As the world is shifting and the role of women becomes more open and far-reaching today, it is even more important for women to connect with each other in empowering, mature, loving support and friendship. Whether to help fill in the self-esteem gaps missing since girlhood, or to boost one’s confidence with some ‘that a girl!’ cheers during life’s transitions and rite-of-passages, or just for some heart-to-heart conversation—circle up the women-folk in your world! Attend to each other. Teach young girls not only how loving and supportive women can be for each other, but how satisfying the rewards are.
The young Diana may not have gathered ‘round women from her personal world during her own wedding planning time, but she reached out to women friends for supportive and nurturing company at other times of her life—especially when she needed to find her balance and direction again. And she gave as good as she got. Despite her royal status, the changing times swept into her world and the princess looked at her life with an independent eye and to her community of women friends to buoy her along.
For Diana, “…as the fantasy began to crumble,” Rosalind Coward, author of Diana: The Portrait, stated, “something more interesting began to emerge. In that era of female self-discovery, Diana, too, was a young woman forced into creating a working life and identity for herself.” Like women all over the world, the most glamorous woman of her time looked to see how to organize her private and public life, including motherhood (since she was a hands-on mother despite the old royal protocol) and a busy work schedule (public appearances and charity work were her duty and she was in constant demand.) And also like a lot of modern women then and now, Diana looked toward her personal happiness beyond children and work.Post-divorce, as she was re-focusing and re-defining her work commitments and re-assessing her motherly role, she spoke to Paul Burrell (her friend, butler and helpmate) about her boys and a secret wish for herself. “‘They have both been brought up with enormous love, support and direction,’…then added: ‘Now it is time to find my happiness…if I’m fortunate enough.’” You may not have the protocols of royalty or the schedule of a sought after princess to deal with in your life, but if you were peering through your full, busy, complicated life, what would “finding happiness” look like for you? At this time in her life, Diana felt as thought she’d lost herself and seemed ready to explore new paths of self-discovery. How would you find that sense of belonging to yourself again?
Quoting from Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoir, Eat, Pray, Love: “If I am to truly become an autonomous woman, then I must take over that role of being my own guardian.” What would it look like, sound like, feel like to be the true “guardian” of your own life? ~
[This is the first of a three-part excerpt from my book-in-progress, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: How Princess Diana Rescued the Damsel in Distress. It's taken from a section titled, "Women Attending Women." Part Two posted soon!]