I started my design business under the precept that the modern woman has a very different value system as compared to maybe the women of my grandmother’s era. Today’s woman, professional woman, all woman, characterizes a new definition of femininity, defined with no limits. I stand in awe at this real life “Wonder Woman”.
And then as I sat down for the initial consult with many of my clients, I began to understand a woman articulating the same fears, the same concerns, the same wants of any woman, at any time. I felt her expressing her truth, as concisely, as honestly, as openly, as any woman could at any point in time. I realized early on that I was privileged by what I do. I had a front row seat to an intimate show aptly titled, “The Identity of a Woman”.
I had a personal connection to understanding that woman. Hearing her wants, her fears actualized and verbalized, could help me reconcile my past. For years I had a skewed perception of my mother, and of this identity. In the mind of a child, and for that matter, in the mind of an adult emotionally stuck at a point in childhood, I kept asking myself, “If women are maternal creatures and protectors, why did my mother leave me when I needed her most, abandoned to that kind of love only a mother could give, creating a void that no one else could fill?”
On the road to discovery, somewhere between the past, the hurt, and the now, I came upon “self”; a loner, aimlessly walking, hoping to be found and guided back to meaning and purpose. It felt unwanted; I felt invalidated! I carried the burden of rejection, used it to feed my insecurities and fears and allowed myself to be mired in my dysfunction; too weak to take the time to find and connect to my “self”. But I was soon reminded this was and is the story of my clients, the story of many women, the story of my mother. Amidst their unfolding narratives, experiences expressed with great emotion, each client poignantly gave me insight to a woman’s mindset:
“I feel like I am not enough!”
“I don’t take time for myself!”
“Where am I in the equation?”
“I need a change!”
“I don’t feel like my space reflects who I am.”
I never would have guessed that my life-design would come full circle by being present, spiritually accessible, so connected to what I do through understanding other people’s experiences. And that to me is the essence of progressive womanhood. These modern mothers, wives, professionals, friends and lovers are on a movement toward an alignment with self and being cognoscente of the all-encompassing human experience we share. Against that, and more relevant to my mother’s situation, I also realized that if you don’t have a sense of self, you can’t give that which you didn’t know, at that point. I was blaming her for not being able to give me what I already had and have, my sense of self.
Beyond the aesthetics is an underlying emotional current, driving our impulses, our receptiveness to life and experience. And what I’ve learned, within my design cognition, is that the modern woman defines herself with a greater yearn for connecting with her “self”, even though she holds to many traditional values. I imagine she’s saying to herself, “I can get married, have children, run a household, be professionally successful, have an opinion that counts and most of all, make time for myself.”
With the ability to think freely and live in a world progressively stripped of oppressive social conditioning, the modern woman is at a point where she can define her life by who she truly is, rather than by what she is not. In the wake of my initial uncomfortable feelings toward a client’s tearful expression of gratitude, I am consistently reminded that she’s not just crying or being happy for a pretty room, but rather, she is seeing her “self” actualized in her space. Imagine how it feels to wear a pretty dress and the feeling you get from being confident about yourself? Now magnify that one thousand times as you find yourself engulfed by a space that positively reinforces all that you are.
On this journey, find your voice within a life designed, one room at a time.