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I Don't Know Who She Is

I Don't Know Who She Is

Who is Jennifer Bianca Siemens?
Or was that Penner? Or maybe she’s a Thiessen, a Fehr, or a Banman? 
Maybe her last name doesn’t define her. Maybe her heritage isn’t who she is or who she has to be, but simply where she comes from. 

Who is she?
A woman. 

Is her body the only thing that matters, like the world seems to claim? Her body, created to pleasure others. Her body, created to grow tiny humans. Her body, meant to be skinnier, more toned, youthful, thick in the right places. Her voice, meant to be quieter than men. Her passion, meant to be hidden. Her emotions, best kept private. Her body belonging to everyone but herself.

Is she destined to use the body parts that make her “not a man” to create children? What if she doesn’t? Does this make her less of a woman? Less strong? Less valuable to humanity? Does it make her selfish?

Maybe she can belong to herself. Maybe she doesn’t have to be a mother. Maybe she can live passionately and feel publicly and share all the love she has.

Who is she?
A Christian.

Does this mean she serves at a church? Is a prayer warrior? Takes the Bible literally and considers it inerrant? Must she live in certainty about what she believes? What should she even believe? Can she have questions, concerns, and doubts? Should she believe this faith group she belongs to is an exclusive club - where some are in and some are out? Can she hope for more? 

Maybe she can simply believe that God created and loves, that Jesus came to light the way out of our own darkness. Maybe she can question and doubt everything else and maybe that is okay. Maybe she can think of Father God as Mother God too. Maybe she can love and accept and affirm and support everyone. Maybe she can believe that all have a place in God’s kindom.

Who is she?
A Christian woman.

Is the sexual purity of men her responsibility? Is it her fault they went home and masturbated because they saw her in a bikini? Is it her fault they looked at her breasts with lust because they noticed her bra strap sticking out of her tank top? Is it her fault he thought about touching the rest of her body because she dared to hold his hand? Maybe that sounds ridiculous, but they are real examples of what she was taught. Is she meant to only be attracted to men? Is she supposed to keep silent about her “struggle” with masturbation because “only boys do that”? Is she meant to be completely un-sexual before marriage, and then suddenly become an extremely sexual being the moment she says “I do”? 

Maybe men’s eyes and minds aren’t her responsibility. Maybe they need to learn more about beauty and less about sex. Maybe she can possess her own body and love it exactly as it is. 

Who is she?
A wife.

Does her identity belong to her husband? Does she lose her individual identity? Forever Mrs. John Doe and no longer Jane. Is she defined by her ability to keep her house clean and her husband well fed? By her ability to submit and serve and respect her husband? By her ability to stand behind him and support his successes from backstage? 

Maybe she can still be an individual, with her own plans and dreams. Maybe she can have other talents that aren’t cooking and cleaning and baking. Maybe she can shine too, as they support one another. Maybe she can lead and he can follow. Or maybe they can just do it all together, neither “wearing the pants”. Maybe she’s not the “supportive” wife standing behind her “successful” husband. Maybe she can be successful, too.

Who is she?

Does she live in her prejudices, making judgements about people based on the colour of their skin? Is she part of the problem? Is she the oppressor? The silencer?

Maybe she is. Probably she is. But maybe, hopefully, she can learn, educate herself, fight the assumptions this white world has passed down to her, and acknowledge her privilege. Maybe she can become an advocate, an ally, a friend, and maybe she can teach her fellow white people why this is important work.

Who is she?
Twenty three.

Does this make her too young to be wise? Too old to be “young”? Is she just another crazy millennial? Are her actions and opinions written off because of her youth? Will anyone take her seriously? Does she even deserve to be taken seriously? 

Maybe she’s been stuck in between old and young. She’s always felt that way. Trapped in a young body with an older mind. Stuck in two different words and able to connect with neither fully. Maybe she’s lost in the middle. Lonely, in the middle.

Who is she?
An entrepreneur.

Can she be taken seriously? Can she stop being patronized and asked “Oh, are you making sales and keeping busy, sweetheart?” Can her passions be supported by others? Can her hard work be acknowledged? 

Maybe she’s got a good thing going. Maybe she knows what she’s doing and maybe she’s not crazy. And maybe her dreams soar higher than her achievements, who cares?

Who is she?

She probably doesn’t struggle with her image. She probably can’t relate. Then why does she worry about what other’s will think of her? Why does she silence herself? Why is she concerned with others’ reactions to her? Why does she leave parties feeling lost and unconnected? Why does she sit here feeling unsure of everything she appears to be?

Maybe she can be confident in some ways and still fumble with her identity. Maybe her confidence isn’t as all-encompassing as it seems. Maybe her confidence creates a wall between her and the world. Maybe her true confidence is that she believes in herself, but she fails to be confident as she worries about what other’s will think of her.

Who is she?
Well, she appears put together.

She doesn’t have problems, does she? She doesn’t need help, does she? She doesn’t need friends, does she? She couldn’t possibly relate to my struggles, could she? We better leave her alone because she doesn’t need us. Looks like she’s got enough friends. Let’s not ask how she’s doing, because she’s clearly doing great. Let’s not mentor that girl, she’s got it all figured out.

Maybe she’s not put together. Maybe she’s falling apart. Maybe she does need you. Maybe she needs someone to dig beneath her outer layer that seeks approval. Maybe she doesn’t know how to ask for help because no one’s proven that they’ll be there for her.

Who is she?

She’s a different person depending on the crowd surrounding her. She’s bubbly and superficial here. She’s deep and thoughtful there. She acts like her life is perfect here, and manufactures “vulnerability” there. Can she ever be real? Who is her true self? Can she peel back the layers and tell the truth?

Maybe she doesn’t know. Maybe they’re all real, maybe none of them are real. Maybe she’s lost and figuring it out. Let her figure it out. Give her grace to find herself. 

Who is she?

Can she have a feeling other than just being happy? Could she cry, or get mad, or have anxiety for once? Could she get stressed or be filled with worry? Could she mourn? Could she show that she’s actually human? That she has pain?

Maybe she lost that side of her. Maybe she thinks positivity is the only thing that seems to keep people on her side. That being stable, never rattling any feathers, is the only thing that assures other’s will love her. That not acknowledging stress or anxiety will help her get the job done. Maybe she doesn’t know her own feelings. And maybe she’s scared of finding them.

How do we find ourselves under the expectations of the world, our community, our family? How do we find ourselves under our fears? How do we find ourselves beneath the labels we’ve been handed?

There’s no resolution here. No finding the answer. No absolute truth to find. Just a hundred questions to sort through. A thousand layers to dig beneath. A million expectations to leave behind. There is no perfection here, mostly just a mess. 

All we can do is keep digging deeper, seeking out True Self beneath it all.

Conscious Clothing

Conscious Clothing

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