I have been thinking and writing about femininity for a while now and realized how much I had strayed away from The Power of Femininity in my life in the past five to six years.
“We must keep both our femininity and our strength.“
Sometimes we become who we need to be to survive, and we forget our most authentic nature. We may need to sustain ourselves through a specific period in our lives or a situation we find ourselves in or keep our heads about water that we stray from who we are.
From as far as I can remember to my mid-teens, I was a tomboy—I was the oldest, my brother was younger than I was, and I often had to protect him or instead felt the need to defend him. As a result, I found myself fighting with the boys or competing to see who could climb a fence or a tree faster than whom. I felt isolated by girls in school and got along better with the boys. I thought girls were bullies and mean-spirited. They laughed at other girls (including me) and made me feel like an outcast. They were not very nice, so I kept to myself or played with my brother and the other boys.
Running around in my underwear and later in shorts was always the most comfortable. However, I loved dressing up in my mom’s dresses, wearing her highest heels, and plastering my lips with her red lipstick.
And then there was my favorite pink maxi dress that I adored and wanted to wear every day. By four, I could walk perfectly in my mom’s heels without wobbling. And by age six, I was enrolled in modeling and etiquette classes with Ms. Monica. I finally had a few girlfriends in high school, but they may have felt the same level of uncomfortableness I felt amongst other girls, and maybe that is why we bonded.
My mom was somewhat feminine, quiet, and caring. She took great care of us, my dad and herself, but she was also strong, courageous, and hardworking. I believed my mom to be the prettiest girl and capable of doing anything. She persevered through a lot in her life in almost a sense of calmness.
Then there was my grandmother. She was also somewhat feminine, helpful to others, and caring to her children and grandchildren, but she possessed outward strength and hardness. She was no-nonsense and protective with sass.
I grew up admiring the feminine sides and the strength of those two women. However, as a young adult, I saw the strength the women in my family possessed. They endured, persevered, always did for themselves and their immediate family, and did not get much chance to be. I wanted the femininity, the strength, and the opportunity to be.
I am independent by nature, a quality that my parents always nurtured. My dad encouraged my feminine side with the values he taught and how he treated me. As a result, I grew up to be fiercely independent, and while very feminine, I also embodied the inward and outward strength of the two women closest to me growing up. I grew up introverted with a quiet fierceness like my mom and a subtle form of no-nonsense like my grandmother. Although I was not always assertive, a trait later encouraged by my husband. I have always felt strong and capable in any situation.
In my late teens, I was judged by others for being too girly and for being able to do things that were considered masculine. Being a lover of books, I learned in my early 20s that each human being possessed both masculine and feminine energy. I realized that I had a pretty good balance between the two. Not overly embracing my masculinity or femininity, and I no longer felt ashamed for “being too girly” or “being too manly,” depending on the situation. I was courageous, assertive, and a go-getter but empathic, kind, caring, and warm.
And while none of these things has to do with being masculine or feminine, I can tile my kitchen floor if I need to or fix my toilet and dance all night in five-inch heels.
I scanned my memory to determine precisely when I began to stray from my feminine traits and embrace more masculinity, but it is elusive. However, I somehow know why. Somewhere along the way, I began to feel unseen, unheard, unloved, unappreciated, and taken for granted. I no longer felt the power of my femininity; instead, I felt the weakness of my womanhood.
We have all heard that we should not allow our situations or others to change who we are. Sometimes it happens, but there is beauty in rediscovering and reclaiming.
This month’s theme on BKLS is all about The Power of Femininity.
It is my experience that there is power in femininity. A particular type of magic unfolds when we embrace femininity and masculinity, and all that we are begins to shine through. The genuine us leads our lives. Therefore to evolve and reach our full potential—design a life well-lived it is vital for women to reclaim their femininity and embrace their masculinity.
As we move into May, I invite you to consider what femininity means to you. How do you prioritize femininity in your life? How would you like to embrace your feminine traits intentionally? Are there any roadblocks to adopting those traits? And what does embracing your feminine characteristics look like in your life?
Being feminine or embracing feminine traits should not be an afterthought; it should be intentional. Stepping into our femininity is challenging, especially in today’s climate. As women, we can sometimes feel that to gain respect and power, we must fight for it or outwork each other and men. And as black women, the fight seems more complex and greater—in many cases, disrespect is normalized, and asserting power means being aggressive. Our world is out of balance, and so are our relationships, in our relationship with ourselves and with others.
This May, we are writing about
- the power of femininity
- how to reclaim your femininity consciously
- how not to fall into the trap of toxic femininity
- why vulnerability is a superpower and not a weakness
- what to do before you start your feminine journey
- spring trends I am loving
- the best books to read this Spring
- five sunscreens to buy now
- and ten of my favorite local wine shops.
So stay tuned for this and plenty more throughout the month ahead.