Womanhood Defined By Men

As a child, I remember the adult women at my school humming Peggy Lee’s tune in the Enjoli perfume commercial. My mother sang it too.

I watched the women in my world champion the idea that a successful woman had a career, paid the bills, cooked, cleaned, raised the children, managed all activities and medical care, and made sure everyone else’s needs were met. After all of this, she was eager to dote on her lover, too. Men worked, and they weren’t expected to do much more.

Reclaiming Womanhood

As a grown, educated and capable woman who has played the part of the “Ideal Woman” myself, I’m left scratching my head. Where does a woman’s life, dreams, the things that make her feel inspired, alive and creative fit in to all this?

Often, they don’t. How could they when each day is a repeat of the grind the day before? We are so busy being successful that we neglect our needs. When we do take the time to be creative, playful or to get pampered, we justify it by reminding ourselves of how much we’ve done to deserve this brief respite from the machine of our lives.

Have you ever seen a man agonize over whether he should kick back and watch a game, or pursue a hobby? Not likely.

It’s not unusual for a man to follow his desires while his woman is slaving away and he thinks little of it. Even more concerning, she might think little of it, too.

I bet you expect that the next part would contain a healthy dose of male bashing. It doesn’t. If it did that would mean that men have the ultimate power over our priorities and behaviors. They don’t.

We are responsible for making time to express all of the exquisite things that bring us joy. I can hear the protests of “I don’t have time” or “If I do that I’ll let _________ down.”  Yet I know for sure that if a child, spouse or another person important to you needed you to rearrange your life to help them through a difficult event, you’d find the time.

The fundamental problem is that we do not give our joy, creativity, true beauty, and soul restoring relaxation any real value. They are afterthoughts that we may be lucky enough to experience someday.

In truth, we must tend to our inner gardens if we wish to have fruits and flowers to give away. If we give ourselves away without making time to care for the woman inside, the day will come when we realize that we’ve spent our lives revolving around others and we have no identity outside of those people.The search for oneself from this starting point is painstaking.

Modern women have proven their power and ability to do it all. Our next challenge is to use that same power toward the goal of having daily moments (or hours) devoted to pursuing our bliss.

How to Start Making Space for Yourself

You may have to ask for help to get the dishes, dinner, driving, tutoring, bathing or whatever else done. That is a good thing.There is no prize for being an island. If you feel any guilt or resistance to asking for help, that is a sign that you need the help the most.

You wouldn’t feel guilty making the request for someone you loved, would you? Self-help books abound with the command to love thyself.  Your self-love is demonstrated by what you do, not just how many times you think it or say it.

Love loves. Love you first.

~ Cynthia

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