Assertiveness is not a problem for the wyld womyn.
However it appears to be a problem for many women, and perhaps this could be attributed to the damaged bridges over what Clarissa Estes calles the Rio Abajo Rio, the river beneath the river of the world.
Our connections to our deepest selves are not all intact, thanks to generations of browbeating women into the lady moulds of patriarchal society. Thankfully bridges can be re-built and rivers can be swum.
To repair bridges, one must look first at the damage to determine how it happened.
For my broken bridge to assertiveness, I remember my mother’s acquiescence to authority in the form of nervousness, doubt, and avoidance of eye contact during interpreting for me with an Emergency room doctor. I was being assertive, stating what I wanted and did not want. The doctor ignored me and I had to forcibly remove his hand from my pregnant belly. He flounced off in a manner becoming of a white-skinned, aggressive young god. When I got sick of waiting for him to return for round two, I decided to leave. My mother was only too glad to get out of there. I walked, but she sneaked, looking around nervously, fearful of being caught.
It does not matter how we logically view a situation, our parents’ fear is powerful and can condition us. Take for instance, the blood test I witnessed my father get. I had blood tests many times before, and I wasn’t scared, and it didn’t hurt enough for me to be concerned. However, when my normally stoic father grimaced and winced as he got his blood drawn, I felt fear and concern. My turn came and I tensed up and experienced the worst blood test ever.
My broken bridge comes from fear of authority, and their response, a fear which my wyld womyn does not share, but nonetheless I am impacted by it.
To swim rivers, one needs to simply be able to swim. Dive right in, come up gasping at the heart-squeezing chill, and just forge ahead until you are there at your goal, the welcoming banks of the other side.
I have done this many times. It is quicker and preferable to the slow process of re-building bridges and painfully repairing old damage first – especially if you need the power of assertiveness from wyld womyn quickly. It consists of following the logical steps of being assertive, and forging ahead with assertive behaviour even though you are gripped by the chill of its emotional impact on your lady mould.
Also famously known in women’s circles as the ‘fake it til you make it’ strategy. Wise words indeed!