I bought a dress today, dear readers. It was a vision in cranberry, a vivid, full-skirted thing I had not seen the likes of before. Filling my arms with the weighty, glorious fabric, I spirited it to the counter and whisked it away before it could escape with anyone else. When I got home, I draped it over my clothes, in a haphazard fashion show for my husband, and twirled around the living room until I was dizzy. I told him in detail how lovely it was, and when he quit listening, I called my mother. I held it up in the light. I hugged it. Quite frankly, I’m surprised my husband isn’t jealous of it yet.
My love affair with dresses has been a surprisingly brief one. When I was younger, I hated dresses. You wouldn’t catch me in a dress, save for very special occasions. I hated girly, frilly, pink colored femininity in all its wonder. Not quite a woman myself, as a teen, I viewed myself as tough, and dresses just weren’t part of the uniform…or so I thought.
Looking back over history, a wide variety of women wore dresses, and they were still what I would consider tough. From English queens to saints, writers, activists, and more, women over the centuries have rolled up their dress sleeves, and lent their hands to shaping history. While bedecked in flowing skirts, women such as Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Mother Theresa, Louisa May Alcott, and so many more found their hands busy and their hearts giving of love. This is the kind of strength that moves mountains; this is real toughness.
Throughout my life, I have searched for the meaning of being a woman. I have fought against societal norms, beaten back against what I thought was the prison of my gender – and yet, I have always felt an emptiness at the bottom of it. What I didn’t realize was that part of what makes women great on the whole is our unique brand of strength. We may not be bound in muscle, we may not have the same qualities as men – however, we are by no means weak. We are mothers, sisters, daughters and wives. We are writers, artists, leaders, victors, and caregivers. Our possibilities are limitless, our hearts are warm, our thoughts are passionate, and no matter how soft our voices, our convictions speak loudly. Femininity never seemed stronger to me than at this very moment, my friends.
I will embrace my womanhood with all the passion and zeal that goes with it. I will think my thoughts, value my body, spirit, and mind, and join in the ranks of the multitudes before me, who saw femininity not as weakness, but an opportunity to show their strength. I will put on my dress and twirl, carefree and happy for the moment. Then, I will roll up my dress sleeves, and get to work. That is the real mark of courage – the drive to make something better.
To read more of Katrina’s reflections and insights on “The Life and Times of a Modern Housewife” please visit our website at www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Katrina’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.