Thursday, August 21, 2008

Crafty & Disturbed



So...craftiness gets the best of me sometimes. I get the overwhelming urge to make quirky, adorable things. Current addiction? Little felt owls, like the one pictured above. He's my favorite! You can't see his wings very well, but they're accordingly tiny and adorable. This one was part of a gift for Ari's birthday, because she loves owls too. I know. I'm a girl, right?

OK. Wait just a second there. Just tapped into something. I think I'm going to rant. Yes, I am. Definitely.

I'm a girl?! Why did I even say that?! Of course I am! Terms and phrases like "you throw like a girl" and "pretty good for a girl" have always griped me. Given, you don't hear those much after the age of 13, but they still bug me. It's demeaning. I hate it, and I just used the word "girl" to excuse something I thought might be construed as silly, useless or weak! Oh my. This just keeps getting worse.

I know I am a strong person. Just talking physically at the moment. Girl or no girl. I used to-and will soon again-if my back allows it-run 4 miles and swim 700 yards at the gym 3-4 times a week. I can push an F-150 up a slight hill-IF you take it out of gear for me(Todd). I can beat some men-of the non weight lifting variety-at arm wrestling! I can shovel mulch and load a trailer full of fire wood, and it still makes me feel weak if someone utters those words. For a girl. *Humph*

I'm going to have to blame this one on my father. I've mentioned his alcoholism and absence before, I'm sure. I was able to spend a little bit of time with him as a child. Though, it was always while he was working. Clearing woods or welding, I was right there with him. I spent most of my time sticking out like a sore thumb, and feeling very much like a weak, useless girl. It was like I was no good to him (in my mind) unless I could do something helpful. I don't suppose it was really his fault. He did have to work and was trying to spend time with me. He was just never very good at it. He had NO idea what to do with this little curly headed girl staring up at him all the time. I usually found myself attempting to help/getting in the way. Maybe it was to gain some kind of approval?

All I know is pretty soon I had been assigned the very important positions of transporting small sticks and twigs out of the way, and getting drinks from the cooler. A job to keep me busy and away from machinery. It was an easy way to keep me from getting hurt ALL THE TIME. (I bet I either burnt myself on an engine, or got stung by a sweat bee at least every other day.) However minuscule the task, I felt instant gratification.

Lately I've felt that uselessness again. I suppose it's mostly due to this degenerative disc disease. Again, thanks Dad! I've always been very active and now if I accidentally lift too much, I bulge a disc. Then I have to spend a week and a half going to the chiropractor everyday in an attempt to avoid surgery, or spinal injections. It's why I haven't been to the gym in months, and I guess it's why I feel defensive about doing specifically girly things.

I've been brain washed to believe that girls are tiny and breakable. Silently, I've fought to deny it my entire life. I fought to prove that it wasn't so. I made myself useful, because I thought just being a girl meant I was helpless, and I hated that feeling. I thought I'd gotten past that.

Even though I know how strong I am, my back makes me feel broken. In a way I guess I fear that the things I do that are primarily female tasks will make me weak and inadequate, and those are the things that I tend to do when I'm experiencing back pain. Hmm...I had no idea.

6 comments:

  1. WOW... ummm, i do like the owl tho, it's tres chic.

    i'll just leave it at that right now - do you feel better about getting that off of your chest? sometimes we just need to vent - i get it and it's good. ;)

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  2. I like my little owl! Evenly the manly engineers I work with have commented on him!

    I completely understand (as usual) about the worthless girl thing - I thinks that's why I try to take so much on in my relationship with Mark (the whole super housewife thing I'm doing) - I want to prove that even though I'm not physically very strong - I'm mentally and emotionally together and strong and can support the entire family by myself. We have issues that no therapist can fix and so I say it with you "Thanks Dad!"

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  3. I hate it when people make generalizations about girls too. It just seems so condescending when people make those stereotypes.

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  4. Kelwhy- I do feel better now. If I type long enough all kinds of stuff comes out.

    Ari- Yea! And you are a strong, mentally and emotionally stable woman. Let's go kick our Dad's butts!

    Megkathleen- Exactly.

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  5. I've always hated the "good for a girl" thing as well, but it wasn't as prevalent in my family since it's very matriarchal. The women run things and pay bills and get to be in charge of the checkbook and whatnot. My pet peeve is that if you're good at anything - softball, building things, running, whathaveyou - you're a lesbian. THAT is annoying, because 1. it's not any of their business and 2. why? Why can't I be a girl and like boys and be good and some "boy" things? Where is that rule etched in stone? So, sorry to answer a rant with a rant, but there it is.

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  6. Captain Steve- I appreciate the rant. It's very affirming. And I agree whole-heartedly...another rant coming...

    I'm really learning to HATE gender roles and all that psychological crap we're brain washed to believe as children. Girls play w/dolls and boys pull the wings off of bugs.

    Nothing has to be that precisely determined. In my opinion, this is why we have so many depressed/suicidal teenagers. If they aren't by the book, which they WILL be aware of by age 13, they feel like an outcast. And depending on their instability we have the next Charles Manson on our hands!

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