Growing up I had maybe three girl friends and all the rest were boys. And of those three, two of them were tomboys. Thing is I’ve never been a huge girly girl and I can pretty much guarantee I never will be. Being a tomboy has taught me a somethings that being super girly never would have taught me. But of course, like anything, there are pros and cons of this. Just go with me because this is going to end up like a Venn diagram of sorts but I don’t know how to make one on the computer.
Let’s start with the pros…
1) I’m prone to bouts of anger that I just need to get out (Okay, I don’t want to use the term blackout rage but you get the picture). Being a tomboy lead to playing sports and playing sports is just what I needed for my anger. It gave me a constructive outlet and a way to get rid of it that was acceptable. I played softball, basketball, and did gymnastics but even when I wasn’t on a team, I knew that just going for a run was enough to clear my head and keep myself from impulsively doing anything stupid that I would regret later on. Even now, it still holds true. I was in a pretty bad mood a few days ago when we decided to play some softball. After smacking the ball with my bat and sprinting after a few hits, I felt a whole lot better.
2) This one ties into the first one. As a tomboy, you learn to appreciate the stinkiness, dirtiness, and exhaustion of sports. After all that hitting and running, I was left with the cathartic rhythm of worn out breathing you can only get after exerting lots and lots of energy (That’s part of the thing that calms me down). I’m pretty sure any athlete can tell you that the breathing I’m talking about is one of the best feelings in the world. One of the other best feelings in the world is the dirtiness that comes with sports–the grass stains, the sweat, and especially if you play baseball or softball, that special dirt that just doesn’t come out of clothes. It makes you feel accomplished and like a real athlete. I dove for a ball the other day and had a huge grass stain up my leg. I loved being that dirty.
The stinky smell of sports deserves its own paragraph. It takes a true athlete–someone who really loves the game–to enjoy the smell that comes along with it. To most people, my gym bag probably smells terrible but to me, it smells like success. Or the smell left on your hand from a glove or batting gloves, I love it. Of course, it takes a really special person to love the smell of catcher’s gear–something I could never muster–but I’m sure this is the same for every sport. Football players probably love their pads. Basketball players and…I’m not sure here…shoes, maybe? This one has to be a universal thing.
3) As a tomboy, you learn that clothes are better when they are comfy than when they forego that for cuteness. Basketball shorts, sweats, cutoffs, baggy t-shirts, hoodies, flip-flops, hats–it’s so much better than all those girls who have to look cute 24/7. Plus, you get to not spend half your life making yourself look cute and then the other half trying to keep it looking cute. Of course, I’m pretty sure sports clothes carry their own special kind of cuteness (Or at least I hope so since two of the three drawers on my dresser are filled with these clothes). Why would you want to wear clothes you can’t get messy in? Okay, I get why you would sometimes. I’ll admit to having quite a few dresses and such but the minute I get the chance to shuck that for sweats and baggy shirts, I’m doing it.
Okay now let’s move on to the cons…
1) You get a lot of weird looks when you aren’t in the right company and start showing your crazy, ridiculous, borderline obsessive knowledge of sports. And that goes double when you are a girl in the company of chauvinists or very girly girls. I may go to a school where the place I like to study is dominated by slutty girls and girly girls. I may get a lot of people staring at me in disdain when I show up in sweats and my hat (Okay, seriously there is nothing not cute about a camo Bama hat. These girls need to learn what’s up). I may have also had a writing job that was me writing about baseball every day. I may have decided to quit when my knowledge of the sport was being question because I was a girl (A girl who has played the game for about 15 years and can talk circles about the game around most people) and the guys were…well, let’s just say less knowledgeable and hadn’t played the game competitively ever (Because they were both too dumpy to. Don’t try to tell me when it’s the proper time to use a bunt when I’ve batted .1000 in a game using only bunts. I may still hold some animosity here). Or I may have stunned my favorite sports store owner yesterday when he asked me who my team was and my favorite athletes. I was proud when he seemed thoroughly impressed by my love for the O’s and more specifically, Nick Markakis, J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters, Jake Arrieta, and Zach Britton (I was a little less impressed when he told me they don’t make pink Orioles lanyards since the company feels they aren’t popular enough. I want one 😦 ).
2) You think burping and other boy things are really funny when you do it and everyone else just thinks it’s gross. I take pride in the fact that I can burp really well. We’re talking really loud like a dude. I also may have the habit of burping in the people I love’s faces (Thankfully, I have a boyfriend who just ignores it when I do this). I think it’s really funny when I do it. My mama, on the other hand, thinks it’s gross and I tend to get yelled at…a lot (Something along the lines of, “Jessica, you are not a boy. Stop it. That’s disgusting.”). Oh, well. It’s something that happens when you spend your childhood with boys.
3) The third thing has a little something more to do with weird looks. Because you love your sweats so much, you get more weird looks when you decide to dress like a girl once in a while (My life is nothing but weird looks if you haven’t figured that out yet). Because everyone is used to seeing me not dressed up, when I decide to wear one of my dresses, it results in more stares. In my head, I think they are thinking something along the lines of, “What does she have on? She’s trying to be a girl?” Even my best friend used to freak on me when I would shake things up once in a while.
Finally, things that would go in the middle of my diagram (Read as things I’m not sure if they are good or not)…
1) If you are like me and stand a whole 5’2″ and weigh a whole 110 pounds, people tend to underestimate you thanks to your size. Now, when you are actually playing sports, it’s a good thing. I loved when people didn’t think I would be quick or could hit the ball far. In real life, it’s kind of annoying. At the place I volunteer, whenever I go help a customer pick something up, I have one of the guys behind me instantly bugging me to make sure I don’t need help. Just because I’m little doesn’t mean I’m not strong.
2) You learn to stand up for yourself (Read as you learn to run your mouth a little too much and fight a little too much). Standing up for yourself at my size is kind of a necessity or else you kind of get trampled over in life. However, not knowing when to shut up and which fights to pick is the negative. I’m very aware of the fact I pick fights over just about everything when I should just shut up. I’m also aware that sometimes I need to just shut up and let other people think they are right or not being douches when they actually are (Come on. Sometimes these people just need to know what’s up and be put in their place).
Growing up a little left of the middle as Laura Bell Bundy put it taught me all of this and one other thing. You have to be true to yourself. Those people who are meant to be in your life will get it and those who don’t (or pretend to) will be left behind eventually. If you aren’t yourself, you aren’t really happy (Trust me. I’ve tried).