I got my first piece of hate mail this week. It was directed at my Warrior School webpage. The individual reprimanded me for posting “sexually inappropriate” photos of myself and teaching women advocates to get attention in this way. They said that women who seek attention by being sexually inappropriate are a “disgrace.” I’m not sure if it was a man or a woman that wrote this message to me- it was signed by two different fake names. Honestly I don’t think it really matters. My instinct tells me it might as well have been signed “Love, The Patriarchy.”
This message seemed to come out of nowhere and land in my lap just a few days after we celebrated the graduation of my first ever Warrior School class and these 14 amazing, open-hearted, wise, embodied and unleashed women leaders. Embodied Warriors. As I write that, I feel a pang of sadness and grief in my heart. Grief for the cultural system we have had in place that shames women for being fully expressed, in touch with their sensuality, and larger than life. Because I truly believe a woman that is fully balanced—in her heart, mind, body and spirit—is unstoppable in this world.
But how do the rest of us respond when we witness a woman fully expressed, grounded in her authentic empowerment, filled with self-love that spills over onto everyone she interacts with, and in touch with her sensuality? What do we think in our heads or whisper to our friends or yell at her in the schoolyard or maybe even write in a hateful internet comment when we witness such expression of goddess-like power?
Glennon Doyle refers to a fully-expressed woman owning her power in her book Untamed as like a cheetah. “She’s a g*d-damned cheetah,” she says. She also speaks to the phenomenon that has been baked into us by the patriarchy (with another entire layer baked in by white supremacy), where even other women want to hate on her and knock her down when they see her. It’s threatening and it comes from a misbelief of scarcity—that women have to compete with each other for a man (in the patriarchal sense), for stability, for safety, for happiness. A misbelief that women are powerless and therefore have to use their sexuality to manipulate in order to get their needs met.
I have been on a journey of owning my own power for 40 years now, with the ups and downs of self-hatred, insecurities, and a strong desire to HIDE. Being truly seen has felt not only vulnerable but dangerous to me in the past. Really over the last three years or so, I finally have allowed myself to take up more space, to be truly seen, to allow myself to be “too much.” To let go of the misbeliefs I had held that a good woman is quiet, subservient, and small (in all the ways).
Last summer for my 40th birthday, I gifted myself a photo shoot with the amazing Meghan Branlund of Rise Photo Co. She provides women with a sacred experience of coaching and photography, to help them navigate transition in their life and celebrate their authentic beauty. I got to pick a theme for my shoot and it was “Playful Warrior”: think Authentic Empowerment, Courage, and Humor wrapped into one. I knew as I was about to launch Warrior School that I had to walk my talk. I needed to finally love my body, not after I lose the extra 15 pounds, but as she is right now, curves and all.
I got to pick out sensual clothing that I would pose in- stilettos and lace and hats and jewelry. We had so much fun. We laughed our asses off as random people would walk by on the dusty, Southern California trail that we were shooting on- me standing in my underwear like, “Hey how’s it going?”
We then ended the shoot at a beautiful, shaded, creek surrounded by trees and greenery and for the first time in my life I was nude in a public place, allowing myself to be photographed. I feel vulnerable even typing this, but equally aware of how important it is to share. I felt safe, joyful, and giddy.
When I looked at the camera, I felt my Inner Warrior coming through, not to be messed with. She is beautiful, sexy, loving, playful, and fiercely protective of those she loves. She has a sacred and important purpose in this lifetime and she shoves her stake into the ground, anchoring that purpose.
I chose to share some of the photos from that shoot on my Warrior School page and marketing because to me they represent how far I’ve come in my own journey of self-empowerment and what I long for all humans.
So here I am today, sharing my first direct feedback from the Patriarchy. Who do I think I am, sharing empowered photos of myself on my own website meant to inspire other women to own their power? Who am I to teach women to honor and fully express their sensuality, their receptivity, the wisdom in their beautiful bodies and most importantly their boundaries? I am Tina Meyers, the Warrior Woman here to call forth aliveness in humanity. That is my mission and I will not waiver.
I am sending love and healing light to all of those parts in myself and all of you that have been conditioned to hate on a woman that is fully expressed, and more importantly, to all the self-judgments that have come up when we allow ourselves to be fully expressed. My longing for all of us is that we give ourselves permission to embrace the full spectrum of our Divine Feminine and Masculine, our empowerment, and our gorgeous expression. May we all be fully seen for the authentic, sensual, divine beings that we are.
With love and open-hearted naughtiness,
p.s. of course I find myself writing this on the Full Moon in Leo—a moon that is calling us to fully celebrate ourselves and how far we’ve come. Not from a place of ego seeking to fill voids with the attention of others but from a place of grounded self-love and honoring our journeys. Thank you mama moon for moving us like the tides. xoxoxo
Tina Meyers is an Intuitive Coach and Feminine Leadership Facilitator and the founder of Women Advocates Rising and WARRIOR SCHOOL. She is a former attorney, and a seeker of creativity, courage, aliveness, and transformation in her own life and the lives of others.