Women, their interests, and fluffy stuff have never been my cup of tea. Then I was told at the hairdresser’s last week that I am such a girly girl. Whatever could she mean? She chuckled something about my clothes, nails, and hair and how I enjoy them. That I do. After 17 years of being pregnant and/or nursing, either baby-fat or just looking it with my incessant baby slings, I’m ready to be more than a spit rag. I no longer dress like the poster child for durability and functionality. All that time as “one of the boys” and then “Mama” has left me wanting to be a woman. If I can pull it off, “Lady” sounds better still.
I noticed something right after “In the beginning…” Woman is made of the same stuff as man and can take over his position if necessary. Since living in the sticks, I’ve realized I am tougher than I thought. Storms can pound and crap may fly, but I will still be here tomorrow to take some more. The women who inspire me have an unusually quiet strength, never breathing a word about what they endure. Trials are unbecoming to a lady. As tempting as it may be to whine and complain, I must bear up under pressure gracefully, never besting her man. I met a beautiful gal once who was a serious mechanic. You’d never know it over dinner, though, with her lovely, dark red nail polish to cover the grease under her fingernails. This is probably what sets a woman apart. Men don’t cover their grime.
God pulled Eve out of man to be different. While she’s capable of anything, she should not do it all, and what she does, she does differently. She is the soft, merciful side of the equation; she is Grace to man’s Law. It is hers to bear the next generation and sustain this one, keeping home and hearth warm. A “womanly touch” softens and beautifies. He provides security and incites fear in any who threaten their nest. There is nothing to fear in woman but the withdrawal of her acceptance. Most men will do anything to prevent that.
Yet, so many men show affection for their ladies similarly to how they’d show affection for their brothers. I remember watching a guy flipping his keys around his finger, slapping his new bride’s thigh with each turn. Chink, chink, chink. Stupid, little things hurt a woman deeply. She (and other women around her) will read many intentions into that one thoughtless action. It’s not the pain; women will control their minds and breathe through the ultimate workout of childbirth. I have never met a man who honestly thinks it would be no big deal to bear a child. Childbirth is only the initiation.
A man’s work is done when the battle is won and the goal achieved. He bandages his wounds like trophies and wears them proudly, turning to new pursuits and obstacles to conquer. The woman now moves into the daily grind, covering over her scars and stretch marks as shameful and unladylike. Her work of feeding the family and making sure the laundry is folded and put away is not hard work – it is merely tedious. And far beneath her abilities, she is reminded too often. Chink, chink, chink. Childhood stories have left visions in her head of singing while she scrubs her floors, laughing with the children when they come in from their mudpies, and overlooking bootprints her gallant warrior tracks across the tile. Nothing she does is special and couldn’t be done better by a maid, and she tends to forget that it is her very presence which makes the magic of “home”. She sees so many areas where she hasn’t met the standard, and they pain her.
Her deepest desire is to be taken care of – cherished, as my mom would say. She needs to be so dear to her man’s heart that she is restored to rib-hood. She must know beyond any doubt that she is essential to the survival of the family, appreciated and protected and held tightly when the nights are cold. She can become stronger than steel if necessary, but prefers to be soft.
She is powerful and vulnerable all at once. Fascinating. That’s what makes her so alluring.
She’s faced the hardest times
you could imagine
and many times her eyes fought back the tears
and when her youthful world
was about to fall in
each time her slender shoulders
bore the weight of all her fears
and a sorrow no one hears
still rings in midnight silence,
in her ears
Let her cry, for she’s a lady
let her dream, for she’s a child
let the rain fall down upon her
She’s a free and gentle flower,
– “Wildflower”, by New Birth