A Modern Lady Blog Welcome I'm so glad you're here

I’m So Glad You Joined Me!

(This is going to be great.)

What do I blog about?

It’s my sincere desire to provide information that encourages, empowers, amuses, and inspires through my blog. In my (admittedly) short life, I’ve had the privilege of navigating a variety of tragic and glorious experiences.

I endeavor to offer something of value in sharing what I’ve learned, what I’m learning, and what I hope to learn. We all have something to give, after all.

My blog has been around for several years–so there’s a lot to see and it’s easy to get a bit lost. Scroll down for the area most interesting to you. (Enjoy!)

 It's not about the lipstick--it's the woman wearing it. Leave the stereotypes outside. This is finding the woman you were always meant to be. Let's thrive.W O M A N

Culture, class, dress, self-identity, self-esteem, history, healthy self-awareness–femininity isn’t about finding the perfect shade of red lipstick or mesmerizing potential suitors with a come-hither gaze.

(Check your undertones for the first, and you’ll need a solid three seconds for the latter.)

Femininity is about finding, becoming, and living as the woman you were always meant to be.

Please leave all preconceived notions at the door.

[ C L I C K   H E R E.]

This is where I share the lessons I've learned from trial and error to gain a more balanced mind. Let's learn, laugh, cry, rage, and grow together.M I N D

You won’t find posts about meditation, energy detoxes, backpacking across Budapest, crystal collections, clothing hauls, endless lists of life hacks, or Enlightenment-inducing combinations of kale, almond butter, and chia seeds.

There’s nothing wrong with the items of the aforementioned list.

They are simply not topics I explore on AML.

What you will find:

the difficult, encouraging, embarrassing, hopeful, sorrowful, and peaceful experiences that have aided me in attaining a more balanced mindset.

In sharing them I hope to save you some tears and add to your smiles. I don’t have all the answers; but, I do have the ones that helped me.

I offer them to you in these posts.

C L I C K   H E R E ]

Gracefully navigating L I F E with gentle wit, wild optimism, and quinoa. Enjoy a practical How-to guide for all of Life's odd scenarios.L I F E

What will you find here? You’ll find a pleasantly practical guide to the awkward, icky, hard “life stuff” that seems to require a lot of trial and error to master. (Emphasis on the error, if you’re like me.)

How to live with difficult family and friends, subdue frenemies, build healthy support systems, set healthy boundaries, survive office politics, and more are covered here (with a healthy dose of encouragement).

I’ve found many “life hacks” and general guides never seemed as simple as: one, two, three–WIN!

I strive to provide you with just that: step-by-step guides for gracefully navigating life.

[ C L I C K   H E R E ]

 Gracefully navigating L I F E with gentle wit, wild optimism, and quinoa. Learn how to build a better relationship with your body from the inside out.B O D Y

The appreciation and gratitude I have for my body has been hard won. Thus far in my life, I have navigated our world as a Size 16 to 00, in sickness and in health, with self-esteem and (sadly) without.

My journey has taught me quite a bit about myself, the world we live in, and those we share it with.

Frustratingly, there is no simple, perfect, one-size-fits-all answer to the question: “What will make me healthy?”

With that in mind I share what honestly helped me craft the healthiest lifestyle for me.

[ C L I C K   H E R E ]

 A Modern Lady beauty and hair product reviewsR E V I E W S

I’ve tried over 300 skin, health, and hair care products over the lifetime of this blog. Price per ounce, cosmetic elegance, scent, formulation quality, even the bottle design–everything is up for comment.

All sponsored product reviews and collaborations are always noted in the first paragraph. Why? I take your readership seriously.

I buy 99% of everything reviewed on AML. Regardless of whether it’s purchased or sponsored, you will receive my 100% honest opinion–everytime. (Enjoy!)

[ C L I C K   H E R E.]

A Modern Lady Blog Welcome I'm so glad you're here

a-modern-lady-foundational-beliefs-femininity-and-time-belief-ten

Time & Femininity: Belief Ten

I outlined my full creed here, and why I blog about this subject here.

