Friday, February 4, 2011

A Walking Contradiction, by Kaleigh Somers.

Editor's Note: This submission is by Kaleigh Somers, a girl I adore and who blogs here and tweets here. At 21 years old, I am beyond impressed with her insight; she is marked by passion. It is my goal in this project to include the worldviews and wisdom of women (and men) of every age and background on being and becoming a good woman. I asked her to throw some thoughts at me on this topic, and I love what she gave me. Thank you for reading.

It's my firm belief that being a woman in this world is a unique opportunity. For one thing, we have the option to wear skirts or pants. For another, we have the ability to bear a child, linking ourselves with a human being growing inside us for nine months and forming an unparalleled connection with them. But it's more than that. It's something huge that maybe we don't think about, but should celebrate.

For as far back as human history dates, "women" as a defined group of people has changed. Evolving quite rapidly, it seemed, in the height of the feminist movement. We've changed how we dress, act and speak. How we contribute to society. And it's led me to the conclusion that there might not be one "right" definition of women. Of course there isn't. There shouldn't be. Because being a woman is a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional job. A full-time occupation for which we're not getting paid any extra. And we know that, but we don't care.

And if someone were to write the phrase "good woman" on her resume — a phrase that should undoubtedly be considered worth adding to our list of qualifications for jobs, internships and the like — a potential employer might smile and nod and think that’s nice, but probably wouldn't be able to pinpoint some concrete definition for it.

Being a good woman means so many things to so many different people. Not just to other women, but to men as well. There are endless dimensions and directions with which to take that phrase.

There is no dictionary on this Earth with the entry "good woman" scribbled in it. Sometimes, we wish there was. Because life is easier lived followed by the rules. Our rules, or the rules of someone else. It doesn't matter. Just rules. But rules, I've found, lock us into something we might not want to be. Something we might not want to adhere to. Rules take away our freedom, which in turn takes away from our heart, the very force that propels us forward and encourages us to bring so much goodness to the world for future generations.

Being a good woman means seeking out the people you love, the interests you're passionate about, and throwing your heart into the mix. Good women love fearlessly and selflessly and they don't feel bad about it. It's not another chore at the end of the day, strung along at the bottom of a never-ending To Do List. It's a walking contradiction: an active decision but a subconscious choice to be someone's best friend, wife, mother, sister, grandmother, granddaughter, neighbor. It's choosing to be the mom who drives all the kids in her Caravan to get ice cream after a big soccer game.

Being a good woman means tending to a fever-stricken child in the middle of the night, sleeping in an uncomfortable rocking chair next to the bed. It means wanting to make the perfect meal for someone you love, not because you have to, but because you love the stress and chaos while preparing everything. You love the feeling of warmth that rushes through your whole body and brightens your cheeks when the person you love walks through the front door and wraps you up in a tight hug just from the scent of something so wonderful.

It's the kind of exhausting task that you fall in love with. You relish in the depletion of energy as you crawl into bed after a hard day's work. But it doesn't mean being a pushover or someone's slave. It means finding a give and take. Finding love and giving it away, like the ocean tide. So much strength and power wrapped up in a constant, persistent force with a beauty that often goes unnoticed.

Good women walk an impossibly fine line, balancing on a tight rope. They succumb to their maternal instinct to help others and at the same time their desire to stay true to themselves. They are all around us — in line at Starbucks, battling the brisk wind while they stand on a subway platform, reaching for a child's hand as they start to cross a busy intersection. And none of them look the same.

And one day, maybe you rouse yourself out of bed at six in the morning, turn on the spigot in the shower, and look at yourself in the vanity mirror. Really look at the person you've become. And on that day, I hope you realize you've done it.

You are her. And she is you.


1 comment:

Blair said...

love this.

& exactly - the measure of a good woman is different for everyone.

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