My left shoulder hurts. It has for years, but not like it has lately. Lately whenever I try to put my arm up over my head, do pushups, carry hay or saddle my horse it really really hurts. I went to see the shoulder guy at the Orthopaedic clinic, and he gave me a shot of steroids but that only worked for a little while, so I was back there this morning. He wants to rule out a small tear in the rotator cuff before he puts me in physical therapy, so they're scheduling an MRI.
I'm so excited.
I've never had an MRI. And what if I have to have surgery? Another scar to show off! Cool!
Yes, I'm that person.
I'm the person who sees snow falling and I might pretend to be annoyed, because that's apparently what you're supposed to feel when it snows. Inside, though, I can't wait for the adventure of driving in it. There might even be an accident! I might end up stranded in the wilderness and have to hike through the mountains and eat my companions to survive!
I'm the person who gets a scrape or a cut and the only reason I go looking for a bandage is so I can walk by my husband and kids and say "LOOK! I'M BLEEDING!" If the cut isn't bleeding enough I'll probably squeeze it a little to see if I can get more out of it.
I'm the person who hates needles and gets tattoos. "How many hours did that one take?" "Four two hour appointments." "Didn't it hurt" "Oh, yeah, it hurt like hell. It was awesome." And when I'm under the needle and the artist asks if I need a break and I say that I'm fine and they respond with "Wow, most people would have had to take at least a couple of breaks by now," I'm all "FUCK YEAH."
I'm the woman who will smack a volleyball into the face of the guy on the other side of the net with barely concealed glee, run over the shortstop on my way to second base and barrel through the guy trying to set a pick on me when I'm guarding the guy who's driving the baseline.
I put on my coveralls and a baseball cap, put my truck up on ramps and change my oil, change my filters, refill my washer fluid and try to see if that pesky leak is just a loose bolt that I can fix myself. I look like a greasemonkey, and I could care less.
And this may sound crazy, but at the same time I like that I can put on a fancy dress and get my hair and makeup all just so and knock my husband's socks off with my awesome female self. I very much like my femininity and all that it entails.
I'm not alone in this. So many women I know are just like me, strong and soft. Tough and tender. My daughter is one of them.
Pink, bright hot pink, is her favorite color. She loves My Little Pony and Dragons, stuffed kitty toys and light sabers. She wants to be a princess and a ninja. She has beautiful hair to her waist and she prefers jeans to dresses. She came to me on Christmas day to talk about how upset she was when some relatives and friends gave her brother "boy" toys and gave her "girl" things like body wash and perfume. She was upset to think anyone might think that she was a "girly girl."
There is so much to love about being a woman. While its a sure bet that my childhood in the late 60's/early 70's subjected my psyche to a great deal of gender role absolutes, I enjoy wearing makeup and dressing in clothes meant to showcase what I think is attractive about myself. I care about how my hair looks, and I struggle like many women about the impossible-to-walk line between having fingernails that are neat and pretty or fingernails that allow you to do things like cinch a saddle, throw hay bales and repair fencing.
In 1983, the year I graduated high school, 95 percent of autobody repair workers were male. There must have been something brewing in us and the classes of women that followed. As of a decade ago, the number of women in that industry tripled -- a 369% increase. Other typically male-dominated industries have seen similar jumps in female workers - firefighting, millwork, engineering and law enforcement, to name a few. 1 I've been a lot of things in my work life, but the bulk of it I've spent in transportation.
I might have grown up watching Charlie's Angels, but I think I still understood at a very deep level that those women were still playing to male sexuality and that they represented very little that was real. Anyone with half a brain knows that television and movies tell you lots of lies about how people look and what they say and do.
So when Amazon Girl complained about some of her gifts, I told my daughter that people weren't trying to be unkind if they bought her "girly girl" presents. I told her even though she might not be a perfume and flowers kind of young lady that it wasn't demeaning for people to think of her as feminine. Besides, isn't a gift is more of a reflection of the giver than of the receiver?. But I get it, as might any woman who in the hormone hell of early puberty was mistaken more than once for a boy. But I want her to know - to believe - that she doesn't have to be one or the other. Both aspects of her exist together and there's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong about being a woman who can both take care of herself and look good doing it.
The dividing line between two worlds that were once very separate has become thin and transparent. We may be very different physically, we may in large part have critically different ways of thinking and organizing our lives, but in so many ways we have broken free of the gender roles that at one time were used to contain and limit us. I think thats a good thing for all of us, men included.
So hey, do you want to arm wrestle?
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2005 Current Population Survey
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