The Trappings Of Femininity



We all have demons. Mine chase after me at night when the house falls quiet and my mind begins to rest. There in the shadows my demons lie, soft and beguiling, ready to ensnare. Doubt. Vanity. With furtive smiles and drumming fingertips they feast on my virtue until I am hollowed and empty.

I try to quench the demons with words of encouragement but that only feeds them. I attempt to outrun them in service but they never leave my side. I am embarrassed by them and thus my doubt is fed, giving birth to a vanity that grows and growls.

Being a woman is difficult sometimes. We are conditioned from all sides to be perfection in form, tiny and lithe, shapely legs, slender torsos, elegant shoulders and graceful necks, youthful features and flowing hair. Inside we are ravaged by diets and worries, binges and purges, shopping and guilt, holding up our personal models on pedestals and knowing their perfection can never be reached because it never even existed. The failings that rage inside of me are inside of all of us all the same.

Being a woman is complex sometimes. To be so fragile, at the whim of a stronger man's desires, yet to be so strong, so capable of influence. In the juxtaposition I sometimes flounder, putting emphasis on what cannot be controlled and ignoring what positive change I can affect. I think all the time that I will be happy once this is tighter or that is slimmer. I will find peace when my hair lays a certain way. I think that I can finally find myself in the right make up of exterior trimmings. The obvious truth is that this path leads nowhere and too far down this road and I will be lost to myself forever. It is obvious truth but sometimes I still can't see it.

Some days I want to trade it in and roam free as spirit instead. I want to escape my boundaries and be nothing but light and love, nothing to be seen, only feelings to impress. Or Heidi Klum. That could be good, too. This body of mine is just too constricting, too many limitations. My outsides will never do justice to my insides. In moments where I catch myself fresh-faced and happy in reflection I also catch a fear that it will inevitably leave me; my face will retain water, my clothes will tug in the wrong parts, my color will fade, this cannot be, this cannot last.

Rather than find peace in the fallible of these bones and organs I often mistakenly assume the answer can still be found without.

And so I continue to search, but all I find are demons.

36 comments:

  1. I am here. I listen.


    staceria.blogspot.com
    staceri71.blogspot.com

    And yes, demons chase me too. You are a beautiful soul amoung lifeless souls. Keep your chin up.

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  2. Beautifully written... so sad and so true.. we women are complex creatures.. and yet men (and ourselves) simplify us into ratings. I am guilty of every failing of that a woman can have, especially vanity. Vanity is what makes me tick some days, and cry on others. Horrible, but wonderful.. we are women, and complex and beautiful.

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  3. My outsides will never do justice to my insides; my inner is smothered by the trappings of the outer.
    You said it, your insides, my insides are incomparable to what is on the outside. Why can't we as women accept this? We would be a happier sex if we could stop all the doting, dieting, and fretting. Thank you for the thoughprovoking post this morning...you are beautiful!

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  4. It's incredible to me how alone we all feel in this respect as well. I assume those who I look up to do not struggle, when common sense tells me otherwise. I feel this strongly today. I hope it's not rainy where you are.

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  5. I have been having the exact conversation with myself tonight... why oh why can't we just be happy and comfortable in our own skin!

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  6. wow! So rightly put. I needed to read this today! Thank you!

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  7. Your post is incredible. Thank you for sharing. And I agree wholeheartedly.

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  8. This may be one of the most amazing and true posts I have ever read. And I adore your writing style.

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  9. I think we would be hard pressed to find a women who loves every part of her. It is our nature to not accept what we perceive as our fallible features and continually strive for perfection. Does that make sense?

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  10. Too true! I have often caught myself thinking that I will be happy when I have lost 5 more lbs, then I will be happy when my thighs aren't so enormous - never mind how far I have come, or how well I am doing, or how happy I am now - I will be happier when...
    We as women need to be kinder to ourselves, and kinder to each other.

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  11. Those demons - I hear them, and I feel you!I am amazed, when I look back at my previous younger self, that I did not appreciate the thighs for what they once were, the tight, flat belly for what it was, the berry stained cheeks. I was EVEN MORE self-conscious of my faults (what faults)? Now, more confident as a person over-all, though my body showing more effects of time, those demons still fight to bring me down and I wage my war with vanity still.

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  12. Being happy and living the current moment, not longing for what "will be" is so.hard.to.do.

    We all struggle with it, so know that you're not alone.

    and keep writing!

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  13. I often feel exactly the same. How dare we ever go to work without makeup on? And if its a shade too dark or light... death to us all! And tshirts - oh the comfort, but a big no-no too. Funny though... I feel most beautiful when I'm working out and sweating and dressed in baggy sweats and tshirts and sneakers and my hair is pulled back and I have no makeup on. I feel strong and that alone makes me feel awesome. :) Not to mention, staying at home in my PJs all day is the greatest! I couldn't be more comfortable and happy.

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  14. Strangely enough, I felt better about myself after having a baby. Because your hips are now wider, your boobs alarmingly closer to the ground, your stomach poochier in ways that cannot be corrected with situps, your back and abs mere shadows of their former toned selves, and your arms FABULOUS. And there's not much I can do about those changes--they're here to stay. In many ways they've forced me to make peace with what I have. And to be glad for (some of) them--because they're what brought me Camryn. When your own little ones come along, I'll bet you will find a bit of that same inner peace as well. (Though I'll never find any peace over stretch marks. NEVER.)

