Being a woman

I was reviewing my life recently and realized that I have never really fit neatly into those categories that most people label as “feminine,” “girly,” and so on. I thought, “What does it mean to be a woman?”

I’ve always known, from an early age, that I was different from most girls and later on from most women I knew. When I was really young, I couldn’t figure out if this was a good thing or a bad thing, but at that time it seemed it might be a good idea to try to make at least some effort to be “feminine.”

I started wearing lipstick at age twelve, to my mother’s consternation, and demanded my first pair of high heeled shoes not long after. I liked lipstick (and still do), but I could never quite get down with the nylons and high heels. I hated long fingernails because I played piano and they would always break on the keys. Nail polish annoyed me because it was always chipping off. Perfume made me sneeze.   I wasn’t really a tomboy,  though, because I wasn’t good at sports. I mean, to be a genuine tomboy you have to like sports, right? Still, I liked boys as friends more than girls when I was in school, because to me they were more fun, they and didn’t gossip and talk about silly things.

Even in grammar school I never cared about the things girls liked, except for dolls — I loved dolls. But I liked trucks, cars and tools just as much. Most of all, though, I liked genderless things like books and painting and music.

A few years ago I pretty much stopped wearing skirts for the simple reason that I find pants more comfortable. I also started buying a lot of my clothes in the men’s department, even though I’m small, because at least they have pants that come up to my waist instead of starting at my pubic bone the way most women’s pants do.

I’ve finally whittled my wardrobe down to what you could call a set of uniforms: long pants and long-sleeved T-shirts or sweaters in the winter and men’s boxer shorts and short-sleeved T-shirts or tank tops in the summer. Shoes? Sneakers in winter, flip-flops in summer, and a pair of sandals for special occasions. I’ve also pared my jewelry down to earrings and a silver ring.

Some years ago I started cutting my own hair. I wear it very short, and figured out a way to give it a nice trim by using two mirrors. Ever since a girl in a Korean salon cut my hair into a perfect square, I have steered clear of beauty parlors. I also buy the cheapest possible cosmetics and have never had a manicure or pedicure in my life.

So does this make me any less a woman? I looked in the mirror today, and I don’t think so.

This is a section that I removed from my book, although I may reinstate it later.   🙂



Filed under individuality, my history, the book

9 responses to “Being a woman

  1. Rhonda Key Youngblood

    Amy, this was removed? I hope it shows up in a second book, or at least I am grateful it showed up here. That was wonderful to read and thought provoking. I’/We feel like we’ve known you forever.. You share so much with such a realness. It is to be appreciated.

    • Thanks, Rhonda…there’s definitely a connection with us, and I love it…
      Yeah, I removed it because I couldn’t figure out where to fit it in, but I may be able to at some point.

  2. Libby Unwin

    I have some of the same thought as you about womanhood! I hate lipstick, love perfume, and love sports. I think a true woman is whatever she needs to be when she is needed….independent, loving and strong. I do like how you expressed it in this piece.

  3. living authentically is the most empowering thing you can do. we give you loads of credit for accepting youself exactly the way you are! fantastic & fabulous 🙂
    xx ~

    p.s. ~ in honor of our grand opening of our online jewelry boutique this month, we’re hosting a grand opening giveaway on our blog! enter and you could win one of our most popular “feathers” bracelets, featured on Polyvore. 3 lucky readers will win their choice of colors…turquoise, coral or onyx! good luck to you!

  4. Oh, I love this, Amy! Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing it…

  5. This adds so much to your picture. Thanks for sharing.
    I think we and a lot of women/girls find ourselves in that mental place where MBE says gender is mental, not material. I quit make-up years ago as unnecessary because it was only enhancing matter, not necessarily my sense of self. I did track and field in school because I liked it and was good at it. I also played football and baseball and drag raced with the guys, but I had sleep overs and did the hair and girl stuff, too. I liked to twirl around in my frilly dresses because…?! I also didn’t panic when I got mud on those frilly dresses. I wear bracelets and earrings, pants (no dresses now), love perfume and shoes and am loud…well, you get the material picture. But none of that makes me more or less a woman. I am woman because I love and care and nurture and am soft in all the right places and hard in all the right places. I am tender-hearted, tough-loving, understanding (usually) and graceful.

  6. Go get ’em, Pam! 😀

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