It’s never too late.

Never stop evolving. Truly feminine women make other women feel that they can be more feminine too! It should be infectious, at times convicting, and never discouraging!

Never stop learning, refining, and sharing.

I believe this firmly, too. Do not mourn “lost” time. Use what you have–wisely and with gusto! It’s so worth it–because, you are! Time is yours.

Your unique femininity’s influence can be positive or negative on the men and women (of all ages) around you. (I strive for the “positive” personally, as cheesy as that sounds.) Some women that have become in tune with their femininity choose to judge, or demean women that have not.

I don’t.

Hence the importance of this sentence:

It should be infectious, at times convicting, and never discouraging!

Feminine women should inspire other women in a healthy manner.

Sometimes being presented with an example of what you could be is convicting.

That is not to be confused with “condemning,” which is discouraging and actually inhibits the desire to change for the better, rather than encouraging it.

Conviction is good; it prompts thought, and can be a catalyst for beneficial change. Condemnation is bad, it shutters thought, and can be a catalyst for self-destruction.

You’ll find plenty of the former and none of the latter on AML.

sex an femininity a-modern-lady-foundational-femininity-belief-number-nine-sex-and-femininity

Sex & Femininity: Belief Nine

I outlined my full creed here, beloved readers. Read why I blog about this here.

Sex And Femininity

Please don’t confuse sexy/hotness/flirting/being a coquette with being “feminine.”

You can have a powerful femininity, a reserved femininity, a bubbly femininity, a gregarious femininity, and so forth. It has absolutely nothing (I repeat –absolutely nothing!) to do with being in a constant “come hither” state, to excite men at every opportunity.

Sex and femininity–they have a bit of convoluted relationship don’t they? Sex and femininity have a relationship that can’t be boiled down to manipulation or false appearances. The internet abounds with these types of femininity “tips.” I seek to offer you something different. (Please enjoy.)

This belief is fairly straight forward, beloved readers. Essentially:

I won’t be rehashing the usual (hogwash):

Be a flirt! Don’t be a flirt! Be blonde! Be thin! Act like a child! Act like a vixen!

Act like one of the guys! Don’t cry!  Don’t act like one of the guys! Cry! Don’t show leg!

Be curvy! Sneeze glitter! Show cleavage! Don’t show cleavage! Don’t act like his mom!

Act like a Geisha! Act like a harem girl! Act like a princess! Act like the Girl Next Door! 

Be sexy! Don’t be sexy! Be Mean! Be Nice! Show leg! Don’t talk! Talk about him!

Act like his mom!  Giggle a lot! Be a goddess! Be domestic! Freebase sunshine!

Be a CEO! Don’t be a CEO! Be a sexy CEO! Don’t sweat! Be happy! Be a dreamgirl!

Be a pixie! Be a manic-pixie-dreamgirl! Be adorkable! Be a b*tch! Don’t be a b*tch!

Sweat raw agave nectar! Be mysterious! Be an open book! Snort rainbows! Bleed Glitter!

#NOPE

Some of the above were obviously written with a bit of snark, but I believe you get the idea, beloved readers:

There are many “types” of femininity.

Don’t constrain your unique femininity to tired and over-used negative stereotypes and false “charm secrets.”

a-modern-lady-foundational-femininty-belief-eight-weakness-and-femininity

Femininity & Weakness: Belief Eight

My full creed is here, beloved readers. Why I write about this can be read here.

Being feminine does not equal being weak.

Please leave all stereotypes at the door.

They often become excuses. Excuses and femininity do not commingle.

This belief is straight forward and two-fold, beloved readers:

1

Whatever stereotypes you have been taught to associate with femininity (or think I’ll blog about), that give you pause about becoming (more) feminine–drop them.

Now, please.

I am referring to the usual negative stereotypes: manipulative, “crazy,” overly-emotional, coquettes, temptresses, childish, helpless, frail, unfit to lead, etc. stereotypes that (at least in the West) have been historically associated with women and femininity.

In particular, the stereotypes that imply femininity equals weakness. Because it doesn’t.

