“Who’s that lady??” My friend asked, pointing at someone in one of my photo albums.
I peered over at the lady in question.
“That’s me.” I kindly informed her.
That’s a lie. I mean, it was me, but I wasn’t kind about it. I screeched at her like a really angry chimpanzee. No, I didn’t throw my own poop at her. You guys are disgusting.
If there is one thing I know for sure: I am no lady (see screeching and talking about my own poop).
At the time of the photo, my hair was growing back in and it had decided to grow in curly. Really curly. Like the Brady-Bunch-in-Hawaii curly.
I was the envy of all the older women who volunteered at my place of work, which was troubling, yet flattering at the same time. I even let some of them pet my head. And just like the Brady boys, I had to convince them that it was completely natural and not a perm.
Girl. Chick. Woman. Lady.
I reserve the right to call myself anything I like at any time. I detest pigeon-holing-descriptives, even though we need to use them sometimes. Don’t you hate being labeled? You are so much more complex than way-too-many-purses-girl or turkey-sandwich-no-mayo-guy.
If I were to get lost in a crowd, my friends would frantically describe me as: “…really short! Her hair is short, too, and wavy. DO NOT ask her if it’s a perm. She looks like an old girl – does that help? Asian, glasses, sarcastic…if she looks at you suspiciously, that’s her!!” Or perhaps they wouldn’t look for me at all. I’m very suspicious of my friends.
In any case, I don’t think it matters to me how I’m addressed as a female (except the obvious ones). It’s the context and spirit behind it that matters. I’ve accepted: “Duuuude!!!” I’ll even allow “Foxy Lady”. But, please, it has to come from the heart. Nothing is worse than a meaningless and sludgy, “Hey there, Foxy Lady…” from the wrong person. I can’t seem to stop saying Foxy Lady. You know those words that sound stranger the more you repeat them? This is the opposite of that. But it’s starting to get creepy, so I’ll stop.
In some ways, I think how we define ourselves is much worse than what others think of us. We can be hell on ourselves. It makes me crazy when I realize I’ve called myself a failure even before I begin something. While I was drafting this post, I was using words like unfeminine, boyish, and former band geek. That’s my perception of myself and I can be those things, but it doesn’t define who I am. You, like myself, are uncontainable. We stay the same, yet we are constantly changing. We are everything inside. It’s a trick, this life, to keep true to yourself yet still be open, forever expanding in all directions.
Today, I go out into the world as an athlete, a seeker, and friend. At some point I might be a Brady, Foxy Lady, and an inconsolable baby. At the end of the night, who knows?
That’s another trick: Can you imagine what life would be like if we didn’t keep trying to write the endings first?