Healing The Woman
Hilda de la Rosa
“What!? What are you looking at?” I yelled at the top of my voice in the middle of a busy street.
“I’m looking at a mad woman, yelling in the street,” the man responded.
I had lost it – completely! I am normally quite impatient – but this? There I was, in the middle of the road, yelling like a banshee. I had jumped out of my car, slammed the door shut and was yelling furiously at a colleague who was blissfully unaware of the intense rage that she had unleashed in me, simply by turning left instead of right. I sheepishly got back into my car and drove off. Those were the days before cell phones. Remember those?
I met up with my colleague later that morning and embarrassed myself even more - this time in front of a client! Eventually, exasperated, she asked me if I was all right. “All right? All right – are you mad? I’m furious!” The whole day turned to mud and there was no saving it. In my rage I had lost at least thirty IQ points and it was completely hopeless to even try to reason with me. I climbed into my car and drove home sobbing. I knew something was wrong.
Whispers from the womb
I made an appointment with my doctor. When I got to see her, I simply fell apart and told her that I thought I was going completely mad. I related the story to her – and she laughed! I was devastated. This was not the appropriate time for her to bring out her wicked sense of humour! I was thirty five, but I reminded her that I had had a hysterectomy at age 26.
Ever since menstruation started, I had had difficulties with irregular and very painful periods. My parents decided to put me on the pill to regulate menstruation. Some years later, I became pregnant (whilst on the pill) and had an uncomplicated pregnancy but an extremely difficult and long delivery. After Clinton was born, I fell pregnant several times but lost the baby every time.
By age 26, I could barely stand the pain. I had, by now, developed extreme endometriosis, and my periods could arrive as often as every two weeks or not for two months and when it did arrive – it arrived with a vengeance! It could stay for ten days or in some instances, two weeks. I was constantly taking pain medication. When I approached my own gynaecologist, he refused to do anything about it – least of all a hysterectomy for a woman of my age! I just had to live with the pain.
Eventually I found a doctor who understood and a partial hysterectomy (my ovaries were left intact), was performed. I have never regretted this decision. I know that it was radical, but the relief from pain was like a gift from the gods. Painful sex was also a thing of the past! What a bonus.
Mood swings from hell
My doctor suggested that we perform complete hormone level checks. She took what felt like a litre of blood from me. Several days later my doctor phoned. She asked, “Have you murdered anyone in the last few months?” I replied that I hadn’t, but certainly had wanted to - on several occasions. She said that my ovaries had stopped functioning, which, she said, was quite normal for someone who had had a hysterectomy so young. She said that my oestrogen levels were so low that had I killed anyone – I may have been acquitted due to medical reasons! She prescribed Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)! Dreaded words for most women!
After a week or two on the medication I could feel a significant difference. My sense of humour returned and I no longer felt like killing people. Weeks, months and years went by, and life went on. I was happy in my corporate job, doing what I really liked. At this stage, I was smoking about 30 a day and lived mostly on coffee. I am, what is known as, an A-type personality - fiery, quick to temper, high energy, etc.
Quest for the meaning of life
I have always questioned belief systems and challenged authority. But my quest for the meaning of life started in earnest in my thirties. In 1996, my son Clinton had a very serious motor car accident. He was in a coma due to a brain injury, for eight days. His accident and subsequent recovery, acted as a catalyst for me to change my life radically.
After his recovery, I opened a centre for spiritual learning in Cape Town. Still living on cigarettes and coffee, but was thriving! I loved this new way of life. I loved what I was learning and in teaching what I was learning – learning even more!
I soon realised that I would have to give up my old lifestyle. That lifestyle, and personality was what was required in my life up to that point. I realised that I no longer needed that persona. She could be retired. What I had done while I was a career woman in the corporate industry, was imitate the males. Even my body reflected this. No feminine shape, no soft curves! My clothes too – double breasted, power business suits
She was tough, skinny, businesslike, unemotional, masculine, and subconsciously, a man-hater. I was the first one to degrade men and relate gender jokes to my friends. Deep down, I resented being a woman. I disliked that they cried, that they were emotional – which I thought meant that they were ineffective and weak. I hated the fact that I was not strong enough to pick up the heavy things. I hated being a woman so much that and this hatred of the feminine contributed towards making my “feminine bits” ill.