2

These stereotypes are often used as excuses for abandoning the pursuit of your unique femininity, it’s cultivation, and the self-assurance it takes to claim that unique femininity and live within it. Wielding it powerfully and effortlessly is difficult.

Excuses and femininity do not co-mingle.

Weakness and femininity do not co-mingle.

Strength and femininity do.

You beloved readers, are worthy of far more than antiquated stereotypes, excuses, and false notions. 

I firmly believe that.

Which is why you won’t find them here.

a-modern-lady-being a woman-foundational-femininity-belief-six-femininity-and-womanhood

Femininity & Womanhood: Belief Seven

My full creed is here, beloved readers. You can find out why I blog about this here.

It should be enjoyed.

Being in tune with your true, unique femininity is utterly divine. If being feminine is a drudgery, you may not not quite in tune with your unique femininity.

At fourteen or so I watched Flower Drumsong (the movie) and had a startling revelation: I did not enjoy “being a girl.”

I realized a large portion of my femininity (maybe all?) was, to turn a phrase: “dead in the water,” as I watched the performance below. I desperately craved confidence and self-esteem at the time, and her character made me painfully aware of how distant my unique, femininity was from my conscious self-identity.

If I was ever going to be the confident woman I desired to be, I’d have to come to terms with this issue quickly.  I realized needed to love and live in every aspect of myself. How could I ignore something as central to my identity (and the way the World would treat me) as my sex, and expect to be confident or emotionally balanced?

<Disclaimer> Take the time period into account before firing off angry text, please. I #roar as loudly as the next #KaleGoddess. Context is everything. </disclaimer>

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEW_nXwWvd4[/embedyt]

CHALLENGE INTERNALIZED MISOGYNY

There is nothing wrong or lesser with the “girly-dom” she sings of, likewise there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with much of it. (The other wildly cringe-inducing social issues present in this video are for another post. Cat-calling is never complimentary.)

The #mainpoint? She revels in what “being a girl/woman” is to her.

We should all do the same (whatever that looks like for you, beloved readers).

Again, please don’t be distracted by knee-jerk reactions to period-specific representations of mainstream society’s views of “girl-y-ness” or “femininity” in the video.

I’m not promoting them. Debating them is not the purpose of this particular post.

The reason this performance was so striking to me at the time was the sudden knowledge I couldn’t agree with her. Not because of societal constraints, nor having a fully developed sense of my own unique femininity that just happened to be quite different from that of the character. No. That’s wasn’t it–there was a disconnect within me of some kind. She was reveling in a part of herself that I couldn’t reach within myself.

I was blessed to have parents that taught me “I could do anything,” and emphasis was placed on who I was as an intellectual individual–period–throughout my childhood, for the most part.

While I’m eternally grateful for that, it had an unintended effect–I took being a woman as a needless detail at best, or an actual hindrance at worse. “I” and my sex were two wholly different things, and one was clearly to be squelched for the good of the other.

If “The Masculine Way” was the default (and it was presented to me as such) and I was encouraged to mimic that default–nay, surpass it in every respect, in spite of “being a girl” then what need did I have for acknowledging my sex or inherent femininity?

Never mind those things are aspects of my core identity. (Cough.) I never received the message that being a women, or living in my unique femininity was actually a source of raw strength and unmitigated power.

The female actor in the clip above was doing something I wasn’t taught nor encouraged to do:

Unabashedly enjoy being a woman.

Whatever that happens to look like for you. That typed and read, given the atrocities women face from the global-north to the global-south there are some extremely grave reasons why being a woman is not a walk in a poppy-filled park. We all know at least a few of them.

You can hate the terrible things women endure, fight to change them, make your mark upon the world, and still appreciate your XX chromosomes, because like everything else about you…they’re a part of you, too.

It should go without saying, enjoying being a woman, is not to co-sign the atrocities women suffer, simply because of our sex. Considering how many other women I’ve spoken with of my cohort have reported the same subconscious bias against our sex, perhaps the messages we received, while well-intentioned, required a little more nuance.

Maybe you, beloved reader, have always enjoyed being feminine–kudos!

