The Sovereign Romantic: She Who Leads Strong & Loves Soft

A few weeks ago, I travelled with a sister throughout Oregon and California. We spent much of the time frolicking atop mountains, singing ‘Colours of the Wind’ and splashing upon streams, singing ‘Part of Your World’. We were in this summertime, floral flowof bright colours, fresh scents, blossoming hearts, and sparkly eyes. Aligned with Mother Earth’s summer flowering… we were gracefully embodying the archetype of the maiden.

The maiden is She who mirrors that transition into spring time. She smells like daisies and dances like a blue morpho butterfly carried by the breeze. She reflects the age and stage of our lives in which we journey through puberty, sprouting from girlhood to womanhood- experiencing such initiation rites as menarche (first blood) and virginity sharing (*let’s stop calling it a loss). The maiden is bright and hopeful. She is the beginning of the day when infinite possibilities glimmer with the sunrise. She is hope that does not know any other way. She is innocence, purity, and joyfulness. She is enchantment and the awe with which your inner-child gazed up at Disney princesses. She is wonder without the need to select or define belief. AND she is ROMANCE…

An Enchanted Life… With Romantic Resentment

That subtitle is how I would define the baseline of most of my life. I’ve always been wildly enchanted by all things Of and Beyond this world. My maiden has rarely refrained from showing up and shining. AND YET in the past, when it came to relationships shared romantically (especially with male-identified folks), a part of me felt a sort of rebellious resistance. This was because I did not know how OR rather, I did not know it was POSSIBLE to unify my Maiden Sparkle and my Sovereign Queen/Empowered Feminist/Strong Woman. 

I had role models on the far left, such as: Cinderella, the little mermaid, fairies, butterflies, birds, and all other things that shimmer and fly

And then I had role models on the far right like: Fierce feminists smashing the patriarchy, ancestors leaving abusive husbands, single mothers, and a whole host of powerful woman that I deemed leaders.

Identifying the Dissonance: Shame in Romance 

There are many reasons why this dissonance was created. One was my familial upbringing, in which I witnessed a parental relationship that brought disempowerment and contraction, rather than expansion and joy. This planted the seed of understanding within my psyche, which said that LOVE = giving power away, putting dreams on hold, sacrificing joy, and making compromises that do not honour our heart’s values or soul’s purpose. 

 Once this belief-seed was planted in my mind, I found affirmation of this ‘false truth’ EVERYWHERE in our culture. I saw it in the media, in movies that romanticize self-sacrifice and magazines that encourage us to ‘look for our other half’. I saw it in my role model celebrities who labelled love with statements like, ‘I would be nothing without you’ and chose their dream man over their dream jobs/creations. 

I concluded: IF I am in love with another, then that feeling must be coming from this distorted paradigm of conditioning, in which I believe I am incomplete/waiting on another.

I placed a sort of pressure on myself to choose. Am I going to be team Strong-Independent-Woman or am I going to be Enchanted-Romantic-Lover? For most of my life, I chose the former. And because of this perceived dissonance, I would experience intense or subtle shame when I felt intimately interested in a man. I would see romantic interest as disempowering and ‘crushes’ as embarrassing. I would fear opening my heart and ‘falling’ in love, assuming that such relationships would mean losing myself or abandoning my path. 

Finding the Balance: Interdependence

Most powerful social movements experience the effect of a sort of pendulum swing. Perhaps there was a time when it DID serve for women to shift from completely co-dependent to overtly independent. Perhaps, in a sort of Goddess Kali fashion, of extreme destruction and severance to that which has been… the entire distorted foundation of Romance that our culture built had to crumble.

This may have resulted in the pendulum swinging way over to the other side- causing us to jump from 50’s housewife to the ‘strong, Independent, I don’t need no man’ archetype.

So now beloved beings… this is our time to transcend the duality and to centre ourselves in a place of balance. Let us remember that the goal of women’s empowerment is not to eliminate the masculine or to flip the hierarchy on its head. Let us remember village mentality and the gift of leaning upon others. Yes, it is beautiful that we can do it all by ourselves and much empowerment can be sourced from that knowing… AND let’s be kind to ourselves. We came here to be human, to dance the dance of Interdependence, to let our inner children be raised, uplifted and loved by a tribe.

Let us shed shame around having earth allies that propel our hearts and serve our missions. Let us not see the people around us as ‘distractions’ from our Dharma, but rather as reflections for our growth. Let us collectively carry the emotional loads that life hands us, embracing the power of togetherness.  It takes immense strength to be held and helped. It takes an unwavering commitment to HEART to break chains of stubbornness and pride in excessive independence.  

Transcend Binary Choices & Let the Heart Guide

This is not to say that We Should All be in conventional, monogamous, heterosexual relationship. Far from it. This is to say that we should simply reflect on WHERE our CHOICES our coming from.

What is the bow that is driving our heart-arrows forward? 

For instance, IF you are not in romantic relationship with another(s) because you are endlessly fulfilled by your self-love and do not hold the desire for such partnership, then that is a beautiful bow to respectfully keep. In contrast, IF you are not in partnership(s) because you want to prove to yourself, your family, your culture… that you can do it all on your own and that you ‘don’t need anybody else’, then that is a distorted bow to question and perhaps, release. 

My Commitment to Being the Bridge

Healing ourselves and the world, does not mean continuing paradigms of SEPARATENESS. For instance, the goal of something like the #MeToo Movement is not to further propel division, blame, fault, or distance. Perhaps, this division is the response that may come in the beginning (like the Kali-style pendulum swing aforementioned), but it should absolutely not be our end game. Our end game should be one of togetherness, unification, and compassion with greater understanding. We should be able to come back together in closeness and heart, in a way that may LOOK the same as conventional relationship… but will FEEL 1000% different. There is room in this world for diversity, for so many expressions of love. But we must commit to letting the heart, rather than our fear or rebellion, lead. We can choose to embody PROTEST and fight AGAINST what has been OR we can choose to EMBODY what we WISH the world to be. We can live and love our dreams into reality. 

 I devote my heart to BEING THIS BRIDGE. I allow my romantic Disney princess to shine bright and loud and, simultaneously, I know myself as empowered queen. In fact, I celebrate myself for the great leadership and courage it takes to embody such vulnerable integration. I look to the new role models that the media is offering, those rare characters that reflect the bridge I am speaking of. With gratitude, I bow to their revolutionary romance. I cry tears of joyful inspiration as I sit in theatres watching the 2019 version of Aladdin… witnessing this princess who equal parts values her SOUL PURPOSE and her ROMANTIC RELATING. Further, she understands that these two things propel, rather than fight one another. I dance happily knowing that THESE are the role models children are being raised with. I breathe into my seat of sovereignty, knowing that I AM one of these role models of revolutionary love.  

May our romance be strong

May our sovereignty be soft

With gratitude and infinite heart,

Marlee Liss


Marlee LissComment