Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Monday, July 21, 2014

To be feminine.

Out this past weekend (hallelujah!) with my only squeeze after spending the week cooped up with sick children, I walked from the restroom in the back of the restaurant to the front door where my saucy enchilada awaited me so we could leave following our decadent meal sans the 12 and under population that inhabit Deutschland.

The frosting on my cake laughed as we strolled outside. "That guy in the restaurant turned a full 180 to check you out," the butter-er of my bread said. "He did not!" I replied, honestly oblivious.

"Oh, yes he did," urged my Suga daddy.

"Well, how old was he?"

"I don't know, older."

"Oh." (Uttered the vain, crestfallen woman that is me.) "Then it doesn't count."

Fast forward to the next day when the whole brood downed orange Dayquil and headed out to cash in coupons for free barbeque food (Thank you, Pikes Peak Library District!).

Different place, same scene.

The woman has to empty the pea sized bladder before leaving the dining establishment.

The man waits up front for her.

[Insert] The crumb snatchers run amuck outside waiting for the man and the woman.

Man, turning his back to the restaurant and his face toward the woman: "How old do you think the guy behind me is?"

Woman: "Um, I dunno. Maybe 30 or so."

Man: "He was totally diggin' your treats as you walked by."

Man: "He's younger than you. It counts. Boom!"

Woman: {Blushes with a wave of delight.} Yeah! Maybe I still got a little bit of it after all. Which, at the ripe old age of nearly 40 means something!

Which is, as it turns out, such a sad, terrible shame.

Because I, as a woman, have to continually fight the urge to buy the lie propagated by society that my physical appearance is the equivalent of the measure of my worth.

I must resist temptation to feel that when I can no longer turn the head of a man, I have lost a piece of myself that held any significant value.

My self is not confined to my aging body bound by eventual deterioration with the stroke of the clock.

I am so much more than that. I am my mind, my heart, my intellect, my will and my compassion and my determination and my drive and my fiery passion and my connections with other human beings. I am the love I give and the nurture I share and the joy I express and the justice I crave and the ever evolving thoughts I rouse.

My body, my wonderful, dutiful, flawed gift of a vessel, is only a servant - ushering the more imperative parts of me through this world.

As I think about my own life I consider the advice I so often bestow on my girls. Pursue an education. Even if you yearn to be a stay at home mom and raise your babies all the day long, take advantage of your ample opportunity for educational advancement, so that you are able to earn a living, if need be.

Funny thing, I don't even have to mention it to my boys. They seem to inherently know they must forge a path toward economic independence and provision for themselves.

Then, I remember the Bikini Express drive through coffee shop perched on the Colorado Prairie in the middle of the winter housing young women in blizzardy weather wearing tiny swimsuits to serve warm beverages to men with wives and daughters at home.

And I think about the way I've been told in conservative Christendom that it's my responsibility not to provoke lust in a man, but to dress with regard to my brothers in Christ, as to not prove myself a stumbling block, which includes wearing yoga pants. Even if I plan to do yoga...

And I recall all those countless movies I watch with my children. How 50, 60, 70, 80% of them pair a man 15-20 years a woman's senior as her spouse or love interest, and no one bats an eye. Nor do they ever call him a cougar. It is accepted as natural.

The double standards run deep, they run rampant. They are pervasive and entrenched and difficult to weed through.

And I think, as far as we've come, we still do need feminism. Lord help us. We just do.

Proudly displaying the crinkles! And look at that cute boy!! 

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