As for the rest of us, there comes a time when you’ll have to clearly and deliberately answer the question:

Do I enjoy being a woman?

a-modern-lady-femininity-and-appearance-foundational-belief-six

Femininity & Appearance: Belief Six

The “balance point” between the sincere, healthy expression of your unique femininity and your culture is going to be found by evaluating the messages of your mainstream culture as they pertain to femininity/gender roles.

More than likely, you are already keenly aware of said messages, thanks to the power of socialization and the media.

The task: Mesh the most easily recognized and understood signs of femininity according to your culture, with your unique femininity’s genuine expression.

Does that sound arduous? It can be. I won’t lie to you. I’ll offer a personal example, in the hopes of illustrating what the above looks like in practice:

Industrialized Western culture generally view long hair as feminine by default. My hair is (currently) extremely short (a “baldie”). If I preferred short hair, I would wear it–understanding that in general it would not be a “plus,” at best a neutral according to my culture’s current gender norms about hair and femininity.

Why? Because my current hair style choice is in direct contrast with my culture’s general, default “feminine” image. I like radically changing my hairstyles often out of boredom, thus I’m engaged in the process of growing it out…again. It’s also less maintenance at a longer length: I can easily put it into a casually elegant bun and not think about it for days hours.

If I truly preferred short hair it would not be worth my “dealing with” having longer hair-just for the sake of social affirmation. It would not mean enough to me to make my life more difficult to earn an extra glance or two, or to avoid a potentially rude comment. However, I’d realize that there are some negative social sanctions (e.g. a sexist remark or rude look) I’ll need a thicker skin to deal with through out my life. Note: Acknowledging that does not excuse those negative social sanctions, make them right, or normalize ill-treatment based on my appearance.

Industrialized Western culture generally favors lighter hair colors than my naturally blue-black mane. Will I lighten it? #LAWL no. Why? I truly prefer my galaxy-black hair. It took me a while to get here–but, now I do. Have I dealt with ethnicity-related negative comments from people over something as unimportant in life as hair color? Yes. Slightly thicker skin required? Yes. Are those people idiots? Yes. They run in packs these days, unfortunately.

TL;DR

Take a look at what your culture calls “feminine” objectively. See where you find yourself in relation to that popular standard, and then decide what of yourself are you willing to change and –more importantly–not willing to change to adhere to it. Most importantly: stand unapologetically, firm in your choice.

Don’t loose yourself to it(!); but note: completely ignoring your culture’s standard of femininity does not make sense either–extremes seldom do.

Balance. Balance. Balance.

Some parts of your culture’s beauty standard may simply need to be ignored or dismissed for your emotional or physical health. Chop them off at the knees. Speaking from personal experience, you may find quite a bit of it may need to be edited out of your subconscious.

I don’t fit 95% of the world’s various standards for beauty, nor do I fit about 60% of its many standards for “what a woman should be and do.” Only recently has the beauty standard changed in the United States evolved to a point where I could approach the 50% mark.

Interestingly, you may find that formerly popular components of your culture’s femininity standard may need resurrecting from by-gone eras. Other aspects may only need a teeny-tiny tweak to fit your unique femininity.

It’s up to you to draw the line where you see fit and be at peace with standing behind it. The important thing is to do the work of ferreting this out for yourself, rather than leaving it to your subconscious and whatever society has jammed into it.

Balance is beautiful.

a-modern-lady-discipline-and-femininity-foundational-femininity-belief-number-five

Femininity & Discipline: Belief Five

The round-up of my foundational beliefs about femininity can be read here. Why I blog about this can be read here.

It requires discipline.

Keeping your life as stress-free as possible; building healthy relationships; staying emotionally healthy; keeping up one’s hair, nails, clothes however you choose wear them; staying fit and healthy; finding a workout that works for you; preparing nutritious food and not relying on fast food; learning make-up techniques to enhance oneself, and so forth, takes due diligence.

(It’s so worth it. Avocado toast and running a 5K are their own reward, however.)

Discipline, is defined by Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, in part, as follows:

“. . .[T]raining that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. . . .”

