Not A Pretty Girl
…[B]ut identity is not a negative. Identity is just a difference, and you have to reclaim that and be able to love that in yourself and say that this was probably always going to be me. And this part I can love, and it is not a problem.”
– Charles Blow, NPR Interview
This is how I’m dressed today. And when I dress like this I feel 100%, authentically myself. But I’m not a pretty girl. And I constantly struggle with that emotionally, philosophically and ontologically.
There is a disconnect between what society, particularly straight, cisgender society, considers pretty, and my authentic self. Oh, I know I’m not hideous. I have nice eyes and people say I have a nice smile, but I’m not granted the privilege of the pretty girls.
I can’t toss my hair and bat my eyes and easily have men want to be with me. If I like a man I go to almost any lengths to try and make him like me too. I chase and I make muffins and I send text messages and I wear lip gloss and put on perfume and I dress uncomfortably girly and I grow my hair longer and it still doesn’t really matter because I’m not pretty and don’t have big breasts. (But I have a good personality…)
I’ve never been able to cry my way out of a speeding ticket. I’ve never been given free parking spots or concert tickets. I’ve never been sent flowers. I’ve never been told I’m beautiful. (But I’m smart and funny…)
Things are easier for pretty girls. And frankly, I resent them. I want to slap NFL cheerleaders. I want to kick beauty pageant contestants in their cooters. I want to push those girls who wear high heels they can’t even walk in off cliffs. I know this is hateful. But that’s how I feel. Sorry.
I understand that I could make myself prettier. I could grow my hair longer. I could wear makeup. I could dress more feminine. But I don’t want to do those things. I don’t want to get up an extra hour early in the morning so I can blow-dry my hair and put on makeup. I don’t want to wear shoes that torture my feet all day. I want to be low maintenance and comfortable.
Besides, I wouldn’t be true to myself OR a potential partner if I tried to be all those things I’m not just to attract someone. So why can’t men see deeper than the pretty?
I would actually fit really well in the Lesbian “Stud” community. My look is well-suited there. But I know I’m straight. #bornthisway
I’ve also thought a lot about the genderqueer or transgender labels. But those don’t feel right either. I’m not trying or wanting to present as a man nor do I identify as a man. I just feel like I’m ME. The kind of woman that doesn’t get much consideration or appreciation or attention in mainstream society because I’m not soft and pretty. There is no niche or label for heterosexual cisgender women who want to “present” like me.
The irony is that I’m incredibly soft and vulnerable. I just don’t manage to wear that on the outside. It feels very scary and threatening when I go out dressed femininely. I feel like I’m naked and open and afraid and ashamed. I feel like I can’t protect myself. I feel like a fraud. I feel like I’m doing it wrong. I feel like people are laughing at me.
On the inside I’m all cookies and kittens and cuddles and empathy and love and concern and care and hugs and Pop Tarts. (Okay. There’s some snark and filthy language and control issues and passive-aggressiveness in there too, but still and all….) But you have to look beyond the ballcap and the Bad Ass panties and the Doc Martens and the scars to see the vulnerable me.
Like I said at the beginning, I’ve struggled with these gender presentation issues my entire life from fighting with my mom about what I could wear when I was five to fighting to convince a man to love me last month.
Here’s where I stand on it all right this second. I feel so much like myself in my tomboy clothes and without makeup and long hair that I don’t think I can deny that it’s who I am.
I don’t want to spend time trying to be someone I’m not just so I can find a man to love me. Am I willing to be alone forever if that’s what it costs? Right now, I think so. I’ve tried being someone I’m not in relationships, and obviously, it never turns out well. But I really wish a man I was attracted to could find me beautiful like I am and love me for it.
I’m loving (or at least accepting) myself more and more every day. I love my ballcaps. I love my sparkly earrings. I love my sweatshirts. I love my knee-high black leather boots. I love my scars. And I love my little boobs.
I’m not a label. There is no definition for me. I am just, finally, becoming me. And I can’t be anything else.