Last Saturday, I was over at my parents’ house and somehow got nominated to take out a tree in their front yard. It was a Christmas tree type–about twice as tall as me. My mom had already started cutting branches off, so I just had to finish trimming it down and then take out the stump. With just a hand saw and a pair of clippers, I started hacking away at it. I got it down to the stump and brought out the sledge hammer, shovel, and pick-axe to finish the job.
While I was having fun pretending to be a lumber jack, my sister came out with the mower and started mowing the front yard. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a car drive by slowly. I looked up to see a neighbor waving to get our attention. “You girls are awesome!!!” he yelled, and drove past. About 5 minutes later, he walked down with two of his daughters and was pointing at us. I couldn’t hear him over the mower, but by his facial expressions and hand gestures, it was clear he was communicating something that I imagine went a little like this: “See girls! Look at what they’re doing here, aren’t you inspired to go do this in our yard?? Doesn’t that look fun?” What he actually was saying, I’ll probably never know.
I imagined what we would have looked like to those two little girls wearing their dresses and bows…probably crazy. When I was their age, I was a hardcore tomboy. However, through the years I have grown to embrace my feminine side. I still rock climb and have mud fights, but wear fake nails and high heels an hour later. About a year ago exactly, I was planning to embark on a backpacking adventure to hike Devil’s Path in New York, for 3-5days. This is a pretty grueling trail, gaining about 8,471 feet over 20 miles. I remember telling some fellow ladies about my scheme, only to be surprised at their reaction “I could NEVER do that!! Wow that’s so amazing!! I wouldn’t even know where to start!” Even though the trip didn’t pan out exactly as I had envisioned, never once in planning did I doubt my abilities. That might have been naive, but I had done my research and new both my sister and I would have been able to hack it.
It makes me sad when I hear stuff like this from other women because most of them would be able to do it, but fear and doubt hinders them in even believing it’s a possibility. I’m not saying everyone has to like hiking and surviving in the woods, because I know that’s not everyone’s idea of fun. I just think a lot of women are busy trying to fit into one of the many specific roles society has created for us, whatever that might be. The truth is, you can live outside, in between, and a mixture of these “expectations.” When you take a risk and do something you never thought you’d be capable of, you increase your confidence. As you gain confidence, you inspire others, but specifically other women, to do the same. Expect the unexpected!!
As I was finishing pulling out the tree stump, I felt really proud of myself. I felt strong. I felt capable. I felt independent. This is something our society tries to hide from us and convince us isn’t true about ourselves. Of course this didn’t just come from pulling out the tree, but also reflecting on all the work and effort I had put in to make myself stronger over the last couple years. I see a lot of women leaving the “strong” characteristic up to men to do it for them. This couldn’t be more tragic. Women are strong, and together we are even stronger.
“A strong woman is one who feels deeply and loves fiercely. Her tears flow as abundantly as her laughter. A strong woman is both soft and powerful, she is both practical and spiritual. A strong woman in her essence is a gift to the world.”Native American Saying
Ladies, it’s time we stop the nitpicking, gossiping, backstabbing, being so dependent on men, and embrace the beautiful gift of femininity we’ve been given. Femininity is defined in the English Dictionary as “qualities or attributes regarded as characteristic of women.” Let’s work together to show the world what women are capable of.
She is clothed with strength and dignity,Proverbs 31:25
and she laughs without fear of the future.