The reason discipline and femininity go hand in hand, is not solely because they produce powerful results in a variety of situations–which they do; but, because you are a woman of value.

Things of value take work to attain, maintain, protect, nurture, and appreciate.

Discipline ensures that (hard) work gets done.

“Work” can be a treat or a treatment–it depends on how much you value what you are working for, beloved readers.

The daily upkeep of your emotional health, physical health, mental health, skin, hair, nails, social life, wardrobe/personal style, and so forth need not be “chores,” when they are done as an extension of your unique, femininity–this is true self care. The concept of #selfcare has become overused to the point of excusing self-medicating and self-enabling behaviors, but I mean to invoke it’s original meaning in this post.

Work, discipline, diligence, and all their synonyms are a part of femininity.

What they look like depends on the sincere, healthy expression of your unique femininity.

It’s easy to forget yourself in the melee of everyday life.

If not for yourself, be disciplined to put yourself first–yes, first–for those that need you at your best. You work for everyone else, beloved readers, and this is just a gentle reminder to work for yourself as well.

Why?

You are of (great) value!

a-modern-lady-life-and-femininity-foundational-femininity-belief-four

Femininity & Life: Belief Four

My foundational beliefs round-up post can be read here, and why I blog about this can be read here.

Femininity And Life

It can be learned.

Femininity is not a matter of: “Some girls got it and some girls don’t!” Some women have had life experiences that do not allow their unique femininity to flow as easily as others, or it was squashed subconsciously, ignored for various reasons, or developed in only one way, causing it to lack dimension. You can make up for lost time!

Femininity and life–why blog about this? Well, as I’m sure you know, life is not particularly kind nor easy.

Life experiences must not be underestimated. Femininity and Life may not always complement each other.

It can cause us to form or copy mannerisms, habits, manners of speech, etiquette (or a lack thereof), vocabulary, or behaviors that smother our feminine selves for the sake of emotional, financial, physical, and/or mental survival. We may developing coping mechanisms, self-harm patterns, personality disorders, disordered eating behaviors, negative financial behaviors–you name it–in response to the harsh and often bitter realities of the average Wednesday. I understand. I’ve been there.

So you won’t find any judgments about the “why,” on AML. We all have a “why.” Some of them are easier to hide than others, but they’re still there. Bouncing around on the inside. Waiting for that next moment of weakness to their whispers into a roar.

Knowing this Belief Four of my Femininity Creed is to encourage you with the knowledge that the aspects of your true, unique femininity, that may have suffered in the name of survival, can be regained, refined, renewed, reborn, and re-learned–at ANY age. Femininity and Life can end up at odds with each other. They don’t have to stay that way.

It is NEVER (ever) too late.

Don’t relinquish that which is rightfully yours.

Own it.

a-modern-lady-on-femininity-and-womanhood-intellectually-physically-and-emotionally

Femininity & Woman: Belief Three

I outlined my full creed here, beloved readers. Read why I blog about this here.

Being feminine requires being in touch with yourself as a woman, physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

Challenge internalized misogyny. It’s not easy navigating life as a woman. (Understatement of the millennia, I realize.) It’s easy to let its difficulties blind us to how wondrous walking this path can be.

The above quote is from my Femininity Creed round-up post. Acknowledging “womanhood” and “manhood,” let alone daring to say the two are: different, equally valid, and necessary can lead to me having to track IP numbers for my own safety.

Doing so can also spark healthy and fantastic discussions about suffrage, gender identity, sexuality, gender bias, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, and so forth. The above are all topics extremely worthy of stirring, beloved readers, and I strongly encourage you to learn more about them. There are many glorious blogs devoted to each and every one, but this blog does not stand among them.

That does not mean I do not care about those topics–far from the case, they are simply not AML’s focus. My purpose with this post is to further articulate my POV on femininity to create a reference point for future, related content.

Physicality and Femininity

You should do your best to make the most of the body you have.

Beloved readers, note that I did not say have a “sexy,” “slim,” “curvy,” what-have-you body. I wrote: HEALTHY–whatever size or fitness level or shape true health happens to be for you.

