My dad would just reply, "I hope so!"
My dad raised his girls to be tough, not boob or whine and we were to repeat often the phrase "self sufficiency" whenever a new skill was to be learned. My parents let me be free to love what I love, whether it was "gender appropriate" or not. My mother would let me wear the baggy sweatshirt and the super frilly clogging slip while riding my big wheel, barefooted, in the rain (this is me to a T, by the way). And when her co-worker had mistaken me for a "poor little polygamist girl" - my mother just laughed.
For this I am grateful. But in certain social situations, I was awkward.
So when I ran across this photo of me laying on a couch that belonged to my boyfriend's parents -the couch that in a few minutes from the time that photo was taken I would soundly break - I got that awkward feeling in my gut that so often plagued me growing up.
I broke that couch wrestling with my boyfriend. I do not use the term wrestling as a euphemism for making out, either. We were wrestling, half nelsons, the whole bit. Once I made his ear bleed. Once we broke his parents couch. And he was my boyfriend.
I look at that picture and get that awkward and embarrassed feeling in my gut. Not just because we broke the couch, but because I think his family thought it was really weird.
Other examples of this:
when the girls were playing tag with the boys and giggling and getting tagged (on purpose, some of them) - I remember chasing a boy, grabbing him by the back of the collar and with a good twist and firm yank, he was eating grass. My technique was solid and fostered consistent results. I was on a roll. By the fourth boy I was on top of the world. I was killing it at that game. Surely these boys would be impressed with my mad skills, I thought. I wanted them to be impressed.
"Ha! TAG!" I remember one boy looking up at me from the ground like I was crazy. After that I wasn't allowed to play anymore.
COLLEGE. (Yes, College):
I fell in love with my T.A. in college. So when an extra credit opportunity came up to go fishing with him at Strawberry Reservoir, I was all over it. A chance to be closer to him. To hopefully impress him. Here is what that morning looked like:
|(The bald shirtless dude would be me)|
It was me, my dreamboat and a darling little blonde in a canoe (yep). I was wearing my dad's team building work shirt that had a cartoon drawing of the Star Trek Enterprise on it, and some baggy jeans. Hair was likely in a bun, hair whispies like wings fluttering at the side of my face. She was wearing something more feminine (not her dad's) and a cute, perfect, bouncy pony tail.
We both caught fish, but being the self-sufficient girl I am, I determined to do it without help. Which I did.
And then, when we got to shore and Dreamboat T.A. showed us how to gut a fish, I determined to do it on my own. Show him how I'm not a wimp, that I can take guts and get a job done. As I began scraping out the innards with my thumbnail like a pro, I looked up to that adorable man expecting to see adoration in his eyes. But what I saw was him leaning in close to help the squealing, but smiling, bouncing ponytail girl gut a fish.
He was smiling, too. Once again, I thought...huh. I think I am missing something, here.
Later, I participated in another extra credit project in which I spent eight hours digging fence post holes under a hot sun - digging with all my might for my beloved T.A. He did finally acknowledge me. "Wow, you're a really hard worker", he said. I was flattered and smiled my biggest smile, but I would have liked to have been asked out. I wasn't. Of course I didn't realize all that work left me with a serious dirt mustache until after I got home.
In the end, I married the boy I use to wrestle. He understood me. He liked the way I was/am.
As my mother in law has said, "There's a lid for every pot."