You know, I never used to appreciate being a girl. I preferred hanging out with the boys when I was a kid; my mom likes to tell this one story of how a teacher’s aid couldn’t find one boy and I during recess, so she headed to this field behind the school and found us with our arms in gopher holes. The best part is that I had on my new jumper my grandmother had just made for me. Elementary school was probably the best time in that regard; for most of us, we weren’t distracted by “how cute is he” and ” I’ve got a crush on him!” and that we didn’t really think about the differences between us, such as puberty (I knew two girls who began certain cycles in the 5th grade; we actually formed a ‘club’ to ask them about these things. Yeah, a bunch of us went to 10 or 11-year-old girls instead of our mothers to learn about the most evil thing ever… Er, I mean, our cycles).
Middle school rolled around, I was that dumpy awkward kid that sat in the corner and tried to stay out of everybody’s way so people didn’t make fun of me. Hell, I still do that. I hated my hair, I felt a bit better about my clothing (I’d discovered this really cool store called Fashion Bug and it was for fat people! Just my kind of place!) and the only time I applied make up was on willing subjects; usually my cousin. I’d started applying cosmetics to her face when I was about… 11 or 12. I once tried it on my friend, made her look pretty, and because SHE didn’t know how to apply make up, she made me look like a dog. I kid you not, I even had the one brown spot over an eye. I was so mad at her for that.
And then… the most magical thing happened. No, I didn’t become super pretty and popular like in books. No, I didn’t nab that one gorgeous 8th grader, and no, I was still never invited to parties. But that was okay. That was dandy, because while I had to deal with the kids in middle school, I found another way to be beautiful. The only issue was that it took hours. And it still does. My aunt had whipped out a hair straightener one day when I was up at my paternal grandparents’. My mother, my aunt, and I sat there for three hours straightening hair that could very well rival any Southern Belle’s voluminous up-dos with just a hair dryer. While I couldn’t sit there and have my hair take three hours a day, I knew that I had this option. An option I have taken every time at the hair salon.
High school, freshman and sophomore year, I was still that awkward kid. Still shopped at Fashion Bug, which still has cute clothes. I suffered through those two years because I had to. The only thing that made it bearable were my friends. Especially my best friends. Those two were also the ones that introduced me to an actual bra. For years, I’d been wearing sports bras, simply because it was easier. We were dress shopping for the last dance of Sophomore year, because I’d be moving in June. And because it looked like I had a –I believe they called it a “monoboob” — I finally got a ‘real’ bra. Not that I truly put it into use until junior year.
I hadn’t truly belonged with a group of friends until Freshman/Sophomore year. When my parents packed up everything and had us move (three years after the fact that my dad was already living in Bend), I was on the outskirts of high school society once again. You know how books and movies always have that plot around the new kid and that it tells how you can become a new person? That a new school is a fresh start and that tons of things could happen?
Yeah, I foolishly believed that. “Oh, I’m moving, I’ll have a boyfriend by Christmas. Oh, I’m moving, I’ll be popular before Thanksgiving!” No. Girls, that’s a lie. That doesn’t happen. You sit there awkwardly in the classroom, wondering if anyone’s going to talk to you or if you ought to walk up and say “HI, I’M NEW. I MOVED FROM…” And either make a doof of yourself or you’ll be one of the lucky few that makes friends easily. If you want anything like the movies and books, be a foreign exchange student. Seriously.
But I did make a fresh start: with my cleavage. I decided I needed to wear that bra, I needed to Stop. Having. A. Monoboob. So I did. Trust me, as uncomfortable as the damn things are, an actual bra is completely and utterly wonderful to have over a sports bra. Like everyone out there, when I finally got home and I could finally take off that dreadful torture device, the Hallelujah chorus would play. I also had a fresh start with my wardrobe: I had never liked Old Navy before, simply because it looked like it was only for skinny people. But, and I don’t remember why, my mom took me clothes shopping at the local Old Navy. Hello, new best friend. Oh my god, I love that store. I stride in and just glare at people: “What are you looking at? You think their clothing doesn’t look good on a plus sized woman? Bitch, please. Go back to the kids’ department and let me worry about dressing the appropriate shape.”
And it hasn’t been till this year (2012) that I have come to two conclusions: I can wear make up, I just need formal training and my curly hair is quite ravishing sometimes. I could be in a Pantene commercial. Just you wait and see. “Big is the new beautiful.” I’m sending in my tape soon. Let’s see who wins, huh?
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I’ve finally decided that being a girl isn’t so bad. My mother made the comment yesterday to my cousin: With a girl, you can do so much more, because you have pants, dresses, skirts, and shorts, while boys only have pants and shorts. (My cousin has a three-year old girl, and she’s such a cutie! We’re both in agreement that girls make great dress up dolls. I feel bad for Artemis Victoria when she arrives. That’ll be after she’s conceived, don’t worry.) I’m still getting over the blood thing, but who gets used to that?