Woman. Womyn. Womxn.
When we are young, we spend our time imagining ourselves into existence. We say I want to be an artist like Basquiat, a writer like Lorde, or an astronaut like Jemison. We know that Because of them we can. We grow up looking through the world for images, models, and examples of what it means to be a person, to have a soul, to have a body.
Not everyone has grown up with the same access in the world. This means that their are kids who are artist inside that don’t meet that part of their soul until they’ve aged. And the same for our writers, astronauts, engineers, and educators. We discover ourselves as we go and it is indeed a glorious process. As we age, we should not only continue this process, but refine it.
Refine the process of becoming by being intentional. Upgrade childhood wanderings to adult vision-boarding and financial planning. What if we became ourselves on purpose? Put our minds and visions into manifesting our outer lives to match what we know we are on the inside?
Lets leave nothing off limits.
Let be intentional about our names, our furniture, our diets, our sex lives, our exercise, and our families. Lets be intentional about our bodies- how we regulate them, how we call them, how we allow them, how we cherish them, how we honor them, how we nourish them, how we bury them.
I am a womyn.
Intentional about my name indeed. I must inform you, that the spelling of words is not commonly random. The spelling of a word has a history and that history often serves as a track record of politics and paradigm. To explain…
The traditional spelling “woman” is rooted in the idea that women are biological deviants of men, essentially accepting ancient stories like that in genesis, to detail the creation of humankind. These stories habitually narrate that the body of a woman as a inflated fraction of the body of a man. In Genesis, Eve is from the rid of Adam. The word “woman” is spelled purposely to include the word “man” to hold the politicized belief that women are inextricably linked, by flesh and by spelling, to the bodies and will of men.
We can imagine that this sat well with the religious, the married, and the traditional but may not have been accepted by the secular, the single female, and the modern. Indeed, second wave feminists found themselves in a predicament when arguing for the autonomy of those born female. They understood, if we are to re-imagine what is possible we must be like the children and reach beyond the social, the acceptable, and the political, and be intentional about the identity we want to make.
We, women, we want to be artist, writers, astronauts, engineers too in our childhood.
Can women be artist, astronauts, engineers, writers? Yes.
Can they do it with or without the approval of men? Yes.
Can they do it with bodies of their own, with no markings of the importance of men? Yes.
The spelling of the word “Woman” that was born of the need to create an alternative spelling for an alternative paradigm- women belong to themselves. Not the body of Adam, not a genesis story, not any story at all, but they are free to dream up the origins of themselves, their bodies. We deserve to write their own stories.
If the story they dream is the one in Genesis, to God be the glory and if the story they dream is one all their own we will still say Ashe, Ashe, and Ashe!
The 3rd alternative spelling.
Lets discuss the body. When we are in the womb, when we are floating in dark wet imagination, moving from theory to physicality, we go through a process. In this process, we develop what scientist cal chromosomes. Some of such chromosomes determine the sex to which we are born. Although there are many chromosomal combinations and situations that create healthy human beings, our species produces high numbers of two specific chromosomal combinations- XX and XY. When humans are born with chromosomes that align with XX, we habitually call them female and call XY, male. Because we name chromosomes with letters, X and Y. Scientist associate the X chromosomes with femaleness and the Y with maleness. Notice that both males and females are born with the X, but the male is specifically born with the differentiating chromosome Y. It would then follow that we all have femaleness, but few have maleness, chromosomal, creating what we call the sexes.
Many feminist didn’t like the fact that the single letter chosen to interrupt the word “man” within the word “woman” was a Y, the only letter in the alphabet associated with biological maleness.
And so some, went back to the drawing board, to re-imagine their identity once again.
WomYn was changed to WomXn but late second wave, early third wave feminist theorist and thinkers.
Even among feminist none of these spellings singularly encompasses the diversity of womankind as we know it today. The women who are of Adam and genesis are still women. The Womyn who are creating their own stories of origin and body are still Womyn. The Womxn who are battling with the sciences of chromosomes and born sex are still women.
There is not a singular way to be a woman.
The millions of women who find ways to declare themselves and value their difference everyday have taught us of the power of multiplicity, diversion, diversity, and culture. We will sacrifice not one of them. We will exclude none of them, beauty or pain, from our spellings, our paradigm, our histories, or our possibilities.
There is singular way to be a human.
We know this by the children who teach us different ways to imagine themselves. Watch them fluidly decide they will be a doctor one day and maybe a writer the next or maybe both. How glorious! When will be accept the ways they inspire us? Indeed, when will we refine the ways they inspire us? When will we begin to be intentional about who we want to become, right down to the very spelling?
That will be the moment where we start to grow up. The moment where we begin to decide who we are and what we will bring into our space. What we will allow, how we will love our bodies, maybe we can get so good at it that we can begin to decide what we will dream about when we lay our heads at night. #LucidDreaming
Anything is possible?