While doing my minor in Women Studies, I was surprised by the amount of self-contradicting statements made by professors, guest speakers, and other students in my classes. This is not a political post. It’s merely an observation.
As a woman with few traditionally feminine attributes, I comprehend the need to recognize and be ok with the fact that not all women are the same, and not all men are the same. It’s ok for a woman to leave the house without makeup. It’s ok for a man to leave the house with makeup. It’s ok for girls to play with cars. It’s ok for boys to play with dolls. It’s also ok for girls to be frilly princesses, and boys to be rambunctious athletes. And the most ok of all? For any person to embody all, some, or none of those things.
For true equality to exist, every person must be granted the freedom to be an individual. That means we all have to stop projecting our personal agendas and dreams for the world onto others. It means we have to let people go about their day according to their lives instead of ours.
In lieu of listing contemporary gender fads, or bore you with trending political rhetoric, I want to take this concept in a new direction by encouraging you, just for a few minutes, to close the door on all things political, socially popular, and emotionally charged. Breathe out and push all that aside.
For just a while, spend your mental energy on something far more significant:
your own life.
Who are you? What’s your name? Do you know why you were given that name? Do you like it? Why?
What’s your favorite taste? I love lime. I squeeze fresh limes into my water then dunk the halves in to intensify the taste. The last swallow is always deliciously bitter.
I also love apricot jam. In fact, that’s the A in the alphabet of my life. More on that later. My mom and sisters are queens of homemade apricot jam. You know the foods that tastes like comfort and needful rest? Mmm…
What are your tastes? What about your taste in music? I won’t state mine here because there will be many, many more posts in which I discuss my music preferences. What about your taste in weather? Do you love fall? Who doesn’t love fall?
As the great Michael Scott said regarding Autumn: “…It’s the most contemplative of seasons.”
Who are your allies? Who’s in your corner? Are you in theirs? Why? Have you learned yet that some allies change? And that it’s a natural, necessary part of life? That it’s ok? Because some allies are permanent. Not perfect–they’ll piss you off, offend you to your core, and call out your bull crap–but they’re permanent. They don’t just show up; they never went anywhere. Not even when one of you moved away.
What are your thoughts on extreme sports? Christianity? Anime? Horseback riding? Judaism? Journaling? Ballroom dance? Leonardo’s work? Who’s your favorite actress? Do you think farting is funny?
When was the last time you slept outside?
Do you enjoy hot dogs cooked over a fire? Do you love to sing? What activities do you hate?
Who’s your special someone? Are you theirs?
Is there pain worse than having a special someone in your life that doesn’t want you as theirs?
That’s a dumb question; of course there is! But it sure doesn’t feel like it when you’re inside that pain. I think a lot of us never break out, no matter how much we’ve moved on.
Are you allergic to any animals? Foods? Scents? Lotions? Do you have chronic constipation? Have you struggled with bulimia? Quick weight gain? Anorexia? Self-harming habits? Are you addicted to any substances? Have you overcome an addiction? High five if you answered yes. That’s awesome!
Who has hurt you? Whom have you hurt?
Who has loved you? Whom have you loved?
What about colors? Do you have a favorite? Does that color have a space in your heart for a reason? I’ve always remembered the dark brown of the back door in my childhood home.
Do you believe in God? Have you sought God? Have you ever considered you may be the child of Gods?
Do you want children? Do you have children? Are you patient with children? Are you intimidated by their untainted curiosity and interest in all things? Are you, like me, jealous of their free spirits and energy?
What does this have to do with gender?
You were born a flawless individual with an incredible machine to move you around the globe at the command of your thoughts! Your machine might have a penis with which to pee. You might have been born with the ability to grow breasts capable of nurturing infants. You might have a prominent jaw, or a frail frame. You might not know what your body’s like skinny, or you might be thin with a chubby face.
You are you. And you can’t ever be replaced by anybody else. This is your opportunity to experience this life. When I hear the phrase “We’re in this together” it resonates through my being. We, the currently living breathing inhabitants of Earth are in this phase of humanity together. This time is our time, and nobody else’s. This chunk of history belongs to the billions of us here right now who are, in the grand scheme of things, just a handful of lucky individuals sharing this world.
I’m reminded of the moment that first caused my heart to swell with joy at the sight of Sean Astin. In the glorious film, The Goonies, he said:
“Down here it’s our time! It’s our time down here! That’s all over the second we ride up Troy’s bucket.”
And that’s all I’m trying to say.
Think of Troy’s bucket as society’s agenda for our time. It will change. It always has and always will. Revolutions are fought. Changes are made. It doesn’t matter. I mean, obviously it does… But it doesn’t.
What does matter is that we have such a short amount if time to identify shapes in the clouds.
The world wants us to let it tell us who we are. It wants us to reject our gender. But who cared what it was in the first place? It wants us to embrace whatever tiny aspect of our personality makes us “different” and define ourselves by it, and flaunt it shamelessly.
But an individual is already different. There’s only one of each of us. Everything about us makes us different. Two girls liking pink does not make them the same. Two boys liking rock music does not make them the same.
Having things in common is just that. It doesn’t make us any less ourselves.
According to modern feminism, there’s a plethora of genders to choose from. Modern feminism would also have you believe we’re gender-neutral. Just another contradiction among thousands. Yawn. Stretch. What a bore.
Have a gender. Have it sparingly. Have it in abundance. Have it so thinly, it can’t be seen. The truth is, I don’t care. And I hate to be the one to break it to those of you who would have everyone care–most people don’t care. We’re just trying to get our own stuff done in time to get a good night’s sleep.
Today, live your life as you. Only you. There’s only one person in the world that can do that. If you don’t, you’ll be missed.