Defining womanhood under patriarchy

If someone asked me to define myself, this is how I would answer: I’m 21-years-old, I’m a nice Gemini and I’m a college student just trying to make it to the end of the semester.

This is how I’ve been defining myself lately: I’m a woman who just got diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Office on Women’s Health says that PCOS is caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones and affects one in ten women of “childbearing” age, which begins at twelve.

Let’s be real for a second and recognize the difficulty in seeing yourself as anything but your diagnosis when you first get diagnosed with something. When I look at myself in the mirror, sometimes all I see are my symptoms: The depression and anxiety, the acne, the inability to conceive a child.

I started thinking about internships recently but panicked at the idea of being in a work environment with my red-flaring hormonal acne. Am I really going to learn how to do my own makeup because I’m embarrassed of how I look?

I saw pictures of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas at their wedding ceremonies and almost bawled, picturing myself as a bride at my own wedding. I don’t even want to get married.

I convince myself it’s the hormones. It’s definitely the hormones, right?

The patriarchy is funny that way, in the sense that you have to really look at yourself and how you define yourself in a world that gives you a list of said definitions. Why does my womanhood fall under the patriarchy despite my best efforts for it not to?

Why does my womanhood fall under the patriarchy despite my best efforts for it not to?”

I was thirteen when I knew I never wanted to have children of my own and a little older than that when I decided I never want to get married. Why do I feel like I’ve been robbed of my future because I can’t have children, then?

Is that really all that I am? Am I just a future wife and mother?

The truth is that I don’t know. I thought I knew who I was, but now I don’t even know how to define my womanhood anymore.

Part of me is disappointed that I’m going through this crisis of second-guessing myself as a woman. I had always prided myself on how strongly I identify as a woman.

I am a woman and part of my worries come from a place of sexism. However, my womanhood is mine regardless of and I will continue to tell myself this until society starts telling me this, too.