Bright Maidens Calendar

Hello folks! I’m alive… for now. I’m just popping in to share with you an exciting development…

The Bright Maidens have created a Google Calendar! We’re posting our topics ahead of time, so those who like to plan ahead (my peeps) can be in the know. To receive these calendar updates and to view the calendar in your own calendar, email us here!

Update: Chloe tells me that she clicked on the “+Google Calendar” button at the bottom of this and it added itself to her calendar. Don’t you love technology?:

Revealing

Sexy vs. Desirable
Elizabeth at Startling the Day

The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

I own a dozen cardigans.

My fashion sense has remained unrefined throughout my life, but it has wiggled in and out of levels of modesty.

Let’s face it, my mother dressed me for the first ten years. In fifth grade, I struck out for the sake of independence and wore a lot of vests. In high school, I wore a uniform during the day and a swimsuit in the afternoon at practice.

At the beginning of college, I wore a lot of t-shirts and exercise bottoms to class and to the movies with my sober friends. After I began partying, on “going out nights,” I wore more revealing, tighter clothing.

“Don’t show them everything you’ve got. Leave some for the imagination,” my late grandmother would preach to her granddaughters.

There’s some irony here. No, my belly button isn’t pierced.

When my sisters, cousins, or I wore a shirt cut too low, my 5’2″ grandmother would pace over to us, poke her finger down any cleavage, and chirp, “Woooop!” If this happens, she said, it was time to rethink the clothing choice.

My spunky, slightly inappropriate grandmother wanted others to see her granddaughters for who they are first, not for their packaging.

My woooop-worthy wardrobe progressed like this until I got tired of partying, stopped going out often, and started wearing “adult” clothing to class.

To me, this meant unnecessary layers of drooping fabric, no matter how unflattering. Vague cardigans became my staple.

They say when the economy starts to tank, it takes the skirts down with it. When the economy recovers, mini skirts are all the rage. My clothing choices mirrored my emotional economy directly.

I wanted to become entirely undesirable and unsexy so as not to accidentally use my body for attention.

Rather than placing my worth on my body by revealing more of it, I overcorrected and placed my worth on my body by excessively covering it up. It was a form of punishment for my past by lowering the confidence of my present self.

My earlier begging of “look at me” switched tracks to “look away from me.”

As we explored with “The Dress” and “The Interior” posts, God didn’t give women gifts unique to our femininity to be ashamed of them. We mustn’t disparage the gifts God gave us as dirty and lust-inciting. We are women for a reason and those of us who are called to marriage were made with our husbands in mind.

There is always going to be someone who finds something desirable about you. There is always going to be a characteristic that someone is going to find sexy or desirable. It could be the way you wear your neckline down to your belly button, or it could be the way your glasses flatter your face.

Desirability and sexiness overlap; the distinction is respect for person.

The trick is to avoid letting what you put on your body distract others from your feminine genius. It is also important to avoid letting your clothing distract you from your own feminine genius.

When you’re staring at your closet, err on the side of classy rather than sexy. Think refined instead of revealing. Flatter your feminine genius without thinking it resides in your body.

Wooop.

I have confidence in confidence alone!

TBM Topic 16: What is the distinction between being sexy and being desirable?

“I have confidence in confidence alone!” by Julie Robison
“Sensible, Courageous, and Very Beautiful” by Trista (a.k.a. Megan Fox) at Not a Minx, Moron, or a Parasite
“Revealing” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We’re here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion!

Julie Andrews is dead sexy in The Sound of Music. Putting aside the obvious bias of sharing a name with said actress, her portrayal of Fraulein Maria showed us that life is worth embracing in any circumstances.

Her confidence, more than anything, is what drew people to her. She does not back down when the children play pranks on her, has the family say grace before dinner, and works within the boundaries she’s given. She wore a heinous dress and didn’t mind. It was her personality, positive outlook and amazing voice brings the children around and helps heal the loss of their mother.

Maria & the Captain minuettes in Salzburg

Captain Von Trapp picked Maria over Baroness Schroeder. I do not think this should be taken lightly- the Baroness was gorgeous, wealthy, powerful and had the right connections. Maria? Not so much.

