The other night Ariel came in wearing a princess dress and yellow girly shoes. She looked adorable, but I was confused. She told me, once again, that she wanted to be in a pageant. She does not want to do a glitz pageant. She wants to do one where she does not have to dress up very much or wear a lot of makeup because “I do not like to wear that stuff, especially because I will have to wash my face.” She is being very insistent upon being in a pageant. I am not a fan. However, I did find one locally that will be in November that is supposed to be “natural” and not geared toward solely competing on “looks” and over-the-top “talents.”
All right, if it comes to town we will attempt it so she can finally experience it.
She really wants to try it and thinks she could win. However, I know how these things work so I wanted to make sure that she would be ok if she does not. I asked her again about not winning, because we have had this conversation before.
Our conversation yesterday:
Me: Will you be ok if you do not win?
Ariel: Yes, I will be fine.
Me: Are you sure? You do know that if you did not win it has nothing to do with how pretty you are or what kinds of talents you have, right?
Ariel: I know, I know. Look, I just want to try it.
Me: Ok, I just wanted to make sure.
We talked a little more about it.
She has a healthy mindset about herself and thinks that it would be fun to try. She also wants to watch the other kids and thinks that it would be, “really cool” to see what they do. I know that I am overly sensitive. I know that I am overly concerned, but I am also aware of how cruel little girls and their mothers can be. I also know that my past experiences influence me to be highly protective. (Plus David hates them… hate is actually not even close to how much he loathes pageants.) I think that I need a healthy perspective and realize that keeping her or the boys from trying things is not good. They have to experience life – I know this. However, I am very cautious! I was in a pageant once even though I did not win I am glad that I did it. I ended up having fun and got to experience some really cool things.
I promised her that if they have it here we would do it.
I found this request confusing though because for the past three weeks Ariel has been dressing in her brothers clothes and saying that she wants to be a boy. I did not think much of it the first week. I used to wear boys clothes all the time not when I was little, it was only my mother and I, but as I blossomed into my teenage years I started taking my step dads clothes. When my great-grandfather died, my grandma let me go through his clothes and I took many of his button down shirts and boxers. When I was around 10 and 11-years-old my favorite attire was polo type shirts, and long sleeve button down shirts with jeans or slacks and tennis shoes. (Or penny loafers I loved penny loafers!)
The boy’s clothes look a lot like what I wore.
When she started to refuse to wear her own clothes and underwear that is when I started thinking more about it. Now I wanted to understand where she was coming from so I asked her why she was wearing her brothers clothes and why she wanted to be a boy. I am very thankful that Ariel can express herself so well. She explained to me that she “finds boy clothes more comfortable than girl clothes.” She also explained to me that, “I feel like a boy sometimes because I like to do a lot of boy things. I like Lego’s and computer games and to get dirty and stuff.”
I told her that I like to do a lot of boy type things too.
I also told her that I like to wear boy clothes too because they ARE more comfortable much of the time. She stopped for a moment and thought about what I said. I told her that I was a mix of girly and boyish, and I asked her if that was how she felt too. She said yes and liked the idea of being “girly and boyish.” I did not press too much on the topic, but she did reveal that she very much feels like a girl who likes many boy things. Aww, yes, she is my little girl. I let her go and parade around in her boy clothes being herself the last few weeks. The last several days I noticed she started to mix in her clothes again. I did not say anything.
It seemed rather drastic when she came in with her dress on the other night.
Then, I thought about it some more and I realized that I do the same thing. I will go for long periods of time wearing certain types of clothes that could seem rather dull for a woman’s wardrobe and all of a sudden I feel like getting prettied up and wearing something nice. Or I will decide that I want to wear my red heels around the house with my black yoga shorts and tank top. Or boots, or a dress! I will feel like wearing make-up… (Not much, of course) and then it’s gone.
When I was growing up, I was told that I needed to look a certain way.
I was supposed to wear certain types of clothes. My mother never told me what to wear, but she commented often that I did not look my best. She wanted to dress me up, I loved wearing dresses and refused to wear anything else at one time in my young life, but I also was running around doing flips and playing in the dirt as I wore them. I decided to start wearing shorts underneath because my mom would always yell at me saying, “Little ladies do not show their panties. Little ladies do not sit like that. Little ladies do not do that in dresses.” It was clear I was no little lady. Over the years, I have learned how to fake being one. (I still wear shorts instead of slips. I hate slips!)
There are no limitations to how I want to dress and what I want to do.
It is ironic that my mom is very much the same way, but she loves fashion and has a very sharp style. She likes that and she ended up with my sisters and me. None of us are girly girls. I am happy that Ariel feels comfortable enough to wear and act the way she feels. I am happy that she feels comfortable enough to talk to me about it and knows that there is no judgment. The boys tend to go into their, “I want to be a girl” moments as well, but they do not want to wear girl clothes. I just let them them be and let them share with me why they want to. It seems a bit like black-and-white thinking because they say they want to be a girl when they are doing things that they perceive as what girls like to do and vice versa. Who knows really, as long as they feel able to express themselves that is all I care about. I am not one to fall for typical male/female gender roles.
I guess that is reflective in my kids as well.
On another note… We went to another park. I am loving the fact that there are so many places to go around here. We went to a park that my mom and I used to go to a lot when I was child. That particular playground was not there when I was little. It is right by the dam. There is a walking/bike trail as well that leads up to the old dam which is very high up and steep. I have not been there in a very long time and I am not sure if it is still as unsafe as it was when I was a child. It had a chain link going across as a means to stop people from going over the edge. I am sure it is much more secure now. I hope! We are going to check out the trail soon. The kids are so happy with all of these parks too.