“I called to Naluna to run but she laughed and drew a dagger–she was a man’s woman, that girl!” – Robert E. Howard, The Voice of El-Lil
I have been one of those girls, a man’s woman, for as long as I can remember. I have always felt more comfortable around men. Always. Because I was never a ‘normal’ girl, through my childhood I always felt judged by the other girls. And I’ve stoically carried that through my adulthood.
Being a female in a male business right through the 90s didn’t change this attitude. Even though the men were hardly opening the doors and stepping aside to let me through, I worked with more than a few women who laid banana peels in my path all the way. Maybe it’s why I can jump so well in a high-heeled shoe.
Arriving in the dining room on my first day at Gwinganna, I caught myself scanning the room looking for interesting men to talk to. It is a Woman’s Health Retreat this time so as you can imagine I came up short.
Old habits die hard.
The truth is, I enjoy men immensely. It’s a different kind of small talk; it’s about themselves not others to start with. I’m more interested in the first hand story than the second hand story. Plus I can flirt with them. I love to flirt. Ask anyone.
In the last few years though, I have been working to reframe my reluctance to engage too deeply with the female sex and grow some girl friends – to force them, and myself, beyond the small talk.
In truth Gwinganna has nudged this along beautifully. This is the third programme I have been a part of here and I have met some extraordinarily high quality women around the communal dining table. They are women with things to say.
I think retreats of this nature attract people who are actively guiding their own life journeys. The way I see it, life is either happening to us, or we are happening to life. Gwinganna attracts the latter. Even if they’ve been washed on the shores with a broken heart, depleted adrenals, a challenge to their health or they just can’t find the light switch for the time being, they’re not going to take it lying down.
I’ve been inspired many times by the women I’ve met here. This time round is no exception. So I’m letting myself grow in a new direction. Again.
I’m a two gun lady now.