Saturday, October 24, 2009

On Being A Girl

Female symbol. Created by Gustavb.Image via Wikipedia
For the most part, I like being a girl. There are some days when I don't, of course, but since that day in elementary school when I was terrified of having to climb the ropes in P.E. and found out I didn't have to because only the boys had to climb them, I've been relatively relieved to be a girl.

Before I started elementary school, I only played with boys because we didn't have as many girls in the neighbourhood at the time. I was, in fact, afraid of one group of girls who were a little older than me and used to come by my house and call me "cute". I didn't like them. Boys, to me, were easier to get along with. I enjoyed playing with toy cars and building forts and putting on plays in the back yard. I wasn't much for dolls. You might have thought of me as a tomboy, but I wasn't that either. I just liked what I liked. I hated wearing dresses because we had to wear them in school. My favourite day of the year was sports day when we all competed in various competitions. I didn't like sports, particularly, I just liked that I could wear shorts to school on sports day. Ah. Much more comfortable.

The hormone thing changed my relationship with boys considerably. Their hormones, not mine. I wasn't at all comfortable with being attractive to males in the beginning. Eeeww. I distinctly remember standing at the bus stop once when I was about 13 and some guy in a big dump truck whistling at me out of his window. I wasn't sure what to do. What does that MEAN??? It was a very weird experience, but it began happening more and more as I blossomed (I hate that word, is there a better one? I'm not a petunia for pete's sake.) I suppose I should have appreciated being attractive to anyone, but mostly it made me cringe.

I did, however, have that feminine urge to get married and have children. I understand the drive to do so although I know that not every female experiences that feeling. One of the most profound experiences in my life was giving birth to my first daughter. There was this unbelievable sense of accomplishment from that...as if my body had done exactly what it was supposed to. I can't describe it any other way. So it seemed to me that this was my purpose, but once I had actually achieved those goals, I felt at a loss as to what I should do next. Was that it? Get married, have children...ta da?

That was when I began to focus my energies more on my music again. Being a female alone, out late at night and packing up after a gig somewhere made me somewhat vulnerable I suppose. Many times there were guys who would go out of their way to help me load my gear and accompany me to my car, and I always appreciated that very much. On one occasion I was moving my gear to my car in an underground parking lot in downtown Vancouver, after a gig at a Starbucks. A friend had come to see me that night and helped me load up, which was great, but then he had to leave and I was by myself in that underground parking lot. It didn't bother me until the next morning when I heard that a guy with a 12 inch knife had entered the Starbucks probably only minutes after I left, and threatened the employees.

That's when I decided that I needed a cell phone. I often stayed with my in-laws when I performed on the mainland, but I think I worried them more than I worried about myself. My mother-in-law told me once that often she wouldn't sleep until she heard me come in. I can't say that I was particularly afraid at night because I'm not exactly a pushover. I mean, if I was confronted by someone who was trying to do something to me, I'd probably just get really mad. It's likely not the best reaction for a person to have, but that's the way I am. I think there are males out there who can smell vulnerability, but they would never have smelled it from me, and that's that!

Sometimes I wonder if my early interaction with boys gave me a better sense of them. I don't know. My daughters have taught me a lot about being a girl. They always liked the frilly dresses and fancy hair and make-up stuff that I just didn't get, and over time they've given me a better appreciation of my "girlness". It's funny because when I was carrying them, I thought they were both boys. In fact, I think I wanted boys because I understood them and figured I'd be a better Mom to boys. But I can't imagine living life without my girls now, and they were the best gift a reluctant female could ever have had. I appreciate the attention of males now more than ever. Only, now they have gone grayer. How can that be? But I am no longer uncomfortable with their gazes or flirtations, I only wish it would happen more.

So wouldn't you know it, now that my skin is starting to sag and my vision is blurring...now that I'm filling out in bad places and sweltering with hot flashes...I'm finally really enjoying being a girl.

IJ [Note to self: you realize Kim is going to razz you for still calling yourself a girl :-)]
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