Exploring and Celebrating Femininity With Q. Gibson
I am a sensitive woman. I feel my feelings intensely. I cry, a lot. This part of me, this tendency toward strong emotion, has been something that I have fought against. At times I have tried to deny it entirely. I know I’m not alone in this, and I see that struggle reflected in my close relationships, in the media, in everyday discourse. Sensitivity, vulnerability, and softness: sadly, these aspects of people are regularly devalued and undermined. Unsurprisingly, they are also traits that are closely associated with femininity, often positioned against masculine associations of toughness, aggression, and ultimately, strength.
Q. Gibson’s debut collection of writing, The Flowering Woman, asks the reader to think of strength not in physical terms, but as embodied in the challenges of hurting, growing, and ultimately thriving. Gibson explores what it means to embrace femininity, and triumphantly celebrates the construct every step of the way. She firmly counters devaluation of emotional experience by reframing feelings as gifts rather than curses. Her poems advocate for personal growth through radical self-care and self-love. Like a mother’s embrace, her poetry embodies the strength of tenderness.
While Gibson takes time to explore how intimacy, boundaries, and forgiveness can all be learned and practiced in the contexts of both familial and romantic relationships, the relationship she places the most importance on is the one you have with yourself. Her poems are for anyone who has ever been made to feel weak because of their tears or ashamed for wanting more fullness and joy in their life. It is clear what her message is for those who have fear that they will never heal from their pain: you will.
The collection is short, clocking in at around a quick 100 pages. Among my favorites was “The One in Question,” in which she writes of women as a whole as a creative force to be reckoned with. I also particularly enjoyed “Definite,” about the transformative effects of undue sacrifice in a relationship. Be sure to check out “Years,” which addresses her process of accessing and laying out her wisdom through her poetry.
Often, it can feel like a revolutionary act to acknowledge and tend to your emotional needs without judgment. Knowing this, Q. Gibson’s poetry is a transcendent, nurturing, and powerful reminder to accept, honor, and express your feelings, to embrace the strength inherent in that, and to never be ashamed of your femininity.
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