Monday, January 28, 2013

I am Woman

I am going to attack this subject gingerly and I pray that you won't find it to be offensive....if anything I pray that it will merely add food to your already generated thought.

If you are blog reader, you may have noticed the hype surrounded around the topic of Feminism.  These posts have got me all fired up and I have been chewing on many parts of this big idea.  Now lets leave out all the parts of feminism  that deal with underprivileged women and women that are suffering abuse and the like.  These are all of great concern to me, but feminism is a multifaceted subject and one that has more layers than a Walla Walla Sweet.  Lets stay focused.  I want to talk about us.  I want to talk about me.  I want to talk about our daughters and heck I even want to talk about the men in our life.  

I want to tackle the social angle of this.  I want to tackle how we behave.  How we are in our homes and I am fully taking this from a personal and selfish point of view.  As it pertains to women of my demographic.  Because this is my response to what I have been reading elsewhere and the blogs I read are usually from women in my demographic.  So there you be.  These are my disclaimers.  If you choose to judge me based on will get my typical response....Judge on judgers.  And if you want to dialogue through the comment section lets do it.  But lets be supportive of each other because I believe the most beautiful thing about being a woman is our backgrounds and how we come to be the beautiful, fierce, and lovely creatures that we are.  Each carefully knitted background is what helps us to create a carefully knitted point of view.  And points of view are meant to be changed and stretched and grown in all directions.  Evolution in our minds is important and essential to growth.

So rather than this being a viewpoint on feminism lets make it viewpoint of being a woman.  I want to talk about what it means to me to be a woman.

I think being a woman makes me stronger.  I do not want equality I want appreciation for what we were all created to be separately.     

Lets start with my carefully knitted background.  I grew up not liking women, not trusting women.  Aside form a few key figures.  The women I was meant to look towards for what it meant to grow up into a young lady or a woman of substance left something to be desired.  If thats what it meant to be a woman I didn't want to be one (don't take that comment any farther than suface level).  I always had a feeling there was more and so at a very young age I decided I was going to form my own definition and began searching.  I picked up little things here and there from all sorts of people male and female.  I formed opinions of what was good and what was bad.  I am sure if you look back and examine your life you can remember people or experiences in which your own opinion was formed.

As time passed I had no use for women figures as it was but that wouldn't last.  In fact in my early 20's I felt myself searching for what it meant in my situation then to be a woman.  Growing up through my teens I felt like I was constantly searching for a break in the form of my womanhood, I felt like I was missing something.  But once I became a wife and a mother I felt lost. I felt so lost that I also allowed myself to feel as if I was failing at the one thing that foundationally made me gender. Because what it meant to be a woman for me at that point was a jumbled mess of attributes rather than skills or actions.  I was a hot mess of things I wanted to be, I had places where I felt I fell short, things I thought I could never possibly be and areas that needed not only growth but maturity as well.  It was rather selfish really.  I could fill a book of "I" statements, such as, "I will be faithful."  Instead of statements that were filled with thoughts of me doing things in order to benefit my little family. And so i began to search for statements that mattered, areas that I could find that I felt good at or successful in that I could expand upon.  God had given me a big job and I really needed to figure out what that meant for them in reference to me.  One thing I was lacking in the beginning was influences and friends that were in my own position. When I had Elliot I had not a single friend with a baby, I felt so lonely in that time.  So I started searching out circumstance that would put me in line with meeting other women I could study and learn from.

Being a wife and mother are two of things that are key definers of my womanhood.  I realize that isn't true for everyone so remember this is my personal point of view. Also realize I got married at 19 and had my first baby at 21 and although I would never change it because in my mind it is exactly as it is supposed to be.  Becoming a woman pretty much coincided directly with me becoming a wife and mother so at this point in my life it is hard to separate one from the other.

Many things i have read lately on the subject of woman hood has been wrapped around the idea of equality.  Equality in between the sexes from my standpoint is not one that I am sure is even possible in our day to day lives as it pertains to the world.  I believe men and women were created completely differently and that was purposeful.  Although I could make myself to be able to do the same things as many men I am not sure that is really what God intended.  I like to focus more on the fact that we are all individuals created by someone who did not make duplicates of mistakes.  In this I am not sure if it possible for equality to completely exist.  I hate that we make this a gender thing all the time.

