For a long time, I have considered myself ‘not enough of a woman’. I think it subconsciously started when I was a little girl, and I loved running around, getting dirty and climbing trees. My dolls were not that interesting, although I did like to cut their hair.

I didn’t show specific boyish trades, nor did I want to be a boy. I just couldn’t identify that much with the super girly stuff either. That hasn’t been so much of a problem, yet I do remember myself feeling isolated sometimes, when I couldn’t fully delve myself into girly get togethers.

In puberty, there came a blessing in disguise; I kind of became a lesbian. Or, more accurately, I fell madly in love with a beautiful girl. And it was mutual, lucky me! I loved our time together, and it organically unfolded just as Love. But the power of culture kicked in, when we looked at each other after our first kiss and wondered: are we now lesbians?

We truly didn’t know, because we couldn’t identify with the classic labels of How To Be a Lesbian. I didn’t have short hair, I didn’t feel masculine, yet I was definitely in love with this girl.

In the years passing by, while having several love relationships and flirts with (only) women, I started to define myself as a ‘true Lesbian’. Determined by the fact that I never fell in love with a man, nor was I physically attracted by them – simple as that. Though by dancing around in the gay scene, I’ve been asked several times if I was sure to be a lesbian, ‘because I didn’t look like one’. Not masculine enough, probably.

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Fast forward in time, to my age of 30, when I unexpectedly dìd fall in love with a man. I felt a mixture of regret and relief. Regret for no longer being able to inspire and/or trigger others by being ‘other than the norm’, and by letting go of an identity. And the relief of opening the spectrum of Love even further, and by feeling a sense of coming home to myself more deeply.

I’ve had amazing experiences with men, women and non-binary’s after this opening of the field, and although I have no idea what label I would give myself now, it doesn’t matter that much either. I can be attracted to all, I intuitively sense that my life partner will be a man, and that’s pretty much it.

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Yet, in the field of gender identity, something still kept on feeling a bit off.

Not in the sense of feeling home in a woman’s body; although I have had my challenges in fully embracing my body in general, I feel that the identity as a woman fits me perfectly. So no personal doubt on that.

But, as written above, there has often times been this feeling of ‘not being woman enough’. As I became aware of this feeling, it was interesting to explore what my ideas were about femininity and the cultural norm I was measuring myself with/against.

By moving out of the lesbian identity, in which I was mostly considered (too) feminine, to a more bisexual/straight identity, I noticed that old insecurities about my femininity came back. The beauty of same sex relationships, is that you can play around with gender – because no one is expected to be like ‘the man’ or ‘the woman’. And now, in relating with men, suddenly I was on default more of ‘the woman’.

Parallel to my shift in sexual orientation, I started to dive into the world of Sisterhood and Women’s groups. Which has been, and still is, such a beautiful and valuable part of my life. Yet, I came across many images and ideas about ‘how to be truly feminine’.

For example, by looking at all kinds of Women’s retreats on sunny islands, I noticed often time a negative self-image. I judged myself for not looking that gorgeous with long hair and sexy dresses, and not being able to flow freely like a wild river. And I noticed that, as a defense, I sometimes started judging ‘those women’ as not being real, grounded or centered enough.

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Over time, the energetics of gender became clear to me. In every person, there is a natural balance between masculine and feminine energy. A resting point, where you feel most at home. For everyone, that balance is different – and it doesn’t necessarily correspond with your identity as a man, woman or other form of gender.

You could state this energy balance as a percentage, where 100% is the sum of your masculine and feminine energy together. For example, I discovered that my own natural balance lies around 60% feminine and 40% masculine energy. This is not scientifically measurable (as far as I know), yet intuitively, that is my home base.

My inner critic, who judged me for not being feminine enough, wanted me to move to another balance. She declared that I should have at least 80% of feminine energy flowing through me, otherwise I wouldn’t be feminine enough. When I let that voice speak, I felt my heart shrinking. It felt like a painful push towards something that just doesn’t feel natural to me.

The beautiful thing is: for a dear friend of mine, this 80-20 balance actually does feel the most natural and comfortable. The idea that she should ‘man up’ and force herself into more masculine energy, makes her heart shrink. And mine as well – because I absolutely love her abundance of feminine flow.

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To me, it felt like a relief when I embraced myself for my own beautiful balance. Because I deeply enjoy both my feminine flow as my masculine presence. In every interaction, situation and relationship, I get to explore both sides.

I love creating constellations in which my inner man and inner woman meet each other, and express their needs and celebrations. They became a pretty good team, during these years.

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I would love us to live in a world, where everyone is free to sink into their own natural energetic balance. Where we wouldn’t stress gender so much as a particular way to be or act, and where we receive and appreciate each other just as we are.

So let’s start by embracing ourselves, and lovingly explore our inner world. Our natural balance, our inner man and woman, our relationship to others from that place.

And if you want to explore together with me: I’d love to hear you