In high school I had a close male friend tell me that maybe one of my problems with boys was that I was too outspoken, too loud. He said that boys didn’t like it, it wasn’t very attractive. And then he finished with a “but you do you, I’ll love you either way” kind of speech so as to not totally offend me… we were friends after all, and I truly think he was just trying to help.
This stuck in my head…well clearly, until forever because I still remember it. It wasn’t the last time I’d ever hear that sentiment.
I remember trying to be quiet and small for about a week until I couldn’t take it anymore and all of my bottled up feelings overspilled in what was likely one of my first feminist rants. I was never good at pretending to be anyone but myself.
I remember wanting to be on the football team in high school. I had a strong left kick and wanted to be the kicker. I wanted to make history. I wanted to do something important. But then I thought about what it would be like to be on the team with the same guys that I had crushes on. Many of my guy friends told me they wouldn’t go easy on me and they’d treat me like a dude if I wanted to act like one. I decided it wasn’t very ladylike of me and I’d never get a date to Prom. You should know that I don’t talk to any of these guys anymore, and I ended up dating a 22 year old my senior year and didn’t even go to Prom, anyway. What a waste of a left kick.
I’m not quiet and reserved, dainty, and I don’t know how to contour. I have an opinion and you probably don’t like it. I speak my mind and care less about privacy, hence this damn blog. It took me a long time to come into my own, and learn that I can lift weights and wear lipstick, that if I want to get my nails done doesn’t mean I’m worried about breaking a nail–even though that definitely hurts like a bitch. In my teenage years, I struggled with wanting to be taken seriously and also wanting to be seen as a female, one that boys wanted to ask out. I think it’s still a struggle for some women- wanting to be respected and heard, but not wanting to come off as too much- too passionate, too overbearing. Today, I don’t worry so much about it. Through many, many experiences, I’ve learned that staying quiet never works for long anyway. I’d rather tell someone to fuck off and risk that they might not like me than waste energy on tip toeing around their fragile ego.
I once had a guy ask me to send him nudes. I’ve been asked this a million times and it doesn’t offend me in the slightest. But I wasn’t into this guy and he was annoying me. So I said “No.” He responded by telling me he was “going to pass” and I was so confused. Pass on what I asked? He said, “on hooking up” and I just laughed. Oh ok buddy. Laugh out loud.
I should also mention that I don’t find any women that are quiet, dainty, or reserved to be any less of a woman than those that want to march with vagina signs and shout at the top of their lungs. We are all women, with different personalities, different paths, and a different set of values.
My path as a woman has been somewhat confusing. I grew up with divorced parents; a strong, independent and fiercely feminist mother who mowed her own lawn and asked for power tools for Christmas and a conservative LDS father and siblings with traditional family roles. To sum it up, I grew up believing that I could do anything that I wanted, but in 8th grade when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up all I could think of that I truly wanted to be was a mother. I wanted a husband and the white picket fence, and I wanted a man to hold the door open for me and fix the fence… but I wanted to make history, and I wanted the pant suit and the power heels and to forge my own path but I didn’t quite know how to have it all. This was confusing to say the least, and so I’ve had to find my own path, one that fit for me. I tried on a lot of shoes, and eventually realized that I might have to have these shoes custom fit just for me. I couldn’t bear to walk in shoes that were uncomfortable, just for the sake of appearance. I’ve never been that kind of woman.
I remember one of my friends dressed in a pink sweater saying she wanted to be the first female president, and I admired her for knowing what she wanted and for not giving a shit that being president had always been a man’s job. I always knew she could be if she wanted to be. She always wore pink and reminded me of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. You should know she’s very successful and doing just as great as I always imagined her to.
It took me awhile but later in life, I realized that I can have a husband that holds the door and can fix the fence, but I can also be the woman that can do it all on her own if she wants. I can go to work and pay my own bills and I can come home and make crafts with my kids. I can be a good mother and not have to change all the diapers, and I can pump a bottle of breastmilk so my husband can feed the baby when he gets home and I can take a nap. And I can find happiness in all of this, without guilt or fear that anyone might think I’m any less of a woman, or too much of one.
In my 29 years of life, I’ve been accused of being too outspoken, too opinionated, too sexual– “like a dude when it comes to sex”; I’ve been dumbed down for being a stay at home mother, I’ve been questioned about my need for a man, my abilities to manage my life without a man doubted; I’ve been told not to lift heavy so I don’t get bulky, I’ve been told my thighs were too big, but not to lose my ass because it’s my best quality; I’ve been harassed for choosing to leave a relationship I was no longer happy in and questioned for staying in one that was believed I should have left, I’ve been villified for choosing to maintain a pregnancy in which the man has deserted, ridiculed and mocked for claiming to be independent while recieving child support, and even for choosing to work two jobs.
And all I have to say is I’m not sorry. I don’t apologize for being me. I don’t apologize for always going after what I want. I’m not sorry if standing up for myself makes you uncomfortable, or if that makes me a bitch, or even a feminazi. I don’t apologize for loving my body in all of it’s forms, or for showing it off. I don’t apologize for making mistakes, or trying something on for size. I’m not sorry for changing my mind, or deciding that something no longer serves me or makes me feel good. I’m not sorry I didn’t text you back because I wasn’t interested, and I’m definitely not sorry for having a healthy sex life. I don’t apologize for making a choice about my own body or my life. I don’t apologize for being a mother that enjoys her space and independence. I don’t apologize that I want to be in a happy, fullfilling healthy relationship even if that means raising children in two households. I don’t apologize for demanding that a man be responsible for his actions, or that he share parental duties.
I’m not sorry I don’t fit in the little box society wants me to fit in. I’m not that kind of woman.
What I’ve learned in life is that you can’t please everyone. You will be judged anyway so you might as well make a choice that will make you happy. If you want to strut on your way home from a one night stand, or send nudes you’re proud of… go for it. If you want to march and chant and strike, then do it. If these things makes you feel uncomfortable, then don’t do it. Don’t ever sacrifice your values or what makes you feel good for the sake of anyone else. If a man asks you to send nudes and you don’t want to, tell him no. If you want to sleep with him on the first date, then do it. If you earned that raise, then ask for it. If you want to work construction, go put on a hard hat. If you want to keep your baby, then keep it. It’s your life, make the choice that works for you and don’t ever apologize for it.
Happy Women’s Day 🙂