Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To be or not to be - that's not even a question

My best friend tells me that I'm channeling my inner lesbian. Threatening to buy me flannel shirts. Cheering me on like only he can do, being one of the sweetest men I've ever met (damn shame he's gay, he'd be in soooo much trouble otherwise). I tell him there'd better be a lesbian in those flannel shirts 'cause I need a wife! It'd be bloody marvelous to come home to a clean house and a meal, and between work, exercise, and power tools, the housework is suffering even more than usual.

Not that I wasn't a total failure as a housewife already. Heh.

I feel like I'm reinventing myself here. Well, perhaps not reinventing ... becoming the person I always secretly thought I wanted to be anyway. I was a seriously tomboy kid who hated dressing up, despised anything pink, and just wanted to wear jeans and climb trees. Drove my mother, who desperately wanted a girlie girl in pink ruffles, absolutely to distraction. Somewhere out there is a photo of me at around five years old ... long blond hair in ring curls, a pink gingham dress, looking seriously disgruntled. She'd send me to school in dresses and tights (always pink or white tights, blech!) and then cry, literally cry, when I'd come home with holes in the knees, mud on the skirt, and scuffs on my (gods, I hated those things) brown and white saddle shoes.

I wanted jeans, dammit! I wanted to play on the monkey bars and grub around in the dirt with the rest of the kids!  I was born without the "stay clean and tidy" gene, I'm pretty certain ... one of those kids who had to be stood on a chair to wait for church 'cause I couldn't move without getting grime on my dress ... and quite frankly that hasn't changed with age. *sigh*  My day hasn't properly started 'til I'm wearing my coffee, at minimum. *grin*

As a young adult, the moment I was out of mom's hands I was into jeans, ratty tennies, and t-shirts. Another thing that hasn't changed with age, 'cept my shoes aren't ratty anymore. Usually a bit scuffed and dirty, yeah, but at least they're not ragged. I still wear pretty much nothing but jeans and t-shirts.

I realized at some point in this last month that the person I think I am, the person who I've always seen myself as, is an Ellen DeGeneres sorta woman: Casually comfortable, strong and confident, self-defined. Not spending a lot of time and energy on what our culture says a woman should be, if that makes sense? 

I LIKE wearing jeans and t-shirts and comfortable shoes. I DON'T like, and refuse to, spend time and money on make-up and fancy hairstyles that demand a lot of time in the morning. I DON'T enjoy spending a lot of time and mental energy on my clothing. I HATE shopping, especially that part where you have to go to stores and deal with crowds while trying on a bunch of clothing (okay, part of that's my weight, I know). I would enjoy being able to wear "cute" shoes and nicer shirts, but they'd still be on the very-casual side because that's who I AM. Even when I'm slender and fit I'll be wearing jeans and t-shirts because I LIKE wearing them. 

So back to the whole point here: It's finally dawned on me that I can BE who I see myself as. All it will take to BE that person is some time and a bit of effort. I just turned 44. I can BE myself by the time I hit 45. All I have to do is start being ME right now. 

This whole train of thought was initially triggered a few months back by a conversation with office-mate. She's a very girlie girl, and nothing wrong with that, but she's also a very ...hmmm ... what's the right word here? "Judgemental" might be a bit too strong, but there's definitely a connotation of that. Anyway, one day out of the blue she says, "You know, you really should dress up more like a girl. Do your hair and wear some make-up." 

My first, knee-jerk, response was, "Why?" 

"Well, because you just should. You're a girl, you know."

"What is this "should" you speak of, office-mate? Who says? Who GETS to say I "should" wear a certain style of clothing or waste time in the bathroom painting my face and styling my hair every day? Just remember that I'm a software engineer and be thankful I wear clean clothes and take a shower every day, mmkay?"

She dropped it there, smart woman, but of course I've spent a lot of time thinking about it. And deciding that I'm right, at least where I'm concerned: The only "should" here is what I decide for myself. 

And I "should" be me. Just me. This is who I am, and I like me.

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