It's weird being a 'woman' [girl]. If I look outside my little bubble I am surrounded by conflicting messages that give the impression that being a real woman is learning how to be/think/feel two completely opposite things at the same time.
To help me explain I have brought along some examples from my experiences of being a woman. (see, a woman is always prepared. That's why we have handbags)
Warning: gross generalisations ahead
Be yourself, be confident. No wait, don't be too confident that's a bit intimidating.
The best way to teach those sex-crazed men is to declare your femininity by taking your clothes off and showing the world how sexy you are. But don't be a slut.
Be friendly, although remember that if you talk to him for too long you will have to reward his tremendous effort in being nice to you by going home with him. It's only fair.
If a guy toots at you as he drives past, looks you up and down as you're walking down the street or grabs your bum on the dance floor, take it as a compliment! Clearly he must think you're worthwhile.
Pointless crushes are fun, but it would be better if you found a husband. I mean, don't let your whole identity be tied up in a man. But finding a husband is one of the most important things you will do, so if you haven't taken advantage of the vast number of single guys that you meet in your schooling and/or church then you've already failed.
While making yourself sufficiently attractive to lure in a husband and become a real person, also ensure that you know how to cook and clean because that will make you the complete package. And in between serving your man and producing babies, have a career too because that's what all the independent women are doing these days.
And of course, make sure you look good naked.
Let the over-analysing begin…
There are a million and one reasons why this irritates me, because as a woman it is my prerogative to make things as complicated as possible.
Of course I hate getting treated as if my looks and my more grab-able appendages are public property. I hate that if I dress up it is assumed I am trying lure an unsuspecting man into my woman-trap. I hate the implication that my husband-less state is because I just haven't been trying hard enough. Conversely, I get frustrated with the assumption that because I want to be married I am desperate and would settle for anyone.
And if you think that's over-thinking it, imagine living in my brain 24/7. Yikes.
But the reason it frustrates me the most is that I'm going to disappoint you. That image you have created of me based on my looks or the way I dress, that's not actually who I am. And take it from me, the bikini model body you have in your head certainly doesn't match what's underneath.
I am woman, hear me… being a woman… or something
I think maybe the trick to being a woman isn't trying to be all of these things, it's trying to block them all out while you develop who you actually are – without the labels and expectations. It's remembering that no matter what influences try to weigh-in on your life (including myself) you are smart enough to figure out what and who are actually important to you.
Because there is no such thing as 'a' woman. 'Woman' is a fluid concept, something that means something different to everyone. We make our own definition. I'm sure many of my beliefs, behaviours and dance moves seem completely ridiculous to the next person, but I guess that's half the fun of living in this crazy world.
As I grow into this 'woman' I hope simply to be authentic. I hope to be a woman that honours God and lives with compassion, integrity and a touch of awesome.
I also hope to be a surprise. A woman who can tell you the name of the bright red lipstick she is wearing, as well as the types of nails that are holding up your house. A woman who can change her outfit 20 times before she's happy, but is also strong and decisive under pressure. A woman who can sass you any day of the week, but will be the first one there with cake and wine when everything turns upside down.
Or maybe I'm still just a girl. Woman. No girl. Ah screw it, I can't decide. Anyone for chocolate?
Casey Murray works in marketing for a company that sells nail guns, where she eats large amounts of chocolate and wears pretty dresses in an attempt to avoid becoming 'one of the boys.' In her spare time she likes having inappropriate conversations with friends and writes to try and make sense of it all.
Casey Murray's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/casey-murray.html