|Thanks, Amanda, for hosting TOL.|
If you were anything like me, you dealt with this anxiety by pretending to be above it all. Middle school is all about masks. I thought I was singularly unattractive and unoriginal, so I went the route of pretending to embrace that, and I forced myself into a kind of tomboy mold.
(I looked for pictures of these years to share with you guys, but I seem to remember avoiding cameras at all costs, and I must have burned all photo evidence of those years. Good thing Britt had this photo to share.)
I wore giant T-shirts and huge, baggy jeans - anything to hide my body. My hair was in a perpetual bun. The only makeup I used was worn to cover acne. When cotillions and dances came along, I wore my pretty dresses and heels with the grace of a newborn giraffe.
I developed a shell. I wanted to be tough, and I wanted people to know I was tough. In doing so, I turned away from all things girly. Even when I began to enjoy "girly" things - the color pink, makeup, dresses, etc - I'd try to be ironic about it.
But over the last few years, I've learned to love being girly. More accurately, I've learned to embrace the complex parts of my personality. I'm tough, yeah, but I'm girly too. Those things aren't mutually exclusive. In fact, over time I've learned that girls - women - are tougher than we let on. We might hide our steel under smooth skin and lipstick, but we're no less strong for our soft exteriors.
|Feeling strong and girly at Gasparilla with Kristin.|
I've come to realize that accepting who we are and having the courage to reveal every aspect of ourselves is what makes us tough. Hiding behind a tough exterior makes you seem strong, but masks are brittle. They crack. They're not meant to last.
Living as you are and as you want to be...that makes you actually strong. And personally, I don't think there's anything better. When you're strong, you can care for others, show compassion, experience joy, go after a dream, work hard, stand up, fight...
If I can be anything, I want to be strong.
This ended up being a totally different kind of post than I planned. I really wanted to rant about how women can kick butt even in a running skirt. I guess there was more to explore than I thought!
How do you define strength?
Do you consider yourself girly?
Are there any parts of your personality that you aren't comfortable with, or try to hide?