Being Feminine Is Hard

Bhumika Bhatia
Bhumika Bhatia

I did not always embrace my feminine qualities. During college I was an anti-mainstream, artsy, alternative, tortured soul, cliche, feminist. I listened to bands like Hole, Garbage, and Sleater-Kinney. I read books by Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Parker, and Anis Nin. I drank too much coffee, smoked too many cigarettes, drank too much alcohol, ate horrible food, and did not give a damn about offending anyone.

If they were bothered it was their problem. They were too sensitive. If they didn’t like my over usage of the word “fuck” they could leave. If they didn’t like cigarette smoke they could walk 10 feet away until they didn’t smell it. If they didn’t like drinking they could keep their PSA propaganda to themselves. If they were religious bible thumpers they could keep their quotes to themselves and stay away from me.

I thought I was skinny enough, pretty enough, and nice enough. I didn’t think about self improvement or exercising. Accept me as I am or don’t be my friend. If a man didn’t like my thrift store dresses, rock band t-shirts, jeans, cardigans, and converse look; he didn’t have to ask me out. I didn’t style my hair, I cut it short often, and put it in a messy ponytail. I didn’t care if I had bad skin, didn’t wear foundation, or moisturize daily. I dyed my hair black and red often, got a tattoo, and ignored eye brow tweezing on a regular basis.

A few years ago made a New Years Resolution to be more girly and feminine. I bought more dresses from department stores. Many with floral prints, frilly flowers, or lace. I started wearing soft materials, pastel colors, and modest styles. I ditched the blue jeans and bought dress pants. I built up enough nerve to wear panty hose with skirts in the winter. I bought more high heel shoes and wore them often.

After I cut my hair into a pixie cut two years ago I vowed to grow it as long as I could tolerate. I didn’t mind a pixie cut, but my hair grew too fast to keep the style. Since then I have kept my hair long, read Pinterest hair tutorials, and done some wicked pin-up styles. I started wearing different make up. Softer colors instead of the raccoon eye look. Experimenting with red lipstick is a definitive moment in every woman’s life.

Overall my quality of life improved. I started eating better and exercising because it made me feel good. I drink less alcohol and drink quality wines paired with food. I put my former bartending experience to use with margaritas, martinis, and cocktails at home. I don’t drink beer to get drunk, I drink dark lagers and apple cider beers for the flavor. I don’t eat salads, vegetables, or low fat to be skinny. I follow recipes to make amazing dishes.

In embracing my own femininity I grew as a person. I defined femininity and adjusted my actions accordingly. While it started as an “what if” experiment it developed into much more. Femininity is not simplistic. If is not a decision to wear dresses and lipstick. Womanhood is mysterious, complex, exciting, and interesting. TC mark

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