In one of the many books the real Maria wrote about her life, I was always tickled by a story she recalled about being first married to the Captain, and trying to be like his first wife to please him. After the Captain teased her about how slowly she was knitting, he suggested they go for a bike ride instead. She refused, since his first wife had not been active. But what the Captain wanted is for Maria to love as selflessly as his first wife did, which she already did, and what he loved best about Maria was Maria herself. So off they rode!

Maria was no bombshell beauty. But can you imagine the Baroness crossing the Alps to escape the Nazis? If you don’t believe me, then ask any male: survival skills are sexy. These skills may include killing bugs (small and large), making decisions, athletic ventures and standing up for yourself.

Sexiness is more often externally shown. A person’s looks, confidence and general demeanor and personality can warrant a second look at a person one may usually scan over in a full room. Desire, then, is a deeper attraction.

Desire, however, can be good and bad.

For example: A girl walks into a room. Two guys see her. One thinks, wow. What a beautiful girl. I’d love to get to know her better. Second guy thinks, wow. What a beautiful girl. I want her.

As a female, I’d prefer the first guy. He’s interested in the whole person, opposed to the second guy, who desires her body or action more than her personhood. Objectifying another person, male or female, is wrong. It puts worth in shallow qualities, and demeans the very person one claims to like.

Men and women want to be desired. Sexiness, then, can be a precursor to desire, rightly aligned. There is nothing wrong with being sexy or wanting to be desired. To make it one’s purpose, and with a disregard for love or the other human beings who are present however, is a distortion of a person’s inherent goodness. If one wants to be sexy by wearing the bare minimum, they are leading their brother or sister in Christ into tempting thought or actions. That is not loving behavior, and leads the desire away from goodness.

Look! Salzburg was expecting me!

Take Fraulein Maria again– when the Baroness was insecure, she told Maria about how the Captain kept watching her. This made Maria uncomfortable- she was there for the children, but was having feelings for the Captain. It was this desire that drove her away and, eventually, brought her back.

Sexiness comes in all shapes and sizes, but desire dwells in all of us. Just as we desire a deeper relationship with God, so we desire another human to be our companion. As Blessed John Paul II wrote in Love and Responsibility, “The value of a person is always greater than the value of pleasure.”

What do you think? Does sexiness leave something to be desired? How does one discern desire?

Bright Maidens: Sensible, Courageous, and Very Beautiful



The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

Topic: “What is the distinction between being sexy vs. being desirable?”

Check out our Facebook page for guest posts!


“Now the girl is sensible, courageous, and very beautiful.”  
– St. Raphael, describing Sarah to Tobiah
I am not Megan Fox.
When I was in college, a group of guys used to call me “Megan Fox.”  Though they meant it to be flattering, I always felt uncomfortable with the nickname.  “I don’t really look like her,” I’d say with a laugh, hoping they’d agree and forget it.  You see, I’d never heard anyone saying something about Megan Fox’s brain or the tender way she cared for her then-boyfriend/now-husband’s son.  No, she was reduced to one word: sexy.  Or two words: smoking hot.
Did I want to be viewed the same way?  No, thanks!  Although it’s nice to be considered attractive, sexuality has to be integrated and viewed in light of the total person.  It is relational in that way.  Taken apart from the whole person, it becomes objectification, the reduction of a person to one aspect: one’s ability to have sex.

There was another way I wanted to be viewed, though I wasn’t able to articulate it then.  I wanted to be desirable, to be someone described as “having pleasing qualities or properties…worth seeking…attractive.”  (That’s from the dictionary, not a faith book, friends!)  Desirable doesn’t crown sexuality as the most important aspect of a woman, nor does it deny sexuality.  It just integrates it.  You are wanted for more than your body!  You are worth more than your body shape or size!  You’re a woman a man can pursue, not just a woman who can arouse.  


Having Pleasing Qualities.

As Catholic women, we are called to imitate Our Blessed Mother.  In the conclusion of Mulieris Dignitatem, Pope John Paul II said Mary is the model ” in the matter of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ.”  The pleasing qualities we are to have are not based on fashion, technological skill, degrees, or abilities.  We are to be women of prayer, who are full of virtues, and treat others with honesty, kindness, and love.  We are to be totally open to the Holy Spirit, to invite others to be Saints, and to encourage them to union with Christ.


