Somewhere recently, I read about sovereignty as it pertains to being a woman in the patriarchal world culture. The idea of establishing boundaries, maintaining them and then to be in charge of how people engage with said boundaries resonated with me. I thought only of nations as sovereign and was mildly intrigued by the concept of sovereignty, but after reading a dictionary definition I am really interested. Being sovereign is about autonomy more than anything else. Yes there are hints of royalty and excellence, but the autonomous aspect makes more sense to me on a personal level, especially in relation to the current conversation around sexual assault, #metoo, and consent.
I have talked before about how much I love to read the dictionary and I stand by that statement, in true nerd fashion I read the dictionary with no shame, and glean a lot of historical information from the definitions. The part of the definition of sovereignty that stood out to me was “supreme power esp. over a body politic” so then of course I looked up body politic. Politically organized persons identified as a collective unit. As a queer fat women I would argue that body politic extends to my body since my body is regulated and discussed in politics and publishing, courtrooms and on the senate floor, or even on tape behind the scenes of a talk show.
Declaring sovereignty in my own life, establishing my boundaries in regards to my expectations.
Therefore the idea of declaring sovereignty in my own life, establishing my boundaries in regards to my expectations rather than external expectations sounds pretty damn awesome. So what are my expectations? How do I want to interact with people? With myself? How do I want to show up? What space do I want to create? How do I consume media? Do I choose to eat in public? Or eat at home? Do I wear clothes for me or other people? Am I showing up in my body? Or in my head? If it was up to me would I have to have this conversation? Because in this patriarchal world culture I do have to have this conversation, and conversations about assault and violence against women and conversations about not getting paid my worth. But if I am talking sovereignty then don’t I get to say what conversations I want to participate in? Lets reframe the conversations! Let’s move away from talking about my body, but start talking about what liberates us from patriarchal values. How can we move in a direction that elevates, celebrates and supports women on financial levels, intellectual and educational levels. How can we change the paradigm? How do we build a new structure of power in which a creative collective is empowered rather than a fraction of a percentage of white men?
I have a boss lady friend who always says if you love femmes pay femmes. I recently hired another friend of mine for a strategy session to bang out some work I needed to do that I didn’t completely understand the mechanics of. So I paid a femme to work for me. I think we can reframe the conversations we have about women and our value and our worth, the importance of our consent by paying women to share their expertise. Investing in what feels good to not only me, I got some great actionable know how out of my time, but also supports and feels good in the community of women business owners I am a part of.
This can be applied in every aspect of our lives. In the media we consume, endorsing female political endeavors and candidates, buying female owned work and services. But also focusing on the parts of you that you want to see more of, endorse those people that see you, or if there is a vacuum, fill it! Take up some space, use your voice. In a big way but also in small ways, in your everyday life.
Bring the sovereignty back to your everyday life. Create space in your life for the way you want to show up. Recognize where you can create space within boundaries for yourself. Get really visual with it. Imagine fencing a huge field. The fence holds the space for that field, in this case a field you fill with time for your stamp collection, or tarot journey, or side hustle, or vegetable garden. Or maybe that fence holds space for healing that needs to happen. Perhaps you need another fence to hold space for therapy every week, or a writing practice. When you start to imagine the space you need to hold all of the parts that are important it feels powerful. Because all of that space is within you. You are infinite in the space you can create for yourself.
Okay, I get a bit esoteric now and then. I find there is something comforting, even reassuring that we have everything we need within us. That the infinite possibility of creating and maintaining our borders rather than being subject to others expectations of us is right in front of us. By just defining how and with whom we spend our energy. Often that tangible can be money. Or exchange of services, it can be friendship and mentorship. The everyday is connecting within ourselves and with others. Having conversations about our commonalities.
Sovereignty is also about what is outside of the borders.
Because sovereignty is also about what is outside of the borders. Any time we talk about a fence we are talking about staking a claim for ourselves. There is a defined sense of self implied and with in that self is connotation that the outside, the other is in someway harming. I often argue the harm of patriarchal world culture. I talk openly about the expectation and should placed on female bodies in our dominant western culture. The flood of sexual assault accusations, charges, and allegations is only the beginning of the curtain being pulled back to reveal an occurance so de riguer that it has been expected, tolerated and wrapped up neatly in non-disclosure agreements. Can we shift this conversation so it becomes normal? Can we teach consent in elementary school? This is how establishing our sovereignty starts to shift the paradigm. We begin to demand the conversation and focus shift to relevant, valuable topics, we change where we go for information.
So this has rambled on and on into a diatribe on being a feminist with a call to heal myself and other women by leading each other into our own power. Supporting each other as we stand in our power next to each other.