Feeling Free at the Women’s Gathering by Hawina

I like to say that there is nowhere I feel as free to be me as at our Women’s Gathering.

Part of what inspires this is my memory of the last summer before my boobs came in: I was going topless at any possible opportunity. I mourned the huge loss of freedom coming my way, knowing as a pre-teen it was going to be the last time ever in my life I would be able to walk around without a shirt on. I was so mad. And sad. And determined to do it all the time while I still could.

The Twin Oaks Women’s Gathering has given that going topless freedom back to me. Again, I find myself walking around shirtless as much as I can, but this time it’s with joy and not with sadness. My favorite part is when I start feeling cold at day’s end and suddenly remember “O, right, I’m not wearing a top”

For me the true freedom does not lie in being able to go topless, even though that is very powerfully important to me. The deeper truer freedom lies in being able to forget about it.

Why come to the gathering?

Last year I had an epiphany about the women’s gathering. I was sitting up at the conference site with the volunteers who had come to help with site prep the week prior to the gathering. One woman shared how frightened she had been camping by herself in the woods. That is, she was frightened until one of our members came up with her baby and no flash light. This was the moment that the volunteer realized how safe the space was. Another volunteer chimed in and spoke about how she doesn’t leave her apartment after dark because she lives in a big, dangerous city.

I was struck by the realization that, for some of our attendees, the days of our gathering are the only two days that they experience a sense of safety. We live in a world where people of color, gender queer folks and women experience disproportionate acts of violence. The women’s gathering allows us to reconnect with ourselves, with each other and the land so that we may go back into the world with a renewed sense of empowerment and a renewed commitment to create the world we want to be living in.

We hope you join us this summer in our continued efforts to nurture our mutual empowerment as women!

– Sapphyre