Sometimes I sit and think of creative titles for posts when I really have nothing to write at the time. THIS is one of those posts. In the back of my mind I felt like I needed to address why my nails are seldom polished and why thongs ain’t really the move at this point in my life. Some ladies are top notch all the time. I might be top notch a good two to three days out of the week. Because life.
So today, the substance of the post came to me at church.. At the risk of ticking people off… a risk I’m willing to take… I’m going to deconstruct (read: rant about) one of THE most annoying things that a man can do to a woman.
I went to church this morning for a prayer service. I woke up with intercession on my mind, but the kids delayed me so I arrived 30 minutes after I had planned. Happens.
My hair was in a ponytail, and I was wearing light make-up. I was wide awake, but hardly feeling social enough to grin the way people are expected when they enter the house of the Lord. I don’t know if it was my serious demeanor (felt more “focused” to me), or the mannish nature of the speaker of the hour… but dear God… he rubbed me the wrooooooooong way.
His rebuke for the attendees’ untimeliness lingered into a story about a woman who often came to church unkempt. He felt it was a disservice to allow her to continue looking slovenly, so he told boldly told her “Men don’t like that. You need to do your hair. Paint your nails. Put on some make-up. ”
Now had any other person in the church told this story, I might have shouted in agreement. A woman should always look clean and well put together. But in this case, at this time, from this person, my only thought was “Sir, you are no prize yourself.”
To be perfectly clear, I have little issue with what the man said. The problem for me is how he said it, and the fact that he felt it was ok to retell it. Whatever happened to speaking the truth in love? Why does everything have to be a rebuke? Why the heck do you think I’m going to say “amen” to this foolishness? You don’t understand what that woman has going on in her life, and chances are, you don’t want to because making rash statements as the ones you made validates your masculinity. *coughs “lame”*
Every woman wants to look and feel beautiful. I’m no different.
There’s a woman deep inside of me that longs to have every hair in place from sun up to sun down. She wants to apply her mascara confidently, knowing that it won’t spread under her eyes and leave her looking like a sleepy raccoon by noon. She longs to smell like her $90 bottle of perfume until the time she takes her evening bath with oils of frankincense and myrrh. There’s a woman in me that wants to have her nails perpetually sparkling with OPI’s Hawaiian Orchid. She even hopes to wear light silky panties that are invisible beneath her slacks and curvy mom jeans.
That woman can dream.
But this woman– she’s cooking and cleaning, wiping boogers, scrubbing tubs, baking cookies, and fighting battles. If a chip in my nail polish indicates a lack of womanliness, I’m certain you haven’t looked deep enough. Take your shallow, non-discerning behind elsewhere. (Having said that, chipped polish is worse than no polish at all, so I seldom wear any at all.)
And if my panty lines (believe me, they drive me nuts too) aren’t as enticing as the jiggle that only reveals itself with meager undergarments, I have one thing to say to you. “EYES UP, MISTER!” These hindparts need medium to full coverage because I’m more than blessed– if you catch my drift.
Bottom line, ladies and gents… A woman or man should look good, but don’t let the superficial block you from seeing the true nature of that person. Before you know it, some fella is going to scoop that lady up, pay for my hair appointments and mani-pedis, and hire a maid to do all her cleaning just so she doesn’t chip my polish while a superficial suitor will end up with an attractive mate who is less than interested in meeting his or her needs.
I don’t need to preach any further, do I? Good, because I’m out of breath. *wipes sweat from brow & drops white hanky*
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
This entry is for the married ladies and those in serious relationships. For several reasons, I’ve neglected to write about my experience as a married woman. The Bible says a poor man’s wisdom is despised, so I thought no one would want to hear how you should or shouldn’t interact with your husband from a woman who doesn’t have one anymore. There’s no shame on my end, but certainly, people have said they didn’t want my opinion because I failed at it.
But where I may have a void in your eyes, I’ve got a wealth of experience and understanding in my own. So take it or leave it… just read it, and decide later.
Life, for me, is better on this side. And some of you ladies are married to a man with the same or similar *ahem* demeanor as my ex-husband. You need to know how to handle him whether you choose to stay with him or not.
I’ve spent some time in my singleness wondering how this love thing is supposed to go. After applying the truth to my failed experience(s), this is what I believe.
A man and woman meet and become friends. Their friendship grows and neither person expects more from the other than they ought. They’re simply getting to know each other. Because they like what they find in each other, they decide to enter an exclusive romantic relationship where they can grow together with the future possibility of being one. As the couple becomes more committed to one another, the intimacy between them increases. They protect the relationship by never allowing the intimacy to exceed the level of commitment. In doing so, the man expresses his sincere, heartfelt, “I’ll die for you” type of love for the woman in constructive ways. Once she knows his love is real, she learns how to demonstrate her love for him. The couple marries, and the woman, as her expression of love to the man, willingly submits to him. She knows she is safe, that he won’t harm her, that he will always protect her because he has already demonstrated this WITHOUT marital benefits. So if he did it then, surely he will do it now. Woman says “I can trust this man, so I will love him and submit to him.”
