26 November 2012

Perpetually One of the Boys...

A few weeks ago, I got serious about something I had been struggling with -- faith and politics.  A series of events brought me to where I am today, getting serious once again.  This time its completely unrelated to politics.  It's my struggle with always being one of the boys.  It's about my (sometimes) blind ambition and refusal to compromise who I am/want to be due to a guy.  So buckle up, mates.  I'm getting serious again.

I was a tomboy growing up.  I liked Hot Wheels cars, would rather play sports than dolls, and I thought cuts and bruises were cool.  I liked to ramp my bike and trade basketball cards with the boys.  I even wore boys' clothes a lot of the time.  For the most part, I got away with this when I was younger, but I remember when I started junior high I realized that things had to change.  If I wanted to be "popular" or have a boyfriend, I was going to have to change some things.  Yesterday, I thought back to those days.  The days when every girl was boy crazy.  To an extent, I was too.  But I struggled because boys didn't like me...

...because I was one of them.  For as long as I can remember I have had more male friends than female ones.  And for the most part, I have always been okay with that.  Basketball and sports in general were my portal into their world.  I knew (or maybe know is a better word) all the latest sports news.  I can throw a spiral, shoot a reverse layup, or dive for a fly ball.  I can talk about defensive lines, pass routes, run games, setting screens, and runs batted in with the best of them.  What guy wouldn't want that, right?  Apparently not very many.

When I went off to college, I began to identify myself as a feminist.  To an extent, I think I probably always was, but I am so thankful for my Women's Studies class.  I learned that there was nothing wrong with me.  Being a tomboy wasn't bad.  Or wrong.  That part of my life helped shape me into the strong woman that I believe myself to be today.  Without really knowing it, I had already realized that I could do anything the boys could do.  I had already learned that my dreams were just as important.  Today, I have a greater awareness of that.  Moreover, I have a greater appreciation for the women who worked so tirelessly so I could realize my full potential. And again, I am so thankful for my family who loved and supported me, even though I know they couldn't have been thrilled about their little girl wanting to shop in the boys' clothes.  I'm thankful that they let me grow into my own person.  Because for what might be the first time, I can say that I am proud of myself and the decisions I have made.

Last night, a relationship ended because I have made the decision to leave my hometown.  Because I need to strike out on my own and see what I can make of myself in this world.  Because I need to be my own person.  I need to make myself happy.  I need to do something for me.  Because I can't follow a boy.  And luckily for me, it was the boy who reminded me of this.

It's an empowering feeling.  But it's a scary one too.  And knowing that you're doing something good, doesn't always make it easy.  It doesn't always make you feel better.  You still shed some tears.  Maybe even more so.  There's one question that always lingers at the back of my mind -- will my ambition leave me with nothing but my career in the end?  It's days like today, that I wish Hillary Clinton was my fairy godmother.  What I would give to be able to ask for her advice.  What would she tell me?  There's this brilliant quote from HRC about how she knew Bill Clinton was the one because he wasn't afraid of her.  In talking with a friend today, we both said, "That's me!  I need to find that man."  Well...maybe not exactly that man, but you get the point (See, told you I can't be serious for very long).

So in the end, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm proud to be one of the boys.  And men shouldn't be intimidated by women like that.   

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