Really? Being open is true femininity? I hadn’t considered that before; writing a response to this blog assignment was a struggle for me.
When I think about the stereotypically feminine lady, I imagine that she has plenty of recipes, hairstyling tips, child-rearing hints, and gardening nuggets to offer — all things that I’m pretty much clueless about. I must remind myself that the truly feminine woman is the super-heroine from Proverbs 31. She is refreshingly transparent, but has nothing, I imagine, like the openness that I can bring to the table. When I fall back into such old patterns as fear and anxiety, I worry that I am being too open, or that telling my secrets will allow them to haunt me. To be open is to confess silly things that I would rather forget about. One example is that I still have difficulty calling myself “a woman”. Am I the only one who struggles with that? I mean, I know that I am a woman. I just don’t feel like an ultra-feminine woman.
How did you learn about femininity? Was it from your mother or grandmother? Did you emulate an elegant movie star? Did you copy an older sister? Did you rebel against femininity altogether and become a tomboy? Did you respond to the sexualized counterfeit version of femininity that boys sought from you, as I did?
It’s such a complex portion of our psyches. My memories involving my own perception of my femininity are scarce. I remember wanting to try out for the cheerleading team when I was in middle school. My dad wouldn’t let me. He said, “Would you rather be known as a butt or a brain?” It was a rhetorical question, but I know which one I would’ve chosen… I wanted to be the cute cheerleader, not the nerd that I ended up becoming (albeit one that, in retrospect, didn’t look too bad in those 90’s jeans, as awful as they fit). I used to wear long sleeves and long pants, even in the summer, because I hated my body.
My mom wasn’t open with me. I knew that she had been a cheerleader. I knew that she and my dad had lived together before they were married. I knew that my dad had been in a Rock & Roll band before he had gotten “born again”. But the lessons about femininity never came. My sister was the one who told me that I should start wearing a bra. I didn’t tell my mom when I started menstruating. I didn’t tell anyone when, years later, I started having sex. My broken femininity was veiled in secrecy.
Honesty is the best policy. Being open about my past and current struggles is the best that I can do now. It’s passing on the wisdom I know to other girls, much as an older sister or mother would. If we aren’t open with each other, we all end up stumbling around, with many of us making the same mistakes, independently. Because so many of us have the same struggles, being open about our issues allows others to help us, and us to help others.
I hope and pray that the blogs I submit here will help other women. I’m still learning about what true femininity means. Openness forces me to admit that I’m really amazing at a lot of things and even though I’m more DIY-homeowner than homemaker at this stage in my life, my femininity will be irresistible when God says so. In the meantime, I’m growing out my hair in faith for my wedding and trying to learn how to be a godlier woman. I will try to incorporate this idea of openness into my femininity even more.
Ironically, Craig has a new book coming out entitled Open. If you would like to purchase the book click here. If you’d like to read more about the book click here and if you’d like to check out a trailer for the book click here. Yes, lots of ways to get in on being more “open”. Here’s hoping that you’ll take advantage of at least one or two!