Today’s post is a first around here… We’re entering the turgid waters known as a blogfest. Yep, we’re virgins!
I hadn’t ever felt compelled to join one of these online orgies until I heard about writer/journalist August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman event.
WTF are you talking about, Dietz?
It’s pretty basic actually. Ms. McLaughlin will list all the participating bloggers on her website. Feel free to tour as many sites as you want to have fun, be inspired and entertained, and to potentially win a Kindle Fire or equivalent Amazon gift card. (All commenters will be entered in the prize drawing. The more blogs you visit, the greater your chance to win.)
So what compelled me to join this event?
The opportunity to validate women. Because women need it. We spend so much of our lives building others up, but have such a hard time accepting it when the love, compliments, and appreciation come our direction. Why is that?
How often do you deflect praise or admiration? Do you even believe it when they tell you? My husband has been telling me since we started dating 14+ years ago that he thinks my thighs are the sexiest part of my body. He spends copious amounts of time lovin’ on them to this day.
And guess what part of my body I’ve always hated the most? Of course, my damn thighs that touch in the middle.
Why, why, why can’t I believe him?
Stupid. I am so done with that. I’m on a campaign to not only accept, but to appreciate my legs.
What should your campaign be?
The older I get the more I find myself turning to the wisdom and the company of other women. Not that I haven’t always enjoyed my girlfriends. It’s just now somehow more necessary – and fun. Maybe it’s because I’ve matured enough that I’m not worried that other people see my imperfections (gasp!) and might think less of me because of them.
What other people think of me is not my business. – Michael J. Fox
I could go on for days about the beauty of a woman, but here are a few of the most poignant for me:
- Her capacity for compassion and empathy. Whether it’s for the elderly neighbor, the neglected child in her son’s class, or a bird with a broken wing her daughter brings home from the playground, she opens her heart and gives generously of her time and resources because she always thinks: what if that was my parent, my child, my pet? And by this compassion, she leaves the world a better place.
- Her drive for consensus. Whether she’s socially gregarious or of a more quiet persuasion, she seeks to bring together. To knit. To gather. To heal divisions. Peace is her ultimate goal.
- Her fierce loyalty to her family, those by blood or by choice. She will rush into a burning building or face censure and scorn to defend those she loves – and never count the cost.
- Her willingness to listen – and act – with heart and mind, knowing that oftentimes, better choices come from a blend of both.
- Her ability to multitask. Bounce a baby on her hip while making supper, checking the weather report, putting the next load of laundry in, and talking on the phone? Oh, hell yeah, bitch. What else you got for her?
- Her ability to drop everything when someone needs her. She can morph from a multitasking phenomenon to a single-minded wonder with the focus of a bomb tech when the situation arises.
- Her apparent contradictions that somehow aren’t. The strength of her softness that comforts both young and old. Or crying when she’s happy…or when she watches commercials (those Humane Society spots get me every damn time).
- Her ability to be silly and childlike and full of wonder. How with a giggle a grandmother reveals the girl she was in pigtails. If you look closely, you’ll see she’s still there. Hoping someone remembers she, too, once had smooth skin and shining hair. She’s that same girl, only more. More stories, more lessons, more scars, more love. More intriguing mystery to unlock – to explore and mine like precious stones hidden in dark, echoing caves.
The thing is, a woman doesn’t horde her treasures if you but seek them out. She will gladly pour them into your hands if you come with a pure affection. Her heart can be broken, but she ultimately believes in love, and with the right coaxing will open herself again. And again.
That makes her powerful. A paradox, yes, but also a life-affirming reality.
Women are beautiful and wonderful and complex in their diversity – and in their sameness. Because really, we’re more the same than different.
Take the time to acknowledge the beauty of a woman you know and love today.
And please join the conversation by sharing your perspective on any of the following:
Who is the most beautiful woman in your life, and why?
When have you felt most beautiful?
What are you willing to do to better embrace and recognize your own beauty? In other words, what’s your campaign?
If you could write to your younger self, or anyone, to instill a stronger sense of self acceptance, what would you say?
(All commenters will be entered in the Beauty of a Woman prize drawing on Ms. McLaughlin’s blog. And if you have time, hop around to some of the other BOAW stops to be entertained and inspired!)