When I was a junior in high school, I went to the mall with my mom. While shopping, I stumbled upon a pair of jeans that fit perfectly. If that wasn’t amazing enough, I also found a great, inexpensive peacoat. Since I rarely was ever interested in clothes, my mom decided I could buy both items. I was so excited. The enthusiasm dwindled, however, when I accidentally stumbled across my mother’s journal the next morning. I didn’t mean to see what she had written, but it was just a random notebook on the desk next to the family computer (where I spent ALL of my time) and I happened to notice my name. She had written something to the effect of:
Alexa is very excited about her new clothes. I am so happy that she is finally interested in clothes. It’s only a pair of jeans and a coat, but still, it’s something.
Now I know that my mom didn’t mean anything by the beginning of her journal entry. Frankly, she probably WAS excited to see me enthusiastic about anything, given my attitude when I was a teenager. Be that as it may, these words really hurt me. It was as if my mom thought there was something wrong with me because I didn’t get all crazy about clothing like a “normal” teenaged girl would. The truth is that I liked clothes just fine, but unfortunately, at the size I was, there were no cute clothes for me to be interested in. There are a lot of options for the plus sized teen nowadays, but when I was growing up, I had to shop at Lane Bryant. The clothes were frumpy and far from stylish; I looked like a forty-five year old woman and I was only sixteen.
My mom’s journal entry showed how hopeful she was that I was finally going to exit the tomboy stage and become a girl. Unfortunately for her, it didn’t happen. I may’ve had a cool pair of jeans, but I continued to refuse to wear the Lane Bryant frump, regardless of whether or not it had the capability of making me more feminine.
The “tomboy” label continued to follow me on into my twenties. People, especially men, have a habit of treating me like one of the guys. One of my male co-workers said to me once, “Well, you’re not a girl-girl, you know?” I most certainly did NOT know. What did he mean? “Well, you don’t like clothes, wear make up and act all girly. You’re more like a guy.”
Uh…what? I’m terrified of spiders, can’t hammer a nail straight to save my life and I hate football. I mean, I hate football. I can barely drive a car, let alone fix one. If it can be helped, I don’t burp in public. I don’t think fart sounds are funny. I like to cuddle. I’m argumentative. I remember everything, and will use it against you in a fight. I’m moody. I’m nurturing and like to make sure the guy I’m seeing has eaten and I will happily get up to go fetch him a beer.
All of the other girls in our company wear jeans, are light on the make-up and wear their hair in ponytails. Why am I the only one who is considered tomboyish?
As if it isn’t bad enough being a female who is nearly thirty (!) and considered boyish, I also have the problem of people thinking I am twelve. Seriously. At 28 years old, I get carded every single time I engage in an age restricted activity. From the guy selling me my lotto ticket at 7-11 to the security guard who chased me around the casino in Reno, demanding to see my ID every five minutes (seriously guy, I’m not getting any younger here…), everyone thinks I’m about seventeen. It’s embarrassing. Sure, maybe I’ll appreciate it when I’m older….but I’m not older yet!
I don’t get this stuff at all. It’s like every time someone looks at me, they see Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird:
I admit, Scout does have excellent taste in shoes.
Despite the tomboy wrap, the fact is, I really do enjoy being girly. I rarely have the occasion, but recently, one popped up. Two of my good friends from high school decided to finally tie the knot this summer. I was honored to be asked to be in the bridal party. Aside from one minor meltdown about my dress not fitting, the whole experience of getting “gussied up” was really fun. I got a manicure and pedicure the day before, then on the day of, all of us bridal party ladies got our hair and make-up done before dressing. I was pretty amazed at how great it all turned out.
Bride and maids at the salon.
My hair was fantastic. Seriously. I practically cried when I took it down.
Since I did, in fact, have so much fun doing all of this, I am really excited to see the professional photos from the wedding. It’s still too early for them to be ready, but the happy couple received a teaser set recently, and they were fabulous. I too, received a teaser set of my own. You see, half of the professional photography duo went to high school with us as well. When I had found out Juvenia was going to be working the wedding, I asked her to take at least one good picture of me, as I hate pretty much every picture I’ve ever been in. A couple of weeks ago, she sent me a message on Facebook with two pictures, saying that she really liked these pictures of me.
- I am a beautiful, grown woman when I am trying to jog along the Embarcadero, wearing my sweatpants and completely drenched in sweat.
- I am a beautiful, grown woman when I am sitting in the laundromat, wearing plaid pajama bottoms and flip flops.
- I am a beautiful, grown woman when I go to work wearing a hoodie, jeans and a pair of chucks.