Okay, I’m not going to start this post by explaining why it has been ages since I’ve posted a single word on my blog, or a single photo for that matter. Well, I just did, but let me jump into the title of this post. I have realized something about myself as of late that many girls/women may relate to. I am not yet a woman. Sure I’m twenty-four and have graduated from college and gone through some significant ups and downs that have shaped me into who I am today, but in no way do I feel like a woman who has come into my own. I immediately refer to myself as a girl out loud and to myself and almost laugh at the idea of ever considering myself one. Why is this the case? What is it that makes a woman feel like a woman? Recently, I had coffee with a friend who has just gone through a major life transformation since attending a weekend retreat an awesome church. Her whole countenance has completely changed in a good way and she lights up when she talks about her new passion for the Lord. She told me that at the retreat she became a woman. That got me thinking, though she is younger me, I still have yet to feel that way. In no way do I feel like a woman yet. For my friend, it was a revelation experience at a church, for others it may be getting their dream career or getting married. It’s different for every girl. For me, part of my transformation will have to be when I finally accept myself and embrace who I am completely, instead of just part of myself and when I fully accept my body at its healthiest. I’m tired of battling within myself on a daily basis who I am going to be that day. Some days I’m the painfully quiet girl who keeps to herself and goes about her day like a robot till she comes home at night and unwinds alone. Other days I’ll be the friendly, more confident girl who’s feeling social and up for a fun experience that keeps her up till late. Some days I leave the house feeling pretty and stylish and more comfortable in my skin. Other days I feel so gross and disgusting I almost pity the people who have to look at me. I know we all go through different moods, but for me it isn’t just my mood. It’s how I feel about myself that day that determines how confident I am. I envy the bubbly, outgoing girls that light up a room the second they walk in and can make even the most awkward person feel at ease. Those are generally the girls who look great every time I see them because they have learned to love themselves for how they were created and have learned to work what they got. They have a certain aura about them that signals to everyone in the room that they have embraced themselves for who they are, flaws and all, and are ready to take on the world. These are true women, and what I hope to become one day in the not so distant future.
Mindy Kailing, producer of and actress in The Office and author of the new hilarious read, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a perfect example of a woman who has learned to accept and love who she is. This particular excerpt stood out to me in her book and yesterday appeared on Glamour’s blog. I’m glad I’m not the only one who got something out of it.
“Since I am not model-skinny, but also not super-fat and fabulously owning my hugeness, I fall into that nebulous, “Normal American Woman Size” that legions of fashion stylists detest. For the record, I’m a size 8 (this week, anyway). Many stylists hate that size because, I think, to them, I lack the self-discipline to be an aesthetic, or the sassy, confidence to be a total fatty hedonist. They’re like ‘Pick a lane.’”
I find it so frustrating that our society basically makes real women with real and healthy bodies feel like they need to be one extreme or the other in terms of weight. The modeling industry is especially bad with this and only offers two lanes for those who want to model; the “plus size” and anorexicly thin. As Mindy says above, stylists in Hollywood usually abhor this “Normal American Woman Size.” Have we not seen the many statues created by the master artists hundreds of years ago where the female form at its most beautiful was represented? Take for example this statue of Venus (below). The woman who modeled for her would probably be considered “fat” in the modeling world and would also be hated by these elite stylists for being “normal” size. I’m sorry, since when is it unacceptable to be healthy and beautiful at the same time? Back in the days of when art was at its prime, women were celebrated for their bodies. Sadly, now we are so consumed with everything our culture shows us and tells us that we forget that hundreds of years ago, women let themselves be women and didn’t squeeze their intestines into faint-inducing corsets or felt like passing out at the gym for working themselves too hard. These women let their bodies become what they were naturally supposed to be and looked beautiful as they aged naturally. I’m not saying that real women only existed in the past and I am aware that I have gone a little off course, but I am saying that I have noticed it has gotten progressively harder for women to feel like women because of outward and inward insecurity.
Though several months ago I wrote for a wonderful site called the Good Woman Project, I don’t feel that I can include myself among these women yet. I’m not saying this to complain or sound pathetic, but instead to remind those of you who still feel like girls that you’re not alone. We are late bloomers but we will bloom. A friend of mine gave me several verses on beauty after one of my dark days recently that I feel perfectly sums up this post.
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." --2 Corinthians 4:16
Girls, beauty is fleeting. Remind yourselves of that as I have to remind myself constantly. True beauty comes from within. Our lives are but a blip. Do you really want most of it spent fretting about how people see you and what they think of you? None of that matters as long as we’re true to ourselves and are being renewed daily. Let’s try to see ourselves through God’s eyes and become true women through Him.