January 8, 2011
There are many topics of interest to us here at The Feminine Gift, but I thought I would begin with the basics, and share how I came to be here. It’s taken many years for me to begin to understand what it means to be a woman, to be feminine. I’m gradually learning to accept and be comfortable with my femininity, and to prize those differences that set me apart from men, bringing me fulfillment and joy.

I am of a generation reaping the benefits of the feminist movement: I am able to vote; I earn a fair wage for my work (and there are few jobs closed to me because of my gender); I have access to education and medical care (which is constantly growing in the understanding of women-specific health concerns); I can walk down the street without a chaperone, freely access my own money, and determine for myself when and to whom I will marry.
We are also reaping the fallout of the feminist movement: women are expected to work and are even derided for choosing not to do so; we are expected to want to be like men in many of our attitudes and ambitions; women go into the world fending for ourselves, autonomous and independent of men… and even each other.

We are all coping with this post-revolution society, and we are each trying to find our place in it. I didn’t grow up thinking of myself as a strident feminist, but I’ve had to unlearn and relearn so much about my femininity.
My dad was loving but uncommunicative and a little uncomfortable with girly things. My mother rebelled against her own mother’s overtly feminine habits, keeping her own regimen very simple and basic. My parents placed little importance on looks; on special occasions I was told I looked nice – not pretty, or beautiful. I gleaned that being concerned about appearance was for shallow people. Also, like many women, I had more than one experience of being ‘taken advantage of’ by men, which left me leery of displaying my femininity - far safer to keep that under wraps.

With no boys, and my dad often away from home, the traditionally male duties were handled by the women of the house. After I moved out, my naturally independent nature became more firmly entrenched as I fended for myself. Not only would I not ask for help, but I would be insulted if someone were to suggest I couldn’t move a stack of chairs on my own. I held doors open for men, paid my own way, and really struggled to submit even to my employer.

I gradually realized that I was growing a hard shell to protect myself, for while I was deliberately independent and single, I couldn’t quite enter into what ‘the world’ had on offer, in that I didn’t want a high-powered career; I wasn’t taking part in the sexually promiscuous social scene; I wasn’t enjoying carrying the burdens of everyday life on my own. In fact, I was unhappy, knowing on some level that something was out of balance.
Meanwhile, several things were happening in my life. I was growing in my faith, and reading several wonderful authors like Alice von Hildebrand, Gertrud von le Fort, and Pope John Paul II, who all have deep insight into the heart of a woman. At the same time, I had a wonderful spiritual director – who is not just a thoroughly feminine woman, but who is devoted to Our Lady – who guided my spiritual growth and also fostered my awareness of and appreciation for the Feminine Spirit. She taught me that a woman is nurtured by having beauty around her, and in creating it herself. With hesitant steps I began cross-stitching and crocheting, finding them wonderfully soothing… and yes, nurturing. Deep within, a ‘little me’ was waking up to the beauty of being a woman.

Several years passed, during which God took me through the desert (isn’t that His way?) bringing healing and restoration in many areas of my life. With the awakening of my ‘softer side’ it became more unbearable to be on my own. Taking on the world was no longer an adventure, but a burden. Fortunately, through the Providence of God, and the generosity of my family, I was able to move in with my sister, her husband, and their five boys. Family! Refuge! Consolation! Here’s something for our married readers to keep in mind: you are greatly blessed, for it is not good for man to be alone, and not only for the companionship that marriage affords, but because we really do need accountability.

Another challenge came with my new circumstances however: accepting help. I was so used to looking out for myself that it would have been difficult to accept my brother-in-law’s concern for me, my car, my finances etc., except that there too, God had the perfect plan. My dad was ill with what would ultimately be a terminal condition, and I was in a very vulnerable state. My brother-in-law slipped past my defences without me realizing I had surrendered sole responsibility for my little world.

Surrendering that last bastion has brought about further healing, not the least of which is a new desire and willingness to seek out the feminine, not just in me, but all around me. A silly example: in Ocean’s 12, there is a scene when Catherine Zeta Jones – a very girly girl, it must be said – looks in a mirror and touches up her lip gloss. That sort of thing used to make me uncomfortable, but now I was fascinated. “Oh!”, I thought, “That’s how you do it!” And so began a new relationship with hair and beauty products. How I love the makeup counter, and cheap – I mean affordable - jewellery stores!

I began to write a blog around this time as well, and found, to my surprise, that I was often inspired to write about feminine things: beauty, shoes, children, etiquette, baking, and so on. A desire grew to do something which would inspire people to be fully alive, to be wholly who they are created to be. Life is too precious to waste! And who we are is man or woman… that is the foundation for everything else that we are.

I know there is more discovery and growth ahead, but I am so grateful to have this newfound respect for my femininity. My hope is that The Feminine Gift will encourage and inspire the same in other women, too.




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What is a woman? What does it mean to be feminine? There is softness and hardness, compassion and ferocity. There is contentment and adventure, freedom and service. We're conundrums, especially to ourselves, but we all, in some way, possess beauty, creativity, intuition and love. We were made for love, and we are loved, cellulite and all. Here we aim to show every woman the richness and beauty of her own femininity and explore current issues relating to women in our world. We also wish to share our own experiences - exploring the joys and challenges of stay-at-home moms and single professionals and everyone in between. Welcome! So glad you're here!

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