The boys in my neighborhood were a war-like group. They made weapons and forts and had battle plans with shifting allegiances. Ever the pacifist, I left flowers in their forts.
Someone recently made the assumption that I was a tomboy. I was certainly told that I was at the time, but I don't know if it was true. I climbed a lot of trees and resented then, and still resent, pink marketing. Sitting still and watching fingernail polish dry in a cloud of noxious fumes reminds me of Chinese foot binding as a way of debilitating female brilliance and achievement.
I respect the true warriors of the world like Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Warren, Mother Therese... people who see a problem and do what they can to fix it. Their gender isn't a gauge of their competence, although perhaps it is critical in how they approach the problems they tackle(d)?
"Boys will be boys" will always be true. They'll build their forts and kill each other in mock battles. The "dead" smiled at me when I put flowers on their chests. We were all true to our natures on the battlefield, and one boy gently tucked his flower in his shirt pocket when the dead resurrected to head off for more of their boyish activities.
It's always a fight to be ourselves as long as we live around other people. It isn't just gender roles. Other people want us to behave in ways that make them the most comfortable. Their pressures can be subtle or oppressive, and it can be a challenge to live our fullest lives.
I think this is especially important for creative people, whatever their specialty. On the tv show "The Voice", it's often said that technical ability isn't the be all end all. The singing contestants need to share themselves and their feelings in order for the audience to be with them. Watching them struggle with fears about opening up reminds me that this is something we all need to do, and to be receptive to others when they do it.
Why was/is it necessary to define whether or not I was a tomboy? Why did other people feel justified in voicing their labels to a child? My goal, then and now, is simply to live my life as well as I can live it with as much of myself intact.
And while a sword drawing seems out of whack for a self-affirmed pacifist, it's unapologetically a part of me. I'm my own kind of warrior who wants a pretty handle on an impractical weapon that's suggestive of an idea -- and that kind of idea and statement is me. I'm kind of tempted to draw a lot of flowers in the background now too, which gives me the push/pull of OCD perfectionism and laziness -- which is also me, but at least that's all within myself without pressure from anyone else. That is absolute freedom.
I posted this sword in my 4th blog post ever which you can see here. It's hard to believe it's been 5 years! As a thanks to all of you who've shared my journey I'm thinking of doing a giveaway next week, so make sure to come back then. Course it also depends on whether or not my current project(s) with linoleum blocks work out the way I'd like, but it's a goal :).