Friday, January 28, 2011

the pains and gains of womanhood

she seemed glad to see me when i appeared in the kitchen, and by watching her i began to think there was some skill involved in being a girl.
-to kill a mockingbird



it happened on wednesday. standing in line for my frappe. white chocolate mocha with a shot of caramel. at a new coffee shop. across the street from the post office where my dad works. a little lunch break reprieve.

i felt a tiny hand on my shoulder, and turned around. a middle-aged woman, with graying hair, modest slacks and an oversized sweater looked through her glasses into my eyes. "i just don't know how you do it," she spoke to me in her southern voice not unlike my own. "those high heels. don't they hurt your feet?" 

i looked down at my shiny brown pumps, a little bit of toe cleavage emerged, then sunk back into the leather, as the tips of the shoes made a sharp point. she was right. they were uncomfortable. too high. too pointy. a bit too small. "i don't know..." i trailed off. "the things you do for fashion, i guess!" i smiled to close the conversation, grabbed my sweating coffee, and hurried out the door, careful to walk precisely, to demonstrate to her that i could, indeed, navigate my way on the cobblestone wearing these awful shoes.

it happened again on thursday.

i came home yesterday evening and even before kissing robert or rubbing pablo's ears, i unzipped my dress. and took a deep breath. for the first time all day. a real, good, from-the-gut inhale. and it felt delicious.

because all day, i had squeezed my upper body into this outfit that hugged me, squeezed me, controlled me.

robert just shook his head. "i don't know why you girls torture yourself like this" he said as he helped me lift the dress over my curls.
but what he doesn't know, what he can never realize, is that i do it because i want to.

because that dress was from h&m. it was silver and purple. flowy and ruffly on the bottom. only seven dollars on sale. one of my favorite new finds. heck, one of my favorite new dresses period. and i was willing to suffer a little for it, i suppose.

because femininity is sacred, and takes many different forms.

for some, it's sinking into a bubble bath, nose deep. it can be cooking. dancing. wearing your husband's button-down shirt. rocking babies.

it can also be playing sports. getting muddy. dirty. sweaty. 

for me, it's all these things. and more.

and on some days, especially days like this week--with all the stress over family health, starting graduate school, and work pressure that came with it--yes, it was high heels and a terribly uncomfortable but ultimately beautiful dress.

and who cares if no one understands or appreciates it besides me? that's what makes it special.

and, i suppose, pretty skillful.

29 comments:

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Skillful indeed. I use to love heels when I was younger but would happily kick them off after work and just as happily put on another torturous pair the next morning. I'm happier in my hiking or tennis shoes these days. I think the important part is not so much being comfortable in your clothing (for women) it's more about being comfortable in your skin :)

Peaches said...

I absolutely love this post and the picture! Womanhood most definitely requires skill and finesse, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Being a woman is special and I make myself pretty because it makes me happy. Happy Friday!

Seams Inspired said...

I understand and appreciate the skill it takes to be a woman. Flowy dresses with ruffles, belts to nip in your waist, heels to elongate your legs...love them! I wouldn't trade being a girlie-girl for anything. Dressing as a lady warrants being treated like a lady. LOVE this post! Happy Friday, sweet bloggy friend. :o)

jeny said...

What a timely post. The stress of everyday (working full time, school full time, being a wife, dog mama, sister, friend, daughter) I have wished on more than one occasion that I was a " guy." The make-up, outfit choices, jewelry, and hair...sometimes it just seems like to much to tackle in an already busy day. However, I agree that nothing feels as good as the right outfit and the right shoes. Finesse for sure :)

Jessica said...

A colleague of mine said I was a "dingbat" for wearing such high heels and I wanted to smack her. Each woman has a different way of feeling feminine and pretty, mine is a rockin pair of shoes. :)

bethani said...

oh high heels! i love them so.. i have several pairs, my favorite being my what the mister calls "stripper shoes" that I love wearing because i feel like i can do & be anything i want when i wear them; nothing stands in my way. its the feeling of power and being unstoppable. its the feeling of being a woman ♥

Laura Darling said...

I love this post! Most of the time, a cute outfit and an adorable pair of shoes can totally define my day! When you look good, you feel good!

Meri said...