My viewpoint of being a wife and a mother is not one of equality and I am fine with that.  Being a wife and mother requires a servants heart and attitude. It can't be self serving.  Being a wife to me means giving 100% of what God has made me to be.  And sometimes that is 100% different from what God has made Beej to be.  This means equality doesn't always exist but a cooperative existence does where we use fractions of each other to create 1 whole part.  I believe God created me to be soft and loving but firm and strong all at the same time.  He created Beej to be loving and firm and strong and loving. Yep they may seem to be the same thing but believe me you they are completely different.  So we can't be equals because it takes a finite recipe to make what needs to be made for each situation in our home.

Being a Woman in Reference to Motherhood
As a mother I believe it is my job to cook and clean and care for my children and all at the same time nurture and support my husband.  In fact the bible lays this out pretty clearly in many areas, in my humble opinion.  Does this mean that I can't have some for me? Nope!  Does it mean that I shouldn't have help from my counterpart at times? Nope.  It just means in my mind that God created me with those jobs in mind and so it is easy for me to draw from my attributes in order to make these things work.  Beej does not have what that takes to do my  job.  But that doesn't make me less or him more or visa versa.  It justs means I am using my God given bents to best serve my family.  I believe God created each of my children with me in mind as their mother and that is humbling, terrifying, lovely and wonderful all at the same time.  It is not something I take lightly as I don't believe anyone should as I said before I consider these children to be the single greatest "work" of my life.  And I am not sure how I could have these feelings and not do it myself with God with me all the way.

Being a Woman in Reference to my Daughter
Mothering my daughter holds a special list of convictions to me but I think the most important is that she sees me accomplishing things that are personal to me.  That she sees me succeed and the she sees me work for things.  That she sees me in a confident light that isn't afraid to fail. A light that surrounds me with a feeling of confidence in what I have been given.  Confidence that comes form my little family....the simple existence of it....Confidence in my relationship with her father and confidence that I am a woman!  I want her to know that I love me for more than what my body looks like but for what God created it to do.  That I love myself enough to want more but also to be content with what I have.  She also needs to see me sad sometimes.... disappointment is an important tool that we all fail to use far to often.  I want to teach her that above all else she is a daughter of God and in that she always has something even if it feel different.

Being a Woman in Reference to my Son
Mothering a son for me is interesting.  If you have a son than you know that the love form son to daughter is different.  For Elliot I pray that I can show him how it feels to be loved and cared for but at the same time I want him to be able to care for himself.  I want him to know how to do household things so that he can not only take care of himself but if he so chooses he can make a wonderful helpmate someday.  I want him to feel accepted and successful while he lives in our home so that he can go out into the world a confident man.  I want him to know that without God leading him he is lost.  But with God he always has a candle in the dark.  

Being a Woman in Reference to my Husband
As a wife I have a lot of strong feelings.  many of which may shock you....may offend you...may tick you off. I want to add a quick disclaimer.....the reason I believe these things to be okay and healthy is because I am in a healthy relationship.  These convictions come from me alone not from my spouse. Also again this is what works for me...and may not be what works for you so feel free to think I am ridiculous.  But here goes and remember I am not asking you to think the same as me, I am simply offering another viewpoint.  I believe in my relationship it is my job to support my husband in all things, it is part of my  job to make him feel confident in all he does.  This doesn't mean stroking his ego rather it means helping him to succeed in what he feels he needs to do in supporting this family, in leading this family....because that is the job God gave him to do and so my job is to support Him in those things.  By creating a supportive and organized home environment my husband knows that home is good and his earthly work can be his focus while he is gone during the day (I forgot to tell you some of my viewpoints may seem 1950's some of you won't be surprised).  And while I am sure some of you already want to scream womens lib and freedom to flow I am going to push forward.  I believe it is my job to carry my self emotionally and physically in a way that my husband finds attractive and beneficial to his own well being(I write this and have a very worried look upon my face).  I believe it is my job to carry myself emotionally and spiritually in away that is beneficial to him as well, when I am right with God I am right with the world and I can support him best this way.  This doesn't mean I can't have a bad day or an emotional freak out-believe me I do this and I don't feel bad about it.  But the prior statement is what I strive for.  I believe its my job to provide him with a kiss when he walks in the door and a warm meal to bring us all back together and to thank him for working so hard for us.  This doesn't mean we don't eat grilled cheese every now and again because we do, I even ask him to pick up pizza occasionally...but the kiss never changes;) this relationship is not one of equality but one of understanding, one of forgiveness and one that requires work and effort and understanding our roles within it is always something that brings me peace not resentment.