Worth Seeking. 

As Catholic women, we are secure in the Lord.  With that beautiful stability, we do not need to chase men and seek their approval as an affirmation of our lives.  Even when it is lonely, we are content to be women who are worth being sought, so that only the bravest and brightest of men pursue us.  We value sexuality and invite others to do the same.  This is a stark contrast to the hook up culture, where no one, especially men, needs to pursue, discern, abstain, or sacrifice. 
  

Attractive.


It is not our place as friends and girlfriends to be sexually suggesting with the men in our lives.  Men don’t need any additional graphics or words to throw a wrench in their efforts to live chastely.  They need women who respect and aid their desire to live chastely; in turn, they will do the same for us.

This doesn’t mean we have to hide our beauty and our sexuality, either!  We just integrate it and ask others to follow our example.  One day when we’re married, sexiness with be an aspect of our chaste lives, but at this time it has to be kept on the down low.
 

I have a really good excuse, promise!

So, I didn’t go to my parish picnic.
 
I know, I know!  Tsk, tsk, Trista. 
 
I had to attend the Welcome Mass and Family BBQ at my siblings’ high school,which overlapped with the parish picnic, and then took a seat for the AMAZING We are the Beggars Tour, featuring Audrey Assad, Ike Ndolo Band, and missionary Ennie Hickman of Adore Ministries.  The event was hosted by Adelphi University’s Newman Club, so a big thanks to them.  
 
Now, I’m sure I’ll get some tsks for this, too, but I was not very familiar with either performers before last night.  I’m now a solid fan!  They were wonderful!  
 
Click here to find out if the tour is swinging by you!
 
Audrey:
 
 
Ike Ndolo Band:

Being Single.

Check out my post on Being Single over at Virtuous Planet!.


This weekend is my parish picnic, and I’m having a hard time deciding if I should attend. I’m part of the parish family, so I have a place, and I should be there. But I’m also a never-been-married Catholic adult, and in the past, at previous picnics, I’ve felt left out. As I’ve stood around looking for a way to introduce myself, I’ve seen married couples chatting with other married couples; families who know each other from school, sports, and Religious Ed; kids running around like crazy; older parishioners sharing jokes; and then…me.

I am one of the 13 million never-been-married Catholic adults in the United States, and I don’t always feel like I fit in. We are an odd bunch. Though we can be grouped as “never-been-married,” that is where most of our similarities end. We have a variety of needs, a variety of faith formation experiences and knowledge, and a large age gap. There are never-been-married Catholics who are twenty-four (hello!) and never-been-married Catholics who are sixty. For some, “never-been-married” is a transitional state; for others, it’s permanent, but the catch is we don’t really know which state is ours. Overall, it’s hard to pin us down.

I would love to have more married couples chime in!


The Next Bright Maidens Post Will Be…

Topic number 16 will be “What is the distinction between being sexy vs. being desirable?”

Let’s get those posts in next Tuesday, folks! Post on (and LIKE!) our TBM Facebook page and tweet the Bright Maidens too!

Do y’all have any topics you’d like to see us write on? Leave a comment or send an e-mail!

I’ll post about Germany soon too. It was an amazing trip and I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to travel with my sister. We stayed in Munich and Berlin in Germany, and went to Neuschwanstein Castle and Salzburg, Austria in the week we were together. I spent six hours in the Frankfurt airport too, which was a trip in itself.

If y’all could keep my part-time job search in your prayers too, that would be great. I have tons of writing and reading to do for work, and I’m trying to keep that happy balance of work, looking for more work and sleep. I also have an interview with Pat Gohn for her Among Women podcast on Thursday– I’ll post it here when it goes up!

RCIA started up again last night! I am the youngest team member. We have a new priest in charge, too, who knew my last name was pronounced like Robinson, but without the “n” in the middle. I think that means we are going to be best friends. Please keep all inquirers into the faith in your prayers!

Busy week, but blessed to be able to keep up. Have a great Tuesday, folks!

UPDATE: See Bryan Kemper’s blog for Fr. Pavone’s statement! Sports Illustrated published a perfectly wonderful and inspirational story about a guy who got shot in the head and forgave his aggressor. Oh, here are the all-time worst accents in movies.