I am NOT a “girly girl.” I identify as female, I have been a wife and mother, I am now a girlfriend, and I am heterosexual. However, I am not overly “girly.” I have only recently paid more attention to purses. I always did my makeup since I was sixteen years of age, but only recently started watching YouTube videos on applying it and making myself look younger. I always enjoyed having my nails done, but I never really personally took the time.

However, I have always been independent and straightforward. My Dad wanted a son, so he got one, sort of, because I am the oldest of 3 children. I rode my bicycle everywhere. I ran the neighborhood with boys — mainly because there were always more of those (and they didn’t mind playing rough and getting dirty, unlike prissy girls). I explored creeks and woods and played in tree houses. Rocks and sticks and my imagination were my toys. I also got into the occasional fight. I am what I am…

I know my Mom wished I was more girly. When shoe shopping as a teen, I wanted new Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars. My Mom sighed and said, “I just wish you were more girly and wanted Reeboks or something.” So, I bought pink Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, just for her; honestly, they were my favorite pair. Naturally, they were the high-top style!

In high school, I did wear makeup, and occasionally wore a mini-skirt, but mainly I was all about t-shirts and Levi 501 blue jeans. It has always been who I am. I tried to talk my Mom into buying me expensive Guess? jeans, but we stuck to Levi’s because they were MUCH cheaper. Concert t-shirts, jersey t’s, raglan t’s, Every so often I threw in stirrup pants and a sweater, or a ruffled skirt, but I was pretty basic. I tired of trying to be someone I wasn’t…I wore myself out with that in middle school. The popular girls didn’t want you in their group unless you looked and dressed and thought like them — screw that! I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t a lemming. After one particularly emotional episode, my Dad doled out this gem, “Don’t break whom you are to fit in with them…they’re fake anyway…if they’re truly your friends they’ll want to fit in with you, babe.”I think I rolled my eyes at that advice, but I soon realized that he was incredibly correct.

I wonder sometimes if who I am made my Mom question my sexuality. I was raised to be an independent woman, who could take care of herself, which I think made her both proud and perplexed. My Dad taught me to change a tire and to change the oil in my car. I was taught to investigate things and not to give up, because my Grandfather B is basically MacGyver…another story for another day…however, being teachable and being able to handle tools made me independent-but-manly, according to my Abuser. However, I also believe that this knowledge and attitude served me while I was in active abuse so I could take care of myself, my household, and my children — without having to involve outside people. For their safety, of course; plus, I was always afraid that someone was going to try to take my kids away. I was also always loyal AND protective.

My personal style used to upset my Abuser. My au natural appearance, meaning no or minimal makeup, as well as wearing t-shirts and jeans, made him angry because I wasn’t “fancy” or “flashy” enough for him; however, it also made people gravitate toward me, as I was easy-going and authentic, which was equally aggravating to my Abuser. During the entirety of my marriage, I honestly did not know how to be “me.” I felt like a life-size Barbie doll, most of the time, with my outfits being picked out and scrutinized, being groomed to be what he thought I ought to be…not who I truly was. It was easier navigating life as a teen than being married to a narcissist. I nearly lost my identity!

So, at age forty-nine, I reverted to my former style and easy-going attitude. I will wear jeans and a nice blouse or cardigan to work, and concert t-shirts and sweatpants in the evening. Sometimes yoga pants or workout pants are involved, if sweats aren’t appropriate (or clean). I still have the “less-is-more” style I did when I was younger. I have decided I am too old to be anything other than my authentic self. I advise life is too short to be anyone but who you are, with your whole heart. And what happens if you are? Then other authentic people will seek you out and accept you and your quirkiness without question or rebuke. Love and Light! <3