I Am A Woman
An acquaintance once told me it was a good thing I had a son.
“You’re not very feminine,” she explained when she saw my puzzled expression. “You wouldn’t know what to do with a daughter.”
I was so overwhelmed with the wrongness of her statements, I didn’t even know where to begin.
I let the conversation flow elsewhere, but I do still wonder:
What is “feminine”? Am I not “feminine” because I negotiate for a living, and that’s a “masculine” activity? Because I don’t wear make-up?
Whar bearing would my femininity (or masculinity) have on my ability to raise a daughter? A son? Don’t many “manly” men successfully raise princesses solo? Don’t single moms routinely raise sturdy, “manly” sports players? Isn’t parenthood about growing to enable another person to grow into his or her own talents, not one’s own?
Who gets to decide what is or isn’t feminine?
I ponder these questions as I walk through my morning break. I feel the breeze rustling my long hair. I savor the flowing sensation of my one-piece suit against my legs, though I enjoy the heels below them less. Star-and-cloud earrings dangle from my ears.
I feel feminine, in ways I can’t define. The feeling’s not in my clothes or my make-up or hair or jewelery. It runs deeper than that.
I am a daughter, and will remain one no matter how long my mom has been gone.
I am a girlfriend, with all the giggling and difficult conversations that entails.
I am a sister, a niece, a wife.
I am a mother, which is more than birthing or nursing. It is listening and tending and nurturing and advocating and guiding. It is as hard as it is beautiful.
I am all these things and more.
I am a woman, and it is grand.