Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mallory's Thoughts: Happy Birthday Femininity

              A few weeks ago I celebrated another birthday. Each year, on my birthday, I take time to reflect on the past year. My standard reflection includes several things: goals I set on my last birthday, my accomplishments, things I would do different, and new goals for the year to come. This year, I decided not to reflect on my goals. Instead, I decided to reflect upon my femininity. Over the last few years, I have begun to embrace everything that encompasses being a woman. This process of embracing my womanhood has caused me to take notice of things that I would not normally notice, has caused me to celebrate small joys, and has increased my gratitude for the simple things in life. On my quest to reflect upon my femininity, I asked myself one question. How has my view of my femininity changed over the years? Before I answer that question, I think it is important to discuss the definition of femininity. In the traditional sense, femininity means: the quality of being feminine, womanliness; woman collectively (Collins English Dictionary complete & unabridged 10th edition, 2009). My simplified definition for femininity is defined as: encompassing every part of a woman.  Have you ever thought about your femininity and how it is impacted by and impacts every area of your life? For just a moment close your eyes and envision your femininity. What did you see? How do you feel?

                Mallory at her birthday breakfast. The restaurant she went too didn't have a birthday tradition so the waitress got creative!
               As I closed my eyes, I began to think about how my expression of femininity has evolved. Over the years, I have learned the importance of taking care of myself. There was a time in my life when I was so busy being involved in projects and helping others that I had very little time for myself. I took pride in knowing I could take a bath, get completely dressed and be out of the house in 15 minutes. Sometimes I would brag about being time efficient. Now, several years later, I have learned the value and importance of starting my day off by nurturing myself.  I begin each day with a bubble bath and candle light. This helps me remember how important I am. I have regularly scheduled days for exercise, cutting my hair, manicures and pedicures, and I plan and prepare most of my weekly meals which includes a sweet treat at least once a week. I choose age appropriate clothes that look and feel good on my body. I believe a woman who takes time to nurture herself daily will feel better about herself.
            Part of embracing my femininity includes paying close attention to my mental and emotional health. There was a point in my life when I did not take the time to observe the mental and emotional cues my body was giving me. I had the mentality that I was strong. Regardless of how people treated or responded to me I was fine. I rarely addressed the true inner feelings I felt from the misunderstandings and mistreatment I experienced. I constantly went out of my way to over extended myself to others. As a result of my neglecting my mental and emotional cues, I began to experience several things: my hair began to fall out, I started gaining weight, I began to have random pain all over my body and I begin to exhibit symptoms of depression. As I began the process of addressing my mental and emotion cues my body began to heal itself and my health began to improve. The results have been astounding. I have learned to set appropriate limits with helping others. I keep a “short stack,” which means, if I have a problem with someone I try to resolve the issue quickly. I have learned that I am responsible for my actions and I can only change myself. I cannot change others. I forgive quickly and I accept the things that are outside of my control.

                                                                                  Mallory at her birthday dinner with family.
To sum up how my view of femininity has evolved over the years I would say, my idea of femininity encompasses peace, simplistic joys, genuine, honest, transparent relationships, having a heart that is honest and a mind that chooses to think the best of others. My evolution also includes taking care of myself inside and out, celebrating my life and being thankful for life’s challenges that have caused me to grow in wisdom, staying true to my personal style and taste of material possessions, embracing my individuality and appreciating the differences of others. I have come to terms with the idea that my femininity will always be evolving and changing just as I will be. So here’s to embracing new femininity discoveries every year. Happy Birthday Femininity!

*Want to see a funny snippet from Mallory's birthday celebration? Watch the video below.