Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

June 29, 2011

The Wisdom of Mrs. Fischer

Oh boy oh boy oh boy do I love Simcha Fishcer. She blogs. She writes for the National Catholic Register. She raises a troupe of kids. She wears pants. I'd like to give some sort of caveat, like: "I don't always agree with her, but I find her compelling" but the truth is, I usually do agree with her, and don't find her compelling, I find her hilarious and filled with common sense. Like:

+ Also, some men never think twice about marriage or babies until they find themselves 90% of the way there with the right woman—and then they step up and amaze everyone. So what you see when you’re dating is not necessarily exactly the same as what you’ll get when you’re married. And man and women grow and improve during the life of a marriage, too. The truth is, it’s kind of a crap shoot. We can make reasonable choices, but much about relationships is unpredictable... --Should I Marry Him

+ "I’m not, as I mentioned, especially hung up on men opening doors, specifically. But the idea that men do some special things for women, and women do some special things for men—sounds like a plan to make life tolerable." --The Art of Getting Hysterical About Gender

+ "Poverty saves you from foolish expenditures (unless you’re foolish enough to go into debt over things you don’t need): never once have we tasted the bitterness of buyer’s remorse as we survey the bill for the wrong kind of premium cell phone, useless time share condo, regrettable L-shaped leather couch in sea foam green, or one of those luxury alligators. Thanks, poverty!" --The Blessings of Poverty

+ "Only people with a mental illness would truly believe that you can achieve anything. People who actually get things done are the people who look at themselves and say, “Okey-doke. There are some things I’m good at, and many thousands more things that I am and always will be utterly unqualified to do. Starting tomorrow, my job is do the least amount of thrashing around and wasting of my parent’s tuition money as possible, while I figure out the difference between my very few strengths and my billions of weaknesses.

"'Then, I need to figure out if there’s any possible way I can do what it turns out I’m good at, and also be a decent human being. If possible, it would be wonderful if the things I’m good at, and which allow me to be decent, are also things which will earn me a salary.'

"And after you have that conversation with yourself, and preferably after you come up with a better plan than scrawling “FIX LIFE” on your memo pad, then you can go out drinking with your buddies.

"Because here’s the deal, you poor deluded masses of inchoate ambition: Freedom is for something." --My Dear Graduates

And don't miss a jewel of a piece, which is so fitting for us at TMS, What is a Catholic Feminist?

June 28, 2011

The Heart of the Matter

Agatha and I had a great discussion on Sunday night. Well, we have great discussions most nights. But the topic of this one turned to the topic of the heart and how various women understand how they are to guard it from or give it to a man. Naturally, as with all matters like this one, we didn't come to a resolution, but we did arrive at various insights from examining our own hearts and those of women we know.

The extremes:

1. "Hi, my name is ______. Here is my heart! Here is all of me!" I think some women tend to go all in when meeting someone. There is a natural desire for women to be SEEN. "See me. Accept me. Love me." We want to be viewed in full and accepted as is. Why risk spending time with someone or investing in someone if he's not going to love the most important parts of you? These types of thoughts feed into a natural inclination to disclose parts of our heart that are the deepest so as test a man's fight or flight instinct with us.

The pros of this? There is a real openness to dialogue and a willingness to be vulnerable. The negatives? You're asking too much too fast, risking significant rejection, and failing to help a man grow in the masculine virtue of working to earn your heart.

2. "Hi, my name is _____. That's all you're going to get from me." Some women completely close their hearts off from men. The reasons vary: vulnerability is the scariest thing in the world; previous relationships have left scars; we carry an idealistic sense that men need to fight these huge battles to win us. This is without mentioning that the art of flirting and the art of opening up is very difficult to master!

The pros? Hearts should be guarded. They are our most precious gift, and should only be given to men that we understand to be worthy to view them. The cons? We can easily set up these impossible gauntlets for men to run through in order to get a peak into our hearts, and by that time, if they actually get through the maze, they might just be too exhausted to continue.

The suggestion:

Agatha and I did agree that the virtue of chastity is a good model to follow in terms of revealing one's heart (and this goes for men, too!). Chastity is not abstinence, but is also does not clearly permit anything to be fair game. As one grows more intimate with someone at various stages of a relationship, one measures out appropriate gestures to indicate that growth. Likewise, a woman need not give her heart to a boyfriend in the way she would to a fiance, or a fiancé in the way she will in marriage twenty years down the road. There is growth and an ever-deepening revelation to be done.

June 22, 2011

If I Had a Million Dollars...

Well, you don't need a million dollars to get these fun summer trends. But you do need a few. But only a few! Agatha and I were talking about how much we love staying fashionable for a cheap buck. Here are a few suggestions to stay cool, stylish, and modest all at once:

1. The Maxi Dress: I just picked up two at T.J. Maxx for a combined total of $40. One was a brand I'd' never heard of, but another was Max Studio. Both are adorable, very comfortable -- and as always with loose material that is somewhat structured -- flattering.

2. Bandeaus: Sometimes tank tops under dresses or other shirts are cumbersome, hot, and leave lines. I'm a huge fan of these easy layering pieces and picked up a few at Nordstrom. They're also available at Macy's and Target.

3. Wrap-around scarves. I love this trend, because sometimes you want some color around your neck, but a necklace just won't work. Regular winter and fall scarves are hard to arrange with summer fabrics (I think I've officially lost our male readers at this point). My suggestion is the Junior Department at Nordstrom and Ann Taylor Loft (educators get a 15% discount!)

Happy Summer Shopping!!!

June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Father's Day is a wonderful day to remember our dads and to thank them for all that they've given us. The Magdalene Sisters have been especially formed in our femininity by the attentiveness, gentleness, and at times real, tough love of our own fathers. I'd bet that Agatha and Edith would agree that to make it as a lay, Catholic, and modern woman in this world, a solid relationship with your father (or a father-figure) is a key ingredient, or at least, is something that can only help you navigate this life.

It seems to me that this is only so because a woman must be tenderly reminded of her beauty, worth, and gifts that have been given to her by her heavenly Father, and a dad who is able to model that love, as best he can, is a great mirror of what a filial relationship with God looks like. There is so much I owe to my own dad, who not explicitly with words of faith or theology, but instead with human virtue, showed me that I am good, beautiful, and a prize to be won. (In fact, my dad often used quotes from The Godfather to convey this, telling me that I "am the hunted one," in terms of being pursed by men instead of doing the pursuing, which is a reference to a character who feels he is going to be gunned down. Oh well. It worked!)

A father or a father-figure is a gift in modeling for us our adoption as sons and daughters of God, which Christ ultimately gives us.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going, you know the way. I will not leave you orphans.

Jn. 14:1-3; 14-18

Happy Father's Day to all of our fathers, priestly fathers, and men who have convinced us that we are daughters of God!
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