On Femininity (A letter to the girl I was before him)

A flower never stops being a flower, even when it begins to die. A fruit simply is what it is. Even when it is rotten, it still has value and never loses its identity. The lioness is because she is.

But the flower only blooms where the sun opens her. The fruit can only be enjoyed in the nurturing care of the gardener. The lioness behaves one way in the presence of danger, another in pursuit of prey, and another in the care and company of her mate. Likewise, as a woman, you can't make me be who I am. I am gentle. I am nurturing. I am submissive. I am a leader. I am a protector. I am a provider. I am everything God says I am, but a man doesn't get to experience that apart from doing what he is called to do as a man. His failure to be who he is called to be limits how much he can benefit from my womanhood. Like the gardener who neglects or abuses his flower will ultimately watch it die, robbing himself of the beauty of its fullest potential, so the man who neglects and abuses the woman will find himself seeing the ugliest sides of her as she dies in his care.

I was talking to your former lover, and he said that women are locks and men are keys. That a lock that could be opened by many keys is a bad lock. But a key that could open any door is a master key. Not only was he saying this in an attempt to shame me (and all women) about my sexual history, but he said it to manipulate me. To make me feel degraded and unworthy because I no longer desired him. Because I wanted someone who didn't see me as a lock, but as a woman. I still resent him for that. But more than that, I vehemently disagree with the concept altogether. Keys and locks are inanimate. Static. Created and used by man. Men aren't keys carved by someone to be used only to open the door but never to enjoy the room. Even if I went with his misogynistic analogy, the only master key would be God.

And I am no one's lock. I am a living thing. I am complex. And my clitoris isn't what unlocks my love, devotion, care, or commitment. And men aren't keys to be used and discarded at will.

It pains me to see so many Christian men and women subscribing to such terrible world views. I get it though. These views are simply an extension of how we were all raised. The image of the bitten apple with nothing left for the person who was purposed to enjoy it. The crumbled flower. The conversations and endless books on pursuit, and courtship, and purity. It has to end here. Now. We have to teach our children that their identity, sexuality, and expressions of these are all defined by God alone. Not society. Not tradition. Not patriarchy. Simply God. It is he who looked at Adam and Eve and determined that who they were, as he created them, was good. That was not Adam's place to assign her a role or identity to conform to his own. Likewise, we should teach ourselves first, and then our children, that our masculinity and femininity is good as is.

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