Your culture’s beauty standards are well-known to you. Appreciating what your body can DO,  than what it could look like can be wonderfully liberating.

Staying healthy is essential to being feminine, because your body’s movements, your sense of balance, your posture, your gait, your mannerisms, and body language play a vital role in exuding your unique of femininity. Non-verbal communication and its mastery is an often over-looked but, essential aspect of honing what makes one feminine.

You cannot control the body you’re born with, but you can control how you move through life in it, figuratively and literally.

Emotions and Femininity

My second belief post provides the detailed message I’ll be paraphrasing here.

Leave all stereotypes about women being overly emotional, emotionally frail, or “crazy” at the door. Now.

Read this well, beloved readers: the inborn ability women have to easily command, process, perceive, experience, and harness something as wildly powerful as human emotion is a STRENGTH. Popular society may mock and monetize the toxic ways women may attempt to do so, but that truth remains.

You’ll need emotional balance to be in tune with your unique femininity.

How you go about attaining that emotional balance and stability is up to you.

There are wonderful life coaches, books, blogs, therapy, travel, volunteering, religious faith, and more about how to gain greater emotional balance and wellness. I encourage you to find what will work for you. Find it. Quest for it. Seek it with determination.

Then follow through.

Personally, I attain emotional balance, and greater self-awareness through my life’s journey of imitating Christ. I have no opinions or judgments about your method. Again, I want to be a source of encouragement to you to persistently search for and execute whatever healthy, non-harmful method that helps you gain and maintain said balance.

Content on AML will touch upon the topic of emotional balance, but from the viewpoint of complimenting your efforts. Not asserting a specific way to achieve it, as this is not a one-size-fits-all issue.

Please note: Simply “being really emotional” is not the same as being emotionally sound. The latter is what you should strive for and have the great capacity to be. The former must be avoided.

Intellectualism and Femininity

When I was a pre-teen, a well-meaning relative gave me some life advice:

“You read too much and you talk too much. You’re smart, and that’s good, but don’t let it come out of your mouth all the time. Boys don’t like that.”

That was the moment I decided to become a literary Super Saiyan. #TeamGoku

Develop that excellent mind of yours, beloved readers! Charm, charisma, grace, confidence, and mental fortitude do not come from a beautiful face or shapely hips. They come from a “gorgeous” mind. Beauty does not equal femininity (Read why here).

The aforementioned characteristic requires a mind that is willing to learn, adapt, think, reason, inquire, and analyze. A woman willing to never stop learning and growing intellectually will be in the prime position to unlock some of the most potent, influential, and–yes–irresistible aspects of being a feminine woman.

How do I know? I was Heaven-bent on proving said grandmother wrong–and I succeeded mightily. I also learned a harrowing lesson in the process: pick your social groups wisely. She was correct in the sense that certain “boys” wouldn’t like my “smarts.”

She failed to mention the existence of the ones that do.

(Guess which ones I keep in my social circles?)

TL;DR

Having these three components–the intellectual, physical, and emotional–in alignment is 90% of the battle of discovering, claiming, and honing your unique femininity.

 

A Modern Lady Femininity Belief Two

Femininity And Beauty: Belief Two

I outlined my full creed here, beloved readers.

You can read why I’m blogging about this topic here.

This is a series of posts that will elaborate upon the points presented in my Femininity Creed Post. The second belief I expressed in that post was this:

“Beauty” and femininity are both parts of womanhood, but not each other.

Beauty is unnecessary to be feminine–I accidentally proved it to myself over the course of five years, and I’m glad to share what I learned.

I don’t hold the thought that fleeting physical beauty and femininity are bound to one another.

I once did, but no longer.

Why?

After having the Ugly Girl Experience from the age of 13 until 23. My face and height noticeably changed at 24 years of age–I was (finally) “blooming” rapidly, quite late in life. By twenty-five–yes, that late, still–my face fully matured to what it is now. (A vast improvement.)