I don't do it every day, but I sure do enjoy a great pear of heels or slightly impractical skirts and dresses for a more special day. I enjoy dressing nicer for certain days at work that I see more new clients too :)
Meri

Shalyn said...

I hadn't worn a single pair of heels or a dress (skirts and tops to church for me!) until my freshmen year of highschool. I have come to appreciate being a girl more and more, though! It is worth it to feel like a woman sometimes:-)

Grace said...

i love looking girly and beautiful even when the clothes i'm wearing aren't exactly the most comfortable. the thing is, they are beautiful and i feel beautiful in them. it really does take some skill to be a woman.

The Hockey Wife said...

This is a lovely post. I just wanted you to know that!

Nicole said...

I agree! It's about how the dress/heels/whatever makes YOU feel. Even if it's not the most comfortable thing (like a sweatshirt and sweats), I think certain outfits give a boost of confidence... and even add a little perk in your step!

Ana* said...

Silver and purple? only seven dollars? I would wear it and show the world just like you did. Courtney, can your posts get any better? they are addictive, each one is better than the last. You have such a spark, I love it!!

Happy Friday :D

Melissa said...

:) Beauty is wonderful!

love and life ♥ said...

This is my favorite post of the day. I felt like you were reading my mind or something, so many times/days have I thought about this and came across people asking me the same thing. Definitely walking away with the extra effort to show them that me walking in my heels is like walking on air. Good for you & I am so glad you posted this! It's the sacrifice we make for fashion. Somethings I always say are "Fashion over comfort" and a quote I heard on Gossip Girl ages ago "Whatever you wear, always dress to kill"

So keep rockin' it girl!! Happy Friday! xx

Kelly's Adventures said...

Love this Post!!

Thisisme. said...

Even at my great age (!) I love to look feminine. I always used to wear stiletto heels with very pointed toes, but alas I can't wear them so high these days. Have a lovely weekend with your Robert and little Pablo. Hugs. Do hope that Nanno is feeling okay again now.

Darcy said...

so beautiful. so true. so right on. there is skill in being a woman :-)

Kimbirdy said...

so true. i have more than one outfit/pair of shoes that i wear simply because it looks good on me and makes me feel gorgeous!... even if i am horribly uncomfortable at the same time. to see my partner's eye brows raise when he sees me is reward enough, but to then meet all sorts of fascinating people when we go out because i am feeling beautiful and confident in my killer {in more than one way} clothes is icing on the cake!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I have had my feet crammed into more than one pair of shoes because they were pretty!

b. lee said...

as I read, the 1st thing that came to mind was "Gone With the Wind" ... Scarlett, insisting her corset needs to be & shall be pulled tighter * *

Amber Blue Bird said...

I wear heels almost everyday for work and now that I think about it I am the only one in my office who does. I guess I like the way they make me feel and there is nothing wrong with that. Another great post :)

{av} said...

being a girl isn't easy--but it's worth the effort to feel pretty and good in your own skin, in my opinion! loved this post, my dear! have a great weekend! xoxo {av}

p.s. I have a fun giveaway running with your name all over it!

Paula (Eggshell Blue) said...

Magical and so true x

Lula said...

LOVED reading this! "but what he doesn't know, what he can never realize, is that i do it because i want to" = that's exactly it! We don't do it to impress anyone, we just do it for ourselves, because it makes us feel better.
I'm sure you get this a lot but you have a beautiful way of writing, very refreshing!
Thanks so much for commenting/following my blog! So happy to have you as a reader AND so happy you led me to YOUR wonderful blog. Cannot wait to see more from ya!
Kiss
Lula

Amy said...

What a great post, once again. The things we do to feel pretty. I love my heels but I hate the pain.

It's all in vain of being "fashionable".
Gracious.

You my dear, are once again one of my most favorite writers on the blogsphere!

Xoxo

Crystal said...

THis is such a great post! I love being a woman and all of our womanly ways. I love getting beautiful and just seeing my husband's face...completely in awe at his wife and what I do to preen for him...for me!

blouse said...

this post is amazing. so perfectly put!

glad i found your blog!

xo~jane

off switch said...

well said. i especially like the quote from harper lee. being a woman and embracing it wholeheartedly...is certainly something we should do for ourselves before anyone else - whatever it may be. :)

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