Ballet and Feminism

Christianity, Feminism, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Strength, Stretch, Work

We hear a lot about equality today. We hear a lot about women’s rights. We hear a lot from women who are loud and proud about this and that. Due to having a few friends in Women and Gender studies (one is a professor), I have learned that a war is still waging over a woman’s place in the American society. I sort of thought that ship had pretty much sailed by the 1970s, but I (reluctantly) stand corrected. 
We all come from different backgrounds. Some of us had fathers who let us down by preferring other women (or pictures of them) to our moms. That makes us angry. Some of us had fathers who said we couldn’t go to college because we are women. That makes us angry. Some of us have been abused in one way or another because we have two x chromosomes. That makes us angry.
And that is okay. 
However, what is not okay is to go through life like a scared, arch-backed cat pawing at everything, namely male, who dares even slightly cross us. Once an acquaintance of my husband, upon the first time we met, waltzed in the room and said, “Hello, young lady.” I’m sure he meant nothing…but I mean seriously, what if I had said, “Hello, old man“? Not so much. But I just smiled and let it go. 
And what about this new trend for men to wear soft porn on their t-shirts? To me, THAT is offensive…in SO many ways. But here’s the thing, if I go around like a wild banshee yelling at everyone who offends me,  I will probably be yelling a lot, and I will certainly not win any respect. 
True strength always has grace. It is like a ballerina. On stage they look so light and carefree. Their gracefulness entrances the audience. But what what makes them beautiful on stage is their strength, gnarly toes, and dedication to working through pain. 
Ballet hurts, let me tell you. After taking a sixteen-year sabbatical from ballet classes, I started up this past year. It was sort of my personal “Mt. Everest” to climb, and I have learned so much–about determination, poise, and plain ol’ humility. Trying to do the splits next to ten-year-olds who have no hips? Yeah. 
Every class I choke down some humble pie, but I also strengthen my muscles and learn how to hold myself up just a little bit more, and I learn how to fall out of my pirouette just a little bit less. I want to look lovely on stage one day, but first, I must get stronger. I must bend and stretch and hold my body in ways that feel extremely rigid and unnatural.

Beauty is always rooted in strength.
It has been an interesting road for women. That is for sure. But the women who have truly changed the world for the better, the women who have truly touched my heart, personally, are not the ones who keep screaming or refuse to wear bras. They are women who have lived in a graceful way, not just 1950s-Good-Housekeeping graceful, but truly graceful, extending a warm smile, a helping hand, and a hope for the future. Why? Because they were strong. 
And the strongest women are always surrendered to Jesus Christ, because He defines what it means to be human, and what it means to be a woman.
“Strength and honor are her clothing…she opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.” Proverbs 31:25a-26, NKJV
Keep the Faith, 
Audrey Ann
“Being a Christian woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but it does make me a different kind of woman.” ~Elisabeth Elliot

Photo Credit: nymag.com, photographer: Henry Leutwyler

Brave[ry]

Bravery, Christian womanhood, Christianity, Work

Bravery.  It can look different every time. The word brings images of everything from a soldier jumping out of a plane, a little girl singing her first solo at church, or a man confessing his affair to his wife. 
“He who is brave is free” said Seneca. To be brave is not to be without fear, but to allow that which is more important to break the chains of fear. You may still fall flat on your face, but the point is that you are not bound by those chains.

I remember a similar sentiment mentioned in Disney’s Princess Diaries, based on Meg Cabot’s novel. How I resonated with the awkward, opinionated Mia. In a letter from her deceased father, he inspired her to take courage, not because her fears were not a reality, but because her courage was a better one. 

We have all had a lot of fears, haven’t we? Thoughts of what people think of us, looking like a fool, being a “failure” wrap those chains of fear around us. Goodness, I have been scared of bringing a birthday cake to Eric’s work, because I didn’t know if they would like it and then think I was a bad baker. Ridiculous. I have been scared of taking dancing lessons, of submitting articles for publication, of opening up my heart to others.

It is always a question of importance. Is my fear more important then trying? Rarely. Have I looked silly in my dance classes? You better believe it. Ha! But I would have been even sillier not to try. Once you get past that fear of failure, you can truly be as ol’ Seneca said, free

Jesus is all about us being free, being free in Him to go and do in His Name and with a passion always for Him. We can be brave, because we know that if we are seeking to honor Him, He’ll be right there. It’s the reason for the risk that matters. And that will keep us going, even when the thrill has worn off. Are we jumping for an adrenaline rush, or for a purpose? Yes, sometimes the mountain just needs to be climbed, but you had better have a fairly concrete reason why on day 278, when it is getting so difficult and monotonous. 
The first step is about bravery. The next steps are always about discipline. So in this new year, let’s attempt to grow in both. It can be a beautiful thing. 
Keep the Faith,
Audrey Ann

Image credit: google images/goodmenproject.com