During my late teens, I decided to be a tomboy.
I became fed up with femininity and all its requirements of what to wear, how to act and how to be that I decided to jump ship and become one of the boys.
Growing up, I always admired tomboys because they seemed to exude a confidence and a no-nonsense attitude that was quite different from the girl way of life. They were not tied down by the confines of dresses and skirts, and because they were one of the boys, they were liked because of their personality and not necessarily their looks. I guess I was also wanted a break from my femininity attracting male attention, especially unsolicited attention from cat callers.
I swapped my dresses, skirts and pretty sandals for baggy shorts, jeans and t-shirts complete with the coolest collection of sneakers. I cut my long hair for an edgier short hair look, which by the way was a great make-over as I looked stunning with short hair.
Now that my boy look was in place, I started hanging out more with my guys friends in a bid to immerse myself in their world. I wanted to see the world from their perspective and absorb their headstrong attitude. I wanted to learn how to minimize emotion in everything I did and use more logic, as I had gathered from spending time with my male friends.
I learned that me fearlessly go after what they want after they’ve made their mind up, and they’re also not afraid to stand up for themselves, which are two things I was lacking in my character. I learned not to judge myself too harshly as my male buddies were only concerned about me as a person and didn’t care much for my insecurities.
They saw me as a cool chick because I wasn’t the typical 21-year-old girl who was concerned about her nails and hair and pleasing her boyfriend. They said that it felt great to just hang out with a girl without anyone being coerced to put their best foot forward, and I was happy that I could provide that emotional platform.
But, I was always a girl.
I could never fully be part of the boys. They would never fully include me in sleepovers or intimate conversations about their love lives, or discuss their deepest darkest secrets with me because I was not a boy. Different relationships serve different purposes and have their own unique place, and as a female friend to males, I had a place that was different from a male to male friendship, and it was impossible for me to replace that bond or even understand it.
The very thing that I was running away from is what they appreciated about me in their own unique way, and without fully realizing it, that is what I offered – my femininity.
So perhaps femininity is not about wearing skirts, sandals and make-up and being treated as a damsel in distress. Perhaps femininity is a social thing that’s attached to being a woman, and the best definition of it is being true to yourself as a woman and living out who are you as opposed to conforming to social constructs of what you’re meant to be.
Now that I’ve embraced and accepted the fact that I’m a woman, I wear skirts from time to time and I have great friendships with both men and women. I’ve kept my short hair because I look good with it, and I still rock my sneakers because they’re comfortable and dope 🙂
*image from Billboard.