This marriage thing is something that is only good when we are both giving and taking.  Sometimes one is taking more than the other causing the other one to put their own needs aside.  Right now we are doing that for Beej but we have done that for me time and time again.  I feel no need for stroking or thanks in this journey we are currently in.  However I have many women that have told me, "well I just don't think I could do that."  And I think could do what?  Support your husbands hopes and dreams....Do what is best for your God's leading?  I assure you most of these women could they just haven't looked at it from my perspective and maybe haven't been put in my position.  But I believe my job is to answer all of those questions with complete affirmation and so I have.  It doesn't make me a super-hero or a super-woman it makes me obedient!  I don't need overflowing praise. I don't need condescending statements.  All I hope is that someone else will someday be able to see our story and find the strength to move forward.

On being pretty. I have read at least three post/articles on the word pretty.  It gets me all steamed up.  Since when is it a bad thing to feel attractive.  I think we have taken the word pretty and made it into something scarlet.  I said it and I meant it!  I think that we all know what we look like when we feel like we look our best, when we look matter how the world perceives us.  In my opinion pretty is as pretty is not always a look but an action.  Its a culmination of atributes and actions that makes a woman pretty.  And I think that is for each of us to decide for ourselves not for the world to tell  us.  So be pretty and feel good about long as we are not vain it comes form a pure place.  Wearing something pretty or fixing myself up is part of what make me feel like a woman.  So there I said it.

In my opinion being a woman is no easy calling.  Its hard and treacherous.   But the best way to fight for the things we find to be important is through action not words.  

What triggered all this you ask?  I read someone else's account of their life and what they had experienced and I didn't like the tone they took in response.  Their response was that simply being a mother and a wife is demeaning in some way.  I didn't like that some look down on me or others in my position because in their opinion we took the weaker position.  That maybe we were afraid of stepping out on our own.  That we are not claiming all this world has to offer.   What a diservice we are doing to our families when we think this way.   

Being a mother and a wife is what God created me for and I feel humbled with the challenge.  I am honored with the titles I hold.  It is not demeaning to me that I challenge myself everyday to make my life an act of service to my family.  And it ticks me off when people say otherwise, because its a hit to mothers everywhere.

That the fact that being a woman for me is largely wrapped up in my relationship to three people on this earth and my Father in heaven is a gift ladies!

And lastly I want to say it is possible to have these responsibilities and callings and search for more as well.  If you are a mother and feel like you are missing out...dare I say that is no fault but your own?  We are part of a society that makes it possible for us to have it all.  As a woman you can be a farmer/wife/mother/homeschooler/skydiver/online entrepreneur and no one can get in your way but you.  So next time you want to complain about how men have more opportunities than women or that there is inequality between the sexes, or that how could you possibly reach your hopes and dreams if you are home with your kids all day, I want to know what you plan to do about it.  Because if its just moaning about the differences....that becomes offensive and old and blah blah flippin blah.  Get off your bum and go do what it is that will make you happy.  You may find you need to be content with  who you are and what you have first though.

And now you have read it.  I must have rewritten, copy and pasted and edited this 15 times.  Writing this made me laugh, made me cry, made me grimace, made me afraid of judgement and made me proud.  I hope that it will empower you not make you feel bad.

I love women and I love being one and it took me about 30 years to say so!

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