On FemSex, Empowerment, & Myself

I took a class this semester called FemSex in which you discuss various topics surrounding but not limited to female identity in a group of 15 or so people. I signed up in hopes of “finding myself”, hoping that at the end I would feel empowered, and that maybe in one of these twice a week, two hour classes, something would finally click and I would finally have my life together.

Well the semester has come to a close and I’ll admit my life is still a sham, but I am undoubtedly more empowered.

Even though I haven’t spent time with my fellow classmates individually, I can honestly say that I genuinely care for them. I will be silently cheering them on, hoping that in a couple years down the road, I’ll be able to ask them how they’re doing, and they’ll be able to say that they’ve never been better. And I know that they’ll be doing the same for me. I found empowerment in having this silent yet unwavering support system, and knowing that I am not alone in my experiences.

But at the same time I’m jaded. There are so many unaddressed social issues and stereotypes to which the communities I’m a part of have fallen prey, and it’s overwhelming. FemSex has given me the knowledge, and thus the power to challenge that, but it’s hard having the minority opinion: I’ve become that angry girl who gets unnecessarily offended. Sure, I have developed the courage to speak out when I know something is wrong, but is there a point if I just feel alienated, and the problem persists? I can only be thankful that there are people who understand me, and I have to remember that social problems cannot be fixed in a day.

I guess I feel more empowered because I know more. I know more about social issues, about what matters to me, about what type of person I am, and I’m also more okay with being that type of person.

In one class, we talked about our boundaries and how we handle people who cross them. My approach was to just let them. It’s inevitable that it leads to hurt, but I would rather I feel it than they. For the longest time I thought that meant I was a weak masochist, but I’m not. It just means that my love for them overpowers the occasional pain they cause me, and I have finally acknowledged the beauty of having the capacity for such strong emotions.

However, that’s not to say I embrace all pain. FemSex has taught me that the power to make me feel shitty, to make me feel worthless, inferior, undeserving, is mine. I’ve let people hold on to it for much too long, and I’m finally reclaiming it.

I used to detest myself and especially my feelings, but I’m learning that I don’t need to justify my emotions to anyone. Empowerment is recognizing that I’m entitled to feel whatever the hell I want, that my feelings were, are, and forever will be real, but acknowledging that they don’t define me.

When I ask myself who I am doing what I do for, I admit that the answer isn’t always me, but I’m working on it. I’ve realized: empowerment is a process. I couldn’t expect to come out of this semester feeling like a fucking unicorn, but I have faith that I’ll get asymptotically closer.

Until then, I will continue to feel like my life is out of control and make irrational, spontaneous decisions, and that’s okay. That’s just me, and I think I’m pretty good at doing that.

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