For most of my life, I’ve struggled with the idea of femininity. It’s not that I ever wanted to be anything other than female, but I didn’t feel like I fit the mold of what society portrayed as female. I liked playing with G.I. Joe and Matchbox cars as much as I liked dolls. I hated floral prints and the color pink. I wanted to be an astronaut instead of a princess. I never daydreamed about getting married and having children. Femininity meant pink, dresses, cheerleading, makeup, and frills. Those were things that had nothing to do with me, and so I never imagined myself as being feminine in the least.
My attitude had not changed much into my early 20s either. Being feminine meant joining a sorority and dating lots of boys. I chose to hang out in coffee shops, got into the college music scene, and dressed in camp playing Army Ranger for fun. I was starting to let a little femininity into my life though. I did start painting my toenails, but I painted them black or in a camouflage pattern. I wore skirts and dresses, but I also wore combat boots and rolled through the mud.
In some ways, I suppose that I was afraid of femininity. The things I associated with femininity were “girly” and portrayed weakness. Being a mother, however, changed my mind. The act of motherhood is the very essence of femininity, and there is no place for weakness when it comes to giving birth to and raising children. Before I became a mother, I was afraid to have a daughter. I thought that I didn’t know anything about being a girl. I bought her a blue space quilt and refused to purchase anything pink for my new baby girl. On the day she was born, I realized that I was wrong. Both of us were incredibly stubborn and incredibly strong. Weaker spirits may not have survived, but we were fighters.