Hey Woman

I admit it. I sometimes feel uncomfortable being a woman. I’m not as deeply in touch with my femininity as I should be. I have not defined myself within my femininity. Haven’t owned that energy. I’m not saying that I’m masculine or that I identify easier with my masculine side, it’s just that it’s blurred—nonspecific. If I ask myself, “What does it mean for me to be a woman?” the answer doesn’t roll off my tongue.

My mind stops and looks for the right words. I need to think. I feel slightly uncomfortable not knowing the right words. I can check off some things on the list easily. Nurturing, check. Cook, check. Great listener, check. But beyond the basics, I’ve got questions.

Do men feel magic the way women do? Or at least the way some women do? I look at so many women today, baffled and angry. Grown up Barbie dolls, nothing to say, no power. Sex machines, I imagine. I don’t relate. If I’m honest, I will say I’m more spirited than sexual. Though I have a fire that when stoked is engulfing. But, I’ve cared more about giving birth to creative ideas than anything else. But don’t men do that too? Is it masculine to want to make things? I’m more of a gatherer than hunter.

I don’t fit into a container that’s easily labeled. I’m unique. I sense my power and my inadequacy—that conundrum makes me feel alive and lost at the same time. I want to hold hands with the world and fly. I don’t know what to do and want to do everything. The only place I feel truly comfortable is my home in all its reflection of me. Does that make me a woman? I’ve been good and bad. I’ve faked it. I’ve laughed at movies I didn’t think were funny. Pretended to like people because it was the polite thing to do. I’ve not told people to “Go to hell” who deserved it, because I didn’t want to rock that boat.

I’ve thought I was fat, so I cleansed a hundred times. I’ve looked in the mirror and wondered at my beauty. Am I beautiful today? I’ve evened out my breasts and ran up hills. I’ve worked hard, taken care of parents, fixed things for friends. I’ve made money and bought houses, cars, clothes, jewels. I’ve become a goddamn grown up with artichoke plates and a bar cart with good whiskey and absinthe. I have a sterling silver punch bowl for entertaining. Does this make me a woman?

I have a lingerie drawer full of lace and temptation. At least half still with tags on, bought for some idiot who, as it turns out, couldn’t get it hard. I have a perfume platter and vitamins and fluffy rugs. Does this make me a woman?

“You’re really hot,” he said. The theater still near empty. The screen on static, waiting for its next play. Popcorn already stuck to sweater. The lights uncomfortably dim. His handsome face, new to me. His eyes ready. “I wish the movie would hurry up and start,” I said, changing the subject. He wants me, this man I don’t even know. He’s looking for an open door, a window, a clue whether I would push him away or not. I’m wanted. Does this make me a woman?

I have a meditation room in my house. It’s full of books on every subject. I’ve hunted inside myself for the truth of who I am. Yearned to put language to my personal description. I’ve made long lists defining my essence. But I’m not a mother. I’ve given birth to lots of things but never another human being. Is this the missing link? Is this the foundation of womanhood I’m missing? For most of my life, I thought I would have children, but now I don’t know. I’m not sure. Emotionally that window may have closed. I have become comfortable in my indulgences and fear I’m too selfish now. Too happy with the way things are.

But in my core, I long to authentically define myself—to know and understand my power. Is this possible without motherhood? Can I fully know my rhythm without experiencing the process of labor? I must believe that being a woman is more than that—that it’s in the quality of our essence. Something transcendent. Does asking these questions make me a woman?

Photo Credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ via Compfight cc








Cheyann Benedict

Cheyann Benedict is a noted fashion entrepreneur, actress and writer. She is most known for co-founding the iconic clothing line C&C California and her current eponymous clothing line. Her interests include her passion for acting and writing, as well as mentoring young entrepreneurs, the practice of single propeller piloting and the study of meditation. She is also known for traveling the world, including rural America, gathering inspiration and perspective.

5 thoughts on “Hey Woman

  1. Brendan McCall Reply

    Thank you for writing this piece and sharing it with us, Cheyann. I loved reading it. Who knows if you will ever find an answer to your recurring question, “Does this make me a woman?” But the way you are expressing your journey, your quest, to live an experience of that answer, is what I think is most valuable. Women like you embody contradictions, complexities, defy categories. The boxes that perhaps used to work in some bygone era to differentiate what is “masculine” and what is “feminine” do not apply to women like yourself. You resist binary thinking, convenient labels, preconceived notions of how one should or should not be based on gender. Thankfully! Writings like yours, articulating the inner life of a woman today, helps broaden our understanding of men and women, of gender, of sexuality, of the value of continually questioning the definitions of femininity and masculinity. These are elements along a continuum, a spectrum; they are not fixed. Were they ever?

    1. Cheyann Benedict Reply

      Brendan thank you!! Your feedback means the world to me! Love what you’ve said. And to your question – ‘were they ever’ – your right. They’ve always been trying to build the container but nothing ever seems to fit in it quite right.

  2. dori keller Reply

    I’m reading word after word which leads to paragraph after paragraph and half way thru it dawns on me that I know this piece. I’ve heard this read this – regardless how I know this – I just know.

    Not because I’d already heard or read the words … I knew the piece because even as a 50ish year old man I recognized its core its essence — I knew the piece because I heard its sound and felt it’s effects before.

    Cheyann basically asked if men feel the same have the same questions considerations and doubts. The answer is yes – we do.

    It’s not something we talk about over a few beers or during an evening where one or the other is the designated “wingman.” In fact, offering those questions up for discussion at any time is considered suicide.

    That doesn’t mean we don’t look at ourselves in the mirror – the larger the better – and conduct a critical analysis. Or doubt our want our urge/need for sex when it’s not THE most thing on our list that day or for the past week; which is a fearful to confront.

    What sets us apart is that at our core we’re weak. We live with an internal terror that for the most part keeps us running – some more than others.

    So in as much as this piece offers more questions than answers – which I like. It speaks volumes about the strength women have when it comes to telling their truth.

    The intimacies are stunning moments that seduce you. They carry you through the twists and turns of Cheyann’s journey. But they also create the feeling that you’ve become an unwitting participant in something illicit.

    And for me – the juxtaposition of these simultaneous experiences is what makes it so unique and magical.

    1. Cheyann Benedict Reply

      Dori – thank you thank you! Your response is magical! It’s so much more fun to run to, rather than away 🙂
      We’ll all have to offer those questions up sometime over a beer. F-ck the suicide! 🙂

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