Watching my friends year after year peak physically while I simply didn’t (along with the intense, 24/7 bullying that accompanied being “left behind”) I gave myself permission to accept that I would never be “pretty.”  I resolved to accept the poor treatment that accompanied it, and I decided sought to live the best existence I could scrape together in spite of it.

That brought me to the breaking point–do something, or die. I chose the former, thankfully. I spent the next 3-5 years in my late-teens/early twenties, retraining my mannerisms, losing weight, undergoing Accutane, completely changing my diet, overhauling my lifestyle, completing my first degree with honors, retraining certain facial expressions, hobbies, style, tastes, the list goes on to become (more) feminine.

Why to become more feminine? Because with each year (up until the very end of this season of my life), while I failed to see the scant physical and (greater) inner beauty I had, my interactions with the world suddenly changed–for the positive.

Becoming more feminine exponentially increased my access to opportunities, knowledge, networks, friends, experiences, and resources–long before my face or body had completed its change.

Once my face and body changed, I became “pretty.” In other words: a socially privileged clothing size, young, immaculate skin, a friendly aura, great hair, #onfleek make-up, and a wickedly trendy wardrobe. It occurred to me: even if my face and body had never changed I would have continued being feminine, and became feminine before my “outside” matched my new “inside.” How did I know this?

I had received compliments on my posture, general aura, and comportment long before “blooming!” And it was those new attributes that had opened so many new doors and now presented me with an entirely new side of humanity.

I realized the word association between “beauty” and “femininity” do women a great disservice.

They are both components of womanhood, but not of each other. 

My mind was blown. Truly. (I sat in a Life Hindsight Stupor in a coffee shop for a couple hours condensing the emotions I was experiencing.) I’ve been frequently complimented in a pattern by women that goes like this:

“You walk so beautifully…but, you’re pretty so it figures.”

“You’re an excellent presenter…but, you’re so young and pretty too, so you know.”

“You have such poise, but you’re so fit and well put-together, so it makes sense.”

“You’re so confident, but you’re “exotic,” so it makes sense.”

No.

It doesn’t make sense.

Physical beauty does not create a graceful gate, poise, presentation skills, or authentic, deeply-rooted confidence. It does not create excellent manners, discipline, pleasing speech patterns, or good character.

And it NEVER will.

Ever.

However, all of those aforementioned things can make people see your inner beauty more clearly–and lead to a C-suite position, a best-seller, a grand opening, healthy relationships, a loving family, an influential career, and so much more.

Those women I mentioned earlier, the kind that give those kinds of compliments, both young and mature, are always startled to hear my response, which is a condensed version of the above.

Every time I engage with a woman in conversation over the topic of this post, especially if they’ve been victims of bullying, I witness the realization dawn in their eyes that unconsciously they have considered themselves less feminine than other women or not feminine at all–solely because of a perceived failure to measure up to society’s beauty standards.

They begin to realize they can be feminine regardless of what society says is lovely at that moment.

Pro Tip: Society cannot help but be fascinated by a feminine woman, no matter what “type” of woman is in vogue!

That’s not to say beauty doesn’t come with its own (unfair) privileges.

We know this, beloved readers.

I wouldn’t date insult you be saying otherwise; however, it’s fleeting, subjective, ever-changing, and ultimately weak in the face of other characteristics you can actually control like self-confidence, kindness, and work ethic. 

Being valued only for your beauty is dangerous literally, emotionally, financially, socially, physically–the list goes on.

Thankfully, the choice to give in or become a (feminine) force to be reckoned with is yours alone and no one can take it away from you.

THIS IS ENCOURAGING.

We needn’t devote energy to becoming “prettier,” or “sexy,” or “trendy” (and with so many industries screaming at us with the solution to our appearance woes, we can’t pretend as though it’s never a concern). We can devote energy to becoming more feminine, which arguably leads to being more YOU.

Physical beauty and femininity are parts of Womanhood, yes.

I assert that your physical beauty is a smaller part of womanhood than femininity, because your unique femininity is far more crucial to the healthy exhibition of YOU as in individual woman.

And it’s YOU–not your physical beauty–that matters most.