What is Femininity without Accessories?

I Forgot My Chanel Bag

Out on the trail, it gets interesting what a woman will carry 2,000 miles for preservation of femininity rather than function.  Earrings?  A razor?  A mirror?  Make-up?  And for what?

I consider myself a visually conscious yet not a “high maintenance” kind of woman.  I can dress up professionally or elegantly with the best of them but at the same time can not touch my hair for a month if no outing calls for it.  I did chop off half of my hair for the hike but that was mostly for own personal annoyance prevention with its weight and length on the trail.

Should I Hike in Heels?

I first brought a makeup compact.  Maybe I’ll need the coverup I thought, anticipating an unsightly blemish.  It’s not necessarily that I don’t want to have other people see, I would just feel less awkward with coverup if need be.  And earrings.  And a tweezer (for ticks entirely of course).

The compact lasted about a week.  The weight of the mirror and makeup together was too costly.  And with the freezing temperatures the first week I probably couldn’t have felt my fingers enough to manage the compact very well.  Frozen fingers or a flawless face?  Hmmm… priorities.

The earrings were quickly lost in the shuffle of packs, changing, and hats.  I bought another little flower pair at Walmart for 50 cents.  It just seemed fun at the time and was!  I saw real flowers that looked just the same later up the trail.  I still tweezed my eyebrows.  I bought a smaller tiny tube of coverup.  I still shaved my legs.  But so little of my other rituals remained.

I didn’t paint my eyes.  I didn’t style my now short muff to be playful and fun.  I had no scarves (well I brought one, but ended up sending it home) to adorn my neckline.  I like pointy flat shoes and tennis shoes with deep hues of color.

With only one clothing option that depended nothing on my mood, I noticed a loss in expression through my attire but couldn’t decide if it was rooted in something healthy or something not.  Where does my femininity lie anyways?  In my toenail color?  In the curl of my hair?  Or maybe in the shade of my blush or the curl of my lashes.  I had none of these left with me and so it must surely be found elsewhere.

What’s Left?

In a void of external expression of femininity (even my shoes were men’s) I began to reflect on other things.  My femininity was still expressed in my person.  The tone of my voice towards my husband.  The focus and extent of my need for conversation.  The way I helped him do things and he me.  How about apart from a man?  What is a woman without her accessories?

My womanhood is expressed through the way I climb mountains.  My womanhood is expressed through experiencing strong emotions and overcoming any obstacle in them.  My womanhood is seen in my endurance and strength.  Without all the externals there is no less femininity found in me.  What is a woman without her accessories?  She is still completely herself, without any facade, without any hiding.  She is completely herself, exposed, courageous and beautiful.

I still found a cute pair of earrings on the trail in the Shenandoahs and loved wearing them the rest of my hike.  🙂

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Comments 3

  • Joshua Johnson : May 26th

    I LOVE this article. Love it.

    • Heather Q : May 26th


  • Bob : May 30th

    Heather, what a great post. You are a gifted writer. Without a good picture of you, I know that you are beautiful. Makeup, no makeup. You have an inner beauty that shines through. Joel, you are a very , not lucky, but blessed man. You must be very special too though. Wishing you both happiness and good health as you attempt this journey together. Happy, happy trails!


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