    So, hurry up, little ones! Your mommy needs you to quiet those demons!

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  15. My outsides will never do justice to my insides..but should they? Would we ever be able to function in a world where the kind and true were also gloriously beautiful and where the inner workings of the selfish and cruel were etched on their faces for all to see - what monsters would roam! We would have no gifts for intuition, knowing others or ourselves, and temperance for temptation. I'll sacrifice skinny legs and a flat ass for those gifts any day.

    The pre-movie trivia told me the other day that her schoolmates used to call Heidi Klum "pizza face." We ALL strive to be something we're not yet, and the strength we gain from that struggle is what makes us human. The only thing that can keep you down is you.

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  16. As long as I have my makeup, I'll be okay. The day I lose my makeup is the day...well it's rather sad I live my life around my makeup and don't like to look at the real me. True? No?

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  17. Oh geez, being a woman is so difficult, isn't it? I was just thinking along these lines yesterday. So I blogged about it. I came up with 2 things I'm kinda proud of; wrote 'em on my blog for all the world to see. (Or at least the 4 people who check my blog regularly.)

    http://theginabean2.blogspot.com/2009/11/regarding-ginabean.html

    And although the 2 things I came up with aren't physical (like, "people mistake me for Katherine Zeta-Jones all the time"--I'm all about honesty, after all), they're true. So I'll come back to my post when I get down on myself, for a good chuckle if nothing else.

    Regarding the physical, though...here's a quote I like to remember for such occasions as this (feeling nasty and stuff): "The way God made you is the way you are most beautiful." -Elder Russell M. Nelson.

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  18. I pray with time you realize that your inside far outshines your outside and that is exactly as it should be.

    The outside is a distraction, albeit a beautiful one, that really ought not consume us as it fades with age and time and far too much energy and time is spent on attempts to perfect it.

    Continue to perfect your inside and your beauty will be everlasting.

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  19. This was a great post. It would make any woman see herself in a different light.


    clothedmuch.blogspot.com

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  20. this was a great post. some days i am so tired of being a girl, i could just crawl out of my skin.

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  21. Hey there! I'm doing something on my blog, where I've asked my followers to share their favorite bloggers with me... and one of them mentioned your site! So, I'm dropping by to visit... what a great page you have!

    You are so right about a woman's demons. My undergrad school did a whole series on the "image of effortless perfection", about how women try to look perfect at a very high personal cost. Your post took me back to those days...

    ~Elizabeth
    http://confessionsfromaworkingmom.blogspot.com

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  22. Brilliant post, but then again, you knew that already...

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  23. Awww.. this is a sad post :( true.. but still sad. Ok, can the next post be a happy post .. maybe about u're doggies :)

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  24. Nat, I told my mom about you last night as I was reading one of your posts. She kinda went, "Oh. That's interesting." and continued with what she was doing. Today as I was reading this she came over and asked what I was doing. I told her that I was reading the blog that I told her about last night. She looked at the picture at the top of this particular post and asked, "Is that her?" I replied affirmative and she said, "She's beautiful" I replied affirmative to that as well. I then told her how good of a writer you are and she read your post. She was stunned at the depth in your writing. I think she's gonna keep coming back for more. Hope that helps chase away at least one of those evil demons.

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  25. Hollah! (in an "I get it" sort of way)

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  26. going off of @Steve's post:

    You are most definitely gorgeous. But the thing that makes you beautiful is not they way you look... it's the person you are. The way you write and the way you live. I've lurked on your blog for a long time (although I have posted twice on this one!) and honestly it is something I look forward to each day while I am stuck at my desk. To cheesily quote Josh Groban: You raise me up. (and If Idaho and Indiana weren't so far apart....)

    Know that you are a beautiful person inside and out.

    But mostly inside.

    Just listen to Peter Pan and Barnabus...they tell you everyday.

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  27. This was wonderfully put. You couldn't be more right.

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  28. I love this post, surprisingly made my day! Thank you...

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  29. I so needed to hear this this morning. I'm headed to my final wedding dress fitting in a couple of hours, and I always feel so much pressure on these days. (I especially hate having them on Mondays, when I am carrying the weekend's extra pounds.) This worry inside of me that I'm not pretty enough, not thin enough, I won't look that great at the wedding, blah blah blah has gotten so out of control. This morning as I was studying Mosiah, I read King Benjamin's counsel about remaining steadfast and immovable, and I was struck with the thought that really, none of this external stuff matters. And as I was reading your words, I was struck with the thought that the less I worry about my outsides, and the more I concern myself with my insides, the more beautiful my outsides will become.

    Anyway, thanks for being another medium that will hopefully help these thoughts to really sink in. For today, at least. :)

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  30. Beautifully put. I never really looked at everything that way. I do now. Thank you.

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  31. So here I am, a good year + reading this lovely post, needing it. Thank you for saying just how I feel, and letting me know that I am not alone.

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  32. Couldnt have said it better myself.

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  33. I was reading the favorite posts from the side, and I just have to tell you how much I love this. You are an excellent writer. Thank you for letting your readers catch a glimpse of your life, personality, and creativity. You inspire me to have better voice in my writing. Thank you!

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