Confessions of a Former Tomboy

As defined by Merriam/Webster:

a girl who enjoys things that people think are more suited to boys.

Maybe it was the two older brothers, but in my childhood I was a straight-up tomboy. Recess was an excuse for playing soccer with the guys or frolicking in the mud. My poor mom would sew absolutely adorable little dresses and such for me that would make it about ten minutes before I looked like this, grin and all:

via http://www.smith.mn

Slowly, from around age thirteen on, I began to embrace more feminine elements about myself and let the tomboy descriptor fade away. And suddenly I was stuck somewhere in the middle… not quite fitting into either category. Was I one of the boys or did I feel like a woman?

So I shall employ my most tried and true method of solving any debate… let’s list this thing out, people.

Just One of the Boys:

  • Anti-Pink/Flowers/Frills – Blame it partially on my skin tone, but I don’t own any pink clothing or accessories. A few flowers have filtered in, but I am more drawn to birds, feathers or other natural patterns outside of daisies. It might be more stylistically driven than tomboyish but I still prefer clean lines to frilly details on my attire.
  • Boy Scouts > Girl Scouts – I only made it through one year of Girl Scouts before quitting. All we really did was sell cookies… I wanted to camp and learn to shoot a bow and arrow like the Boy Scouts.  I still want to learn that, actually.
  • Let’s Play in the Dirt – One of the highlights in moving to Colorado two years ago was how many new outdoor activities there are for me to try. I am not and never have been afraid of getting a little dirty in the pursuit of fun.
  • Playing/Watching Sports – Yes, I can be competitive and love playing co-ed sports as an adult. I also actively follow baseball and football and genuinely enjoy watching games. I am certainly not an extremest, but I am certainly a sporty kind of girl.
  • Rather Watch Explosions than Romance – Still true… I am a much bigger fan of blow-’em-up action movies, superhero flicks and sci-fi thrillers than your standard Rom-Com. (See my previous Anti-The-Notebook post here.)
  • Legos Over Barbie – I still think Legos are the best toy in the history of life… many of my brother’s toys were more appealing than my own as a child and I still hope for Legos every Christmas.
  • Not a Disney Princess – So this one has changed a little bit with Mulan, Rapunzel in Tangled and Mireda in Brave, but the “Someday My Prince Will Come” mentality has never resonated naturally with me.

——– And now for the counter-argument ———

I Feel Like a Woman:

  • Dresses/Skirts/Heels – I now fully and happily embrace dresses (a whole outfit in one with no thinking required!) and own a decent variety of non-athletic footwear.
  • Ponytail Optional – I previously had long hair that I lovingly referred to as my mop since it was straight and fine and spent most of it’s existence pulled up. Then I chopped it off into a bob, forcing me to both style my hair and embrace wearing it down. Eventually I began to have fun with it too. But I do carry a hair-tie at all times, just in case.
  • Gender-Specific Clothing – I now dress like a girl, happily opting for well-fitting clothes designed for women versus my brother’s baggy hand-me-downs that I favored in my childhood. Doesn’t mean I don’t have an old comfy sweatshirt or two for weekends, but it’s certainly no longer my typical wardrobe.
  • Make-up is Not Just for Theater – While I still strive for low-maintenance, it’s no longer sacrilegious in my mind to put on make-up and use product in my hair. Accessories won’t make me spontaneously combust and there is inherent satisfaction in feeling put together.
  • Shopping Isn’t That Painful – Slowly I learned to love the hunt and challenge of shopping in general. Though nothing close to a mall-rat, my childhood animosity towards shopping is pretty much eradicated.
  • A Cocktail Dress Isn’t a Disguise – Getting dressed up no-longer elicits any “who’s that girl!” reaction. Not to say I don’t clean up nice, but it’s no longer the She’s All That unrecognizable frumpy to va-va-voom stereotypical movie makeover moment.
  • I am not Super Tough – I swear, I am more afraid of silly things now than I was as a child, as listed in my previous post.  A bit of the fearless attitude of my former tomboy self has faded away… maybe just because I know more now!

Seven vs seven compelling and competing elements that are part of who I am. I realize that more than being categorized as either a tomboy or girly-girl, I was, and still am, somewhere solidly in the middle… just defined as me.

I will leave you with a little throw-back classic, laying the sarcasm on thick in the way only Gwen Stefani can.

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2 thoughts on “Confessions of a Former Tomboy

  1. Totally agree. I was out following my dad around the farm as soon as I could walk. Although I don’t think I every really became girly until living in New York. But I still hate wearing shoes as much as I love shoes. If you want to learn how to shoot a gun I can help you there, but perhaps we can find someone to give us bow lessons together?

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