We all have our own story, our own journey, and how we experience it will depend, above all, on our perception of ourselves within our surrounding environment, amongst our friends and family, and of ourselves in the world. Even today, I wonder if I am humble enough to accept the feminine within me. The demands, the pursuit of what is right, of the ideal, of myself as I am, the nature of being feminine, our nature, our vulnerability, our bodies and sensations.
A significant moment in my life occurred when bright red acne covered my cheeks, leaving me feeling really insecure and not wanting to even see my reflection in the mirror. I realised I was rejecting something within me, I didn’t want to look at myself, to confront myself. It took years of ups and downs to uncover the ‘secrets’ of my body. And I know that it’s part of my journey to continue. But now I can already see in my skin the barometer of my relationship with my body. I’m Marta Gomes from the north of Portugal, I have just turned 37 years old, graduated in physiotherapy 15 years ago, and since that significant moment in my life, a journey of seeking answers to the various questions that a woman’s body raises throughout her life began.
It may seem strange to refer to the body and not the mind as the generator of questions, but the body is our home, the physical dimension, and it is the one that will reproduce, and display all the dysfunctions that occur within. This is how I began to specialise in the relationship with the body and its impact on overall well-being. I define my approach as organic, bold, and authentic, based on my belief that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial to leading a fulfilling life. At the age of 28, my intense quest to resolve my late-onset acne led me to build stronger foundations in my relationship with my body.
The study of what we eat impacts our gut, our hormones, and consequently our skin, our energy, mood, relaxation, inner-wellness, and our ability to give and receive became essential in my lifestyle turning point. Starting with exploring new flavours, and new foods, and taking care of myself by preparing special meals, while regularly noting my body’s sensations in response to this change, allowed me to reconnect with my body. Returning to the experience of movement through motor control, mobility, free flow, and a focus on deep breathing, extended slow exhalation, costal breathing in connection with the core, seeking to be present in my body, feeling it, controlling its activation and relaxation with awareness, awakened the self-potential within me. I became more aware of the menstrual and hormonal cycle, how the body changes throughout the seasons, and how it adapts to the environment in which we live.
I became conscious of the issues to address in each phase of life, meaning how the relationship with my own body evolves, sometimes appearing to regress in order to progress again. I discovered that the connection with our own body, recognising it as our home, and the constant effort to be comfortable in it is described as a feminine energy or our feminine side. Our brain is divided into two hemispheres. The right hemisphere is responsible for creativity, intuition, expression, imagination, emotions, in other words, feminine characteristics. The left hemisphere is associated with logic, rationale, analytical thinking, control, or masculine characteristics. I can say that my masculine side always wanted to dominate. I considered the feminine as vulnerable and something I couldn’t allow. But this constant suppression often led me to judge myself instead of taking care of myself, treating myself well, and showing love to myself. It made me disconnect from my womanly skin and believe that success was always easier to attain for men.
As Coco Chanel said, ‘Trying to be a man is a waste of a woman.’ And now, after spending my twenties and thirties trying to be like a man to build the supposed success of having everything from my thirties to my forties, I realise how good it was to stop that competition, especially with myself, connect with my body, work on my feminine energy, embrace sensuality, and the sensations in my body. I discovered a new way to navigate this journey called life. The practice of conscious breathing, controlled and free movement, leisure and rest times, music, and showing love to myself through cooking or seeking touch therapy and hugging – these are what give an organic, genuine, bold lifestyle to my home. Surrounding myself with feminine energy was also essential. Learning to ask for help, to receive, to rest, and to know when to let go of the state of vigilance, of constantly being responsible and in control of everything, allowed me, to a good extent, to be surprised by the paths that life can lead us down. Embracing the unknown in each journey, in each new work location outside of my natural habitat, such as the Seychelles, São Tomé and Príncipe, Oman, and even in Europe, Switzerland, the countryside and the south of Portugal, has always brought a message to my femininity, to my journey as a woman. I no longer want to reject or abandon myself on this journey. How about you?