With anything that’s alive and constantly evolving in the moment, it’s time to honor the need for this particular “belly” to expand by making make room for other kinds of stories I’d like to tell as well.
I love writing about women’s bodies and sharing my experiences of reclaiming my womanhood from the patriarchy—and there will be more stories about the feminine to come. But focusing just on the reclamation part of my voyage has started to feel like putting on a favorite pair of jeans that have become a little tight.
Growth is always a good sign, especially when there is the need to stretch old boundaries, including the self-imposed kind. Still, this is the type of unfurling that makes me feel scared and excited and vulnerable at the same time.
The deep-seated fear that comes up for me is: Am I enough? As in, in this case, if I change and start to deviate from what people have gotten used to expecting from me here, will I—just me—be enough for you, my blogging community, to keep coming back for more? There’s only one way to find out.
The other day, my friend Maria Badiei, who is both an artist and healer, gifted me with a painting she’d made several years ago. We call this artwork of hers “The Goddess of Enough.”
The female figure in the center looks very much like what I once imagined how a deity with that name might look. At the time, I desperately needed the reminder that no matter what happens or doesn’t happen in life, I, Diahann Reyes, am enough— as opposed to my lifelong, polar opposite worries of either being “too much” or “not enough.” Both tend to stop me dead in my tracks.
I thought the Goddess of Enough only lived in my imagination until I saw Maria’s work and realized that she has seen her, too. The painting now hangs in my living room. To me, this image shows a woman birthing all sorts of possibilities in her life because she knows her own enoughness.
I am enough. I am enough. I am enough. These three words, which I say over and over to myself, have become my mantra.
So stay tuned for changes on this blog, which may happen sporadically or in waves—not unlike contractions—as Stories from the Belly slowly morphs into its next becoming.
For years, I was terrified to show the world any of my own writing. I found ways to avoid professional work that would require a byline with my name attached to it. I was stymied by a number of fears: What if my writing isn’t good enough or what if it’s “too much?” Worse yet what if what I say offends, turns off, or upsets anyone, possibly everyone—rendering me undateable, unhireable, or, even, unfit to be part of society?
Stories from the Belly has been up and running for eight months. This post marks my 17th one. While the blog is fairly new, for me working as a blogger is not. I’ve been ghost blogging for eight years and written thousands of posts—only you would never know that any of them were written by me.
I’d even started other personal blogs in the past—four, to be exact (one of them I’d forgotten ever existed until I stumbled upon the URL in my bookmark folder the other day). I never made any of these sites available to the public.
Author Virginia Woolf wrote in A Room of One’s Own, “I would venture to guess that Anonymous, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.” For a long time, I might as well have been this “Anonymous.”
For years I didn’t give much thought to my womb. I knew it was the place in my body where babies grow, but since I wasn’t sure I even wanted kids, any information about the womb was on a “need to know later” basis.
It didn’t help that I grew up in a culture that instilled in me the fear that my life would be ruined if I ever got pregnant at the wrong time or with the wrong guy. The word “illegitimate” is still considered a huge stigma in the Philippines and there is no divorce.
I didn’t realize that by distancing myself from my body’s ability to conceive, I was disconnecting from my innate creatrix nature. Because of this I struggled to carry even “creative” babies to term—books I wanted to write, scripts I wanted to perform, plans for new business. I felt unable (and afraid) to “birth” them into the world.