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Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Musings on happiness, grumpiness, and modesty

This blog could be called "have lap-top will travel", or, "woman with computer". Here are two women in the 1950s with an early IBM computer. Love the dresses and the shoes!

I have noticed something in my travels. There are locations where people are consistently happier or consistently unhappier than people in other areas. I have been wondering about this phenomenon. Do happy people congregate in one area and grumpy people in another? Maybe unreal expectations create grumpiness.

I have also noticed the sad disappearance among youth of culture and manners. Two young women yesterday, one from America and one from another country were rude to me, simply because they have not learned manners or a gentle manner of being. Their mothers were responsible for passing on such virtues. What happened? A lack of Christian training is at root. Yes, children, even girls, must be brought up wanting to be feminine and wanting to see their femaleness in light of Christianity.

I have not seen a young woman between 17 and 25 who looks like a female in over three months,except for the Japanese tourists, who is every country I have been to in the past year, dress and act like women. This generation in England and Ireland dresses in the ugliest fashions. I wrote about this early on the blog. Why be ugly when one can be beautiful? Odd, as youth is the time of beauty, to choose "ugly". Where is the spirituality of the Christian woman?

I have come to three conclusions on these musings and I would invite comments.

First, many young people never go to places where they must or should dress up. The lack of concerts, art exhibits, even church gatherings which not longer demand dress have diminished. Now, in a certain class, and in certain families, such as the one in which I grew up, dressing up for certain occasions was the rule. We had formal dances, proms, teas, concerts, art openings, dinners, weddings, baptisms, even funerals at which certain dress was the order of the day.

I am surrounded by Londoners where I am today, and all the young ladies either have horrible blue jeans and odd grey toned jackets made out of denim or some shiny fake leather or they are in sweat pants. Some are Catholic youth! And, the ones who are not Catholic, look like my examples here.

I am amazed.

Now, I have also seen that the women who dress down are not happy. Sorry, but this is true, and the older women, even older than myself, who have shown me such unhappiness that I cannot imagine why they live in the places they do, mostly very up-market, dress like Mao fanatics.

I just do not understand. We women have a grace from God which is part of our female person- hood. I am a female, and I am proud of the fact that I am a daughter of God the Father. My confidence is in God, not my clothes, but as part of the heritage of the Incarnation, I try and do my best to be female and be feminine in this world of androgyny. Catholic women have a duty to do so.

Unhappiness creates a style of dressing which reveals the deep sadness of a soul. Grumpiness can be a bad habit.

My second point is this. Unhappiness spreads. Negativity spreads. There are certain places in England and Ireland I would not live in for a million pounds. In these areas, and I shall not name towns or cities, materialism is god. The tawdry is in and people seem very discontent. How sad. Negativity is a mind-set. One can choose to be positive or negative. One may be born melancholy and perhaps the gene pool collects such melancholics into one town or city. But, the Christian is not allowed to wallow in existential angst or uncertainty or sadness. In fact, sadness can be a choice of sinning, like cynicism. I choose not to live with negative people unless my little light can bring some joy into a situation. We choose our environments, our nurture as well as our nature. We choose to be happy or unhappy, despite circumstances.

Lastly, happiness spreads as well. Growing up and when still very young, I noticed that some families were just happier than others, despite their social standing or material wealth. Love was the answer.

Is not love always the answer?

A Catholic woman should bring beauty into her world. This does not have to be expensive, as it is an attitude, not an expensive wardrobe. For some reason, young women do not bring beauty into a room or a house or a college. Why? We have lost the art of the feminine. We must re-discover, as Catholic women, beauty in ourselves and others, bringing that beauty wherever we go. I believe it is a "Christian thing". Beauty brings light into a room, peace into a family, and respect into a relationship. It springs from the soul. Beauty is connected, believe it or not, to modesty. Modesty is also an attitude, of respect for one's self and others. I found this quotation, which perhaps is connected with happiness as well:

…synonymous with
chastity, or purity of
manners.  In this
sense, modesty
results from purity of
mind, or from
the fear of
modesty is the
sweetest charm of
female excellence, the
richest gem in the
diadem of their

Noah Webster
1828 American