel we have to. It is in our child baring years that we feel this most. It is in these years that loving ourselves and the body we wear needs our greatest admiration, for how perfectly they are able to stretch and define themselves around new life, sometimes leaving us with deep blue and purple scars that remain as reminders of how we once carried another within ourselves. Let us rid ourselves of this belief that we are meant to conceptually fit  some unattainable idea of ourselves, before and after we carry our children. Let us change the minds of our teenage daughters and ease them  of the heavy burdens they believe their bodies to be. Let us teach our sons to look deeper, that the real beauty of a woman lies deep within her layers, that they will never find what they are looking for if they are only ever to look at her from the outside.

5 thoughts on “the woman within”

  1. I’ve been thinking about this post ever since I read it yesterday! I wanted to drop back in and say thanks for featuring Estes’ writing lately. It’s been ages since I read her work, back in my early 20s, and I’ve loved reading your carefully selected excerpts. She is such a powerful writer and still so relevant.


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