Monday, November 29, 2010

A Woman's Take

The transition from childhood to adulthood has been hard for me in many ways.  I still don't think of myself as an adult, but when I think of myself as a child, I don't necessarily identify with that person anymore.  Take, for instance, my childhood black-and-white views of the world.  I've matured and now look at the world through multicolored lenses: not everything is as cut and dried as we'd like it to be.  When I was little, my imagination soared.  Now I have a hard time discussing imagined things.

And it's more than that.  My childhood identity is forged in some little way in how I perceive others' perception of me.  If I thought my parents thought I was behaving poorly, then I thought of myself poorly.  Likewise, if someone told me I couldn't sing, I refrained from singing at all cost well into adulthood.  But this perception is so very wrong now.  Not only does my voice not shatter glasses, it can be incredibly sweet and, at times--like when nobody is listening--downright good.  (No auditions or tryouts for me though, my voice isn't likely to be shared anytime soon.)

People considered me a tomboy when I was little, so that's how I acted.  It was a sort of circular reinforcement or something.  They thought I wasn't feminine, so I didn't try to be feminine.  I didn't have jewelry or pink dresses or ballet lessons as a child.  I wasn't "girly" and still don't dress terribly feminine since that's not how I'm known.  But inside me is a real feminine woman screaming for pink and diamonds and massages!  I'm just too practical to spend money on diamonds and dresses and spa days.  It's not that I don't want those things, but I don't see a need to spend money on them.

And at the same time, there's a quiet femininity, a truly confident femininity that I've always possessed despite my boyish childhood looks or my love of denim.  I don't need glitz and glamor to prove that I'm a woman.  I don't need to wear dresses to romanticize my feminine charm.  The Man tells me he's so thankful I don't need to cover myself in any makeup every day in order to feel like I can go out.  A little chap stick and I'm ready for the world, like me or not.

I get frustrated when people still think of me like I was when I was ten years old.  I'm not into baseball or lighthouses or even playing the flute anymore, although they are beautiful in their own ways and I still respect each love, I've moved on.  I love to cook and sew and wear shiny things and swear every once in a while and keep a home and love The Man until it hurts.

I feel like people aren't allowing me to be feminine and have girly likes and dislikes.  I feel like I'm not allowed to change or grow and love sparkles.  I feel stuck in the between.


cm0978 said...

Since I am the baby of my family by 11 years, I never felt like my older brothers and sisters thought of me or my husband as adults until we were well in our 30s. I know they didn't intend to make me feel like that, and it wasn't anything overt, but I felt it. Ask Jules what that's like -- I'm sure she felt it too!

People pigeonhole others because it's quick and easy. Even though I've moved on from making regular quilts, that's still how many people view me and my interests.

We are constantly evolving. If we don't, we are boring people. Be yourself, Jaggy, and let people catch up to who you are!

MissKris said...

Oh, honey...I could write a book on this one. Ditto ditto and ditto on so much you've written here. Let me just say this, being a reformed tomboy with 3 brothers to contend with growing up...the ONLY one keeping their 'self' trapped inside that box is YOU. Honestly, Jaggy, people really don't care as much about us and how we perceive ourselves as we think they do when we're younger. It's part of maturity and aging and getting comfortable in your own skin that gives you the chutzpah to finally realize that and say, "I'm living for ME from now on. Fiddle on everyone else." It took me many years to reach that point but, boy oh boy, is it liberating when it finally arrives! Be WHO you ARE, not whot the world might think you are. Most people are so wrapped up in themselves, their own lives, the cares of their world, they really don't spend the time thinking about us that we seem to think they do.

Jules said...

preach it sisters!