I am a woman. I am proud of this. I do not consider myself the “weaker gender”. I am strength and courage. I pride myself in that.
However, I no longer base my womanhood on how feminine I am. This is a change for me. It wasn’t a conscious change, one day I just realized feminine does not equal womanly and vice versa.
As a kid I was a “tomboy”. Covered in dirt, scratches, and bruises with the boys, that was me. As I hit adulthood I was told this or that wasn’t “lady like”. I needed to be softer, gentler. So I stopped embracing my “rough” side if that’s what you want to call it. I kept my hair long and relaxed because guys “prefer” long hair on girls. I started wearing makeup because that’s what grown women do. I tried to dress more feminine and “cute”. I tried to soften up. I tried to learn to bite my tongue. I became a “woman”. I place the word in quotes because I became what people said a woman should be. I was always a bit uncomfortable with the “woman” I had become. It wasn’t me but I kept at it.
And then I did something I thought was insignificant. I cut my hair. Not a little trim this time. I walked into a barber shop and cut it all off. I loved it. It was freeing. That’s when I started to notice a change in me. My womanhood was no longer based on how I looked. Strange right? A haircut shouldn’t really have that much power, but it did. See, the way I got my hair cut made me look a bit “dude-ish”. Without makeup and in my comfy clothes I started getting mistaken for a guy. I got called sir a few times actually. It didn’t bother me. In fact, I would answer with no correction of pronouns. Why? Because I realized I was a woman no matter how I looked and no matter what someone called me. I am a woman. Period. I am a woman because I say I am a woman. Makeup or no makeup. Long hair or short hair. High heels or sneakers. Skinny jeans or baggy clothes. I am still a woman. On the days I am feeling super feminine, I will rock a face full of makeup and strut in my heels with the best of them. On other days, I’m in a beenie and a Nintendo tee shirt hanging with my boys and fitting in flawlessly. I can be soft and gentle and rough around the edges. I’m still a woman. I am more comfortable with the woman I am now than I’ve ever been. Short hair, bare face, loud mouth and all.