I hate this phrase. I frequently hear this phrase. I question my sanity as to why I still listen to this phrase? My heart convulses when it’s reiterated to me. Who has decided that we have to know our worth? I demand to know who makes these bullshit rules up anyhow. Why do I hate it and listen to it simultaneously? Is this phrase something that I believe in? Is it something that I need to know? Do I need to know my worth? Would I ask another woman to “know her worth?” There’s something inside of me that tells me “I don’t think so.” I love these overthinking exercises where I check in with my own core values to see if something feels valid or not and then I subsequently have an internal argument forum about it. I am learning to trust those visceral body reactions, and this one makes me feel anxious. Well that doesn’t tell me much of freaking anything. I am an anxiety train wreck more often than not. It stirs something in me certainly though. Something moves in me that is solar plexus-ish but I can’t place my finger on it directly. There’s clawing in my rib cage. An elusive beast that makes me want to straighten my spine. Chewing on it and musing around with it today I start that internal dialogue. Deciding that this blog isn’t a channeled blog, it’s not divinely inspired, it’s simple and it will be silly, my words begin sounding like bad text messaging. The type of writing academics loathe. The kind of blog people either love or hate just like the topic for today: “Know Your Worth.” I usually try to hold myself to perfection standards. Letting loose and simply typing as it comes well, I like that little form of rebellion. I’m feeling slightly witty, cheeky and perhaps even a little wild today, do these qualities increase my worth?
I am thirty-seven years old. I am a completely disembodied-lost-wandering soul who has no idea who she wants to be when she grows up. Some days I am firm and solid on my new path in search of that somebody that I want to be. It’s hard to start completely over in terms of life work and purpose, and at the moment I am completely mid-shift. I am like an incomplete painting. Incomplete paintings don’t have a current market-value do they? Well, I am not really an incomplete painting. I am more of an incomplete human. Ouch. That statement stung. Why in the world did that just stumble out? What would make me feel like I am incomplete? That’s a wound. I’ll be making a note of that statement for later dissecting. I am not incomplete. I simply don’t always know who my true self is. She was buried long ago. Archeologically I am digging her up, with gentle brushes to dust off her bones, and some ritualistic healing glue to piece her together. When you’ve constructed an inconceivable amount of weight from layers of societal masks sometimes you just have to completely deconstruct in order to rebuild. To pay homage to the dark goddesses of deliberate dismemberment and allow yourself to be buried in the earth for resurrection. Twinkles of joy fly through me for what this unknown self’s future could bring. Dare I say completeness? Or happiness? Or contentedness with work? How, in the actual forks and spoons am I supposed to know my worth if I don’t even know myself? Isn’t that like a pre-requisite to placing a value upon something? It first has to be a tangibly measurable item? Am I a tangible item? I do according to sense perception measurements have tangibility to be observed. I have a height, a physical form, a weight. Oh, wonderous sparks of genius flying through the sky, the more I weigh, the more my weight is in gold! Is that why the Venus of Willendorf had so many curves and the ancients worshiped big women? Because they were actually worth their weight in gold? I will know my worth after all and it will make the scale my friend instead of my constant enemy. Hmmmm… yes, excellent problem solving for the body dysmorphia of my youth that haunts me still. A new outlook on weight, “mwahahaha” I cackle. Suddenly all of the extra pockets of self I carry are worth more! Take that bitches! Your cruel old nickname “TANK ASS TARA” has now backfired on you oh’ frienemies of youth and now my bubbly butt has become pound for pound, heavy in worth! Boom, boom, pow.
I giggle at my ridiculous immature inner-teenager self-reasoning. I am reminded of the lip smackers ritual that a cackle-member-witch-friend held once and a smile arises on my lips. My understanding of chakra development and psyche stuff tells me that if indeed this worth-value locator spell that I am weaving is a solar plexus thing then most likely it was indeed my teenage self who first assigned this worth. That’s a terrifying thought because my teenager was a hot mess express. Did your teenage self also self-medicate to mask the symptoms of pain that she felt? I’ve heard it well put in memes that my teenage-self “lay dying in a field somewhere from vodka.” Binge drinking, America’s little white girl wasted problem. Sigh. If “know your worth,” doesn’t mean calculate pound for pound your physical weight in gold then what does it mean? Assuming my tangibility isn’t literal as in weight or form then it must be figurative right? Figurative, as in it has figures. The first image that comes to mind is my dwindling bank account. Oh no, ugh, more anxiety. Remember, I am mid-career shift and out right refusing to work my corporate six figure job. From an early age staunch money management has been hung over my head by one parent and compulsive mismanagement by the other parent and I cringe. I quickly decide that this topic is yet another familial wound and deserves more introspection. Somewhere inside of me I know positively that my bank account doesn’t define my worth. It’s a nice bonus of what could be when I do fully discover it, but it’s definitely not the defining figure. Is it then quality based?
I have tons of qualities that society loves in my wheel house, and many more hidden that they don’t love. So, is it society’s version of qualities that we have that define our worth? I know you’re probably saying “stop being a dumb ass you know perfectly well that ‘know your worth’ means know your own individual version of worth!” Or is that just my own mean inner voice shouting at me? Do I really know that? Am I basing my worth off of core values and core qualities that I possess and that I have personally assigned value? Or am I basing my worth off of things that society told me that I must have because they value it and therefore those societal qualities reflect worth? I am getting closer. I can feel it. It’s that word though! WORTH. Merriam-Webster.com defines it as monetary value (we’ve already skipped that), wealth or riches (vague), or the value of something measured by its qualities or by the esteem in which it is held (a-ha!). This whole worth thing is probably meant to be a value of qualities-oriented thing. So, who is it that is the holder of this esteem? It can only be me. I am an inner feminist-anarchist. One of my less desirable formerly closeted qualities that society doesn’t value, but I DO. I will never allow myself to be judged by or prized like a pig at auction by the patriarchy’s definition of worth. Certainly, then within my own core values lies the answer. It is not society’s value that can be placed upon my qualities for my inner Pippi Longstocking will not allow it. Further on rails my inner feminist, I WILL NOT BE TOLD that I have to assign myself a value. You can not cage me. Hisssssss. The beast that had been clawing at my ribs finally breaks free from my sun center. Yessssss there it is. One of my archetypes, and my fetch tears through. Hissssssss. I am Lilith and I will not follow your rules society! I know my own worth, but you will never know it because it is never the same twice. I have no need to assign it a value. To give it a name. Some days it’s full of riches and wealth and somedays it is as barren as an empty tomb. My worth is animate. It is not measurable. It’s not my thick ass on a scale. It’s not my bank account. It is animalistic and she moves within cycles and circles and you can never truly know her. Does that terrify you? Good. Don’t ever try to tell me that I have to define her worth. My worth is a priceless feral wolf. Yummm, one my most valuable features is her bite and she’s a mean one that wolf-witch-bitch. It’s time to go and let her howl at the moon. Don’t worry I’ve decided never to ask you that question either. You’re priceless too.
Writtten by Tara Nordstrom