At age thirty, I had a bilateral mastectomy. At the onset of menstruation, my breasts were extremely tender and sore – all the time. At fifteen, I had the first lump removed from my breast. By age 29 I had had about nine surgical procedures to remove lumps from my breasts. My doctor informed me that the cell structure in my breasts was changing and that he was very concerned. He recommended a mastectomy. There was no immediate danger but there were definite signs that we were moving toward the danger zone. This was performed before my thirtieth birthday.
I hated the fact that women were treated like second-class citizens. But, I treated them like second-class citizens as well! When I made phone calls to companies, I noticed that I automatically assumed that a man would be more senior than a woman, I began to watch myself. This came as a complete shock to me. I realised that I had a major role to play in the world’s perception of women. And I wanted to change that!
Awakening the true feminine beauty
Whilst working at the centre, I decided that it was time to embrace the feminine. To find out what made them so strong and resourceful. I went to see a herbalist and asked her to give me a herbal remedy for my low oestrogen levels. I decided to forgo normal allopathic Hormone Replacement Therapy in favour of a more holistic alternative. I gave up smoking – the second hardest thing I have ever done (the hardest being raising a child).
I worked for more than a year on just being a female and celebrating all that it entailed. In meditation, in day dreams, in fully aware, awake states. I was constantly reminding my self about being a woman and what that meant! I started wearing dresses, bright and flowery ones. I revelled in my emotions and began to understand them. I loved the new feelings that were emanating from me. I allowed my self to ask for help when moving heavy furniture, and stopped berating myself when I could not open the top of the mayonnaise bottle. I acknowledged the feminine in me for the first time in my life – it was very powerful and liberating.
Even my body responded to this new me. I developed curves! Most of the curves were probably because I stopped smoking and ate a more balanced diet, but I didn’t care what the cause was! Men started looking at me differently. Strangers were coming up to me telling me that I was beautiful and sexy. This had never happened before and if anyone had dared, I would have annihilated him or her! I loved it!
All woman all the time
The best was yet to come! A belly-dancing teacher started teaching at my centre. I immediately joined the class. I had seen other belly dancers at a fair I had attended and I couldn’t believe what these women did with their bodies. It was sensual and beautiful and completely entrancing. This is the ultimate in femininity! What a celebration.
Our class was fabulous and our teacher even better. The whole experience was of divine feminine grace. For the very first time in my life, I became completely happy about being a woman. Soft, feminine, gentle, emotional, sensual, sexy, funny, strong, resourceful, tenacious, aggressive – all of it is the woman in me!
Back to the doctor
I recently went for another run of tests. Just to be sure of the hormone levels. I have not taken any HRT for more than seven years. My hormone levels were fine! The ovaries were functioning perfectly and everything was in balance. I can’t really tell how this happened. I simply know that on some level my body reacted to my mind. In both instances! We truly are what we think. We truly are powerful beings!
Now I am at peace with the feminine in me. The tough, masculine, business-woman is still there, she just has softer edges. I have integrated both aspects of my personality, since both are required for balance. I no longer tell gender jokes, simply because I like men now. And I really do not want to contribute to the subjugation of any individual, whether male or female.
Perhaps it is time to evaluate how much damage we really do to our bodies, not by what we eat, drink or smoke, but what we think and believe!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Hilda de la Rosa is the founder and Managing Editor of Namasté Magazine in South Africa. She is a public speaker and workshop facilitator, teaching people to become more of who they truly are. Her own life and experiences have been her teacher and as she continues to teach others, so she learns more about herself, life, love and God. She can be contacted on email@example.com