Hindsight is 20/20. And you’se married nah….
Looking back to your courtship may help identify where things didn’t go quite the right way, but doesn’t tell you how to fix the situation you’re already in nor does it tell you how to change the future. You’ve exchanged those til-death-do-us-part’s and you meant them. But you may often feel that submitting to him just doesn’t feel right. You know you’re supposed to let him lead, but his leadership abilities may be in question. But first, let’s chat about what submission looks like.
Or better yet, what it doesn’t. Submission is not doing everything he says, being everything he wants you to be, giving when he demands that you give, and taking whatever he demands you take. It is not compliance, nor does it force one to become a doormat. You are an adult women with your own sensibilities, personality, and goals. Submission simply means you support his mission for building a life for your family. In submitting to your mate, you gladly defer to him and support him as the leader and protector of your home.
At the risk of writing a blog that’s entirely too long, I will make the following statements and allow you to dissect them for yourself.
I was going to write this deep, philosophical narrative about the moments of uncertainty in our lives, but that will wait for a day when I have much more time to think. Instead, I’m going to tell a story… a nutty story… a story that will make NO sense to at least 70% of my readers… so 7 out of all of you 10 that actually cared enough to click the Facebook link won’t get it. Read it anyway! You may be able to help someone else…
Three years ago almost to the date, I was extremely worn out from full-time grad school, full-time teaching, extra responsibilities at work, full-time mommying of a two and three-year old, and full-time failing at taking care of myself. My husband at the time was away on business, and I was beyond exhausted. I let my tiredness slip into anger, and before long I was in a full-fledged fit of rage.
I was ticked at everybody. The kids were being… well, kids. I was mad at their dad for being wherever he was for a month. I was just mad! The dang laundry wouldn’t fold itself. I had been let down by friends and family, and the only thing I could think to do was to get away from everyone and everything. Spring Break was just a few days away so I booked a trip to Atlanta. (I had a ball while I was there, but that’s not the point.)
Through my continuous fussing, crying and pouting, I packed my bags and made arrangements for the little ones to stay with their grandmother.
I started to blame God (silly woman that I am) for my feeling like a doormat. I felt totally unloved and unappreciated because of disappointment and hurt. People just kept letting me down, and the most recent wound made the last one hurt all the more. I blamed myself… I just couldn’t do anything right.
Now don’t get me wrong. I was to blame. I had made poor decisions on how people shared in my life. Too many were too close and demanded too much but provided nothing good for me. But they were wrong as well. There’s no doubt about that.
In a weak attempt to release my anger, I fired my cell phone across the bedroom. An “unmentionable” person had let me down for the last time. That same day I loaded up the little people to find to the closest Sprint store. What if that “unmentionable” person decided to call me back? I should be available, right? (Put your judgmental finger away… you’ve got some “unmentionables” too.)
The entire 15 minutes of the drive I cried. I sobbed and snotted… snotted and sobbed… until a sweet, tiny, squeaky voice behind me asked “Mommy, why are you crying?”
That threw me deeper into frustration. I wanted to reply “I don’t know why I’m crying!” like the women on the postpartum depression commercials do, but that would’ve been ridiculous.
Yep. That was the truth. I was beyond tired. You’ve been tired too, or maybe you haven’t experienced deep-seated disappointment on top of exhaustion and anger. Perhaps you’ve been the cause of it. If any of us think hard enough, we will find ourselves having played both roles.
So I get to stoplight on Staples Mill near the 7-11… I forget the name of the road there, but I’ll never forget that moment. To my left side I noticed a big white van. On the van was printed an ad that said “Doormat People. You can walk on us.”
My first thought… “I should get a job there. That’s something I actually can do!” My second thought was to my Maker: “Et tu, Brute?”
My third thought was a boisterous laugh, and it came out me so fast and so hard that it shattered the disappointment that I felt moments before. Was God going to walk all over me too? Of course not! But He was teaching me that if I tolerated foolishness, He would tolerate it for me. How could He deliver me out of something that I welcomed and permitted for myself?
What people fail to realize about God is that even though He is sovereign, He isn’t pushy. So in His infinite wisdom, He whipped my backside for blaming Him for my faults and for allowing others to abuse my kindness by arranging a few moments in time where He seemed to step His all-powerful, holy foot across my pitiful face. Then, I was able to ask Him for help, repent for foolishness, and laugh at myself…
Shortly after the giggling began I heard, “Mommy, why are you laughing now?”
Since that day, I’ve searched several times for the Doormat People… once just now. I can’t find them! Maybe they went out of business because they let their customers get away with not paying their bills? I don’t know… I just can’t find them!
Just the same, I’ll hold on to the lesson. If we lay ourselves down at the mercy of those who have no interest in our well-being, we will always lose. No one can save you from yourself, but you… with help from the Maker of course, but the decision is still yours. Even though friends and family love us, the best will most likely dance around the ugliness of your face under other people’s feet, and the worst will exploit it.
And as soon as I find out what happened to the Doormat People, I’ll be one day closer to sanity. Until then I’m still coming out of krazy…
Photo by Gregg O’Connell
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