On Fearing My Femininity

I grew up with a physically and mentally ill mother. When I was young, I would sometimes watch hear grow jealous if my father paid too much attention to me. If my father and I spent more than a couple hours together, going to my basketball games or heading out for a trail run in the woods, she would become very upset with him.

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I translated this as my presence, needs and/or beauty caused pain to those I cared about.

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So I downplayed my feminity. I was terrified of it. I didn’t want to hurt my sick mother OR end up like her. I dressed like a tomboy, buried myself in sports and tried to stay out of sight. My presence sometimes made my mom really sad. I reminded her of the health and youth she no longer had.

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In school I didn’t want to be “too pretty.” I didn’t know what trouble that might stir up. Songs like the Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me” devastated me. Why would someone want another woman to hurt as a result of their own beauty?

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In adulthood, I work hard to get out a deeply ingrained habit that is no longer relevent. Instead of downplaying my light, my beauty, I work hard to remember that letting my own light shine gives permission (not pain) for other women to do the same.

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Each morning, as with this morning, I consciously choose not to hide in old workout clothes. Instead I choose an outfit that is professional, and makes me look and feel beautiful. Somedays I have alot of anxiety about this, and somedays it is easier. It has been a long road to get here, but I know I am on the right path, and not to give up.

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If anyone else out there reading this grew up with an ill or disabled parent, please know that you are not alone. This post highlights only one of so many challenges that are faced. I hope this post helped someone today. ️

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P.S. Yes that’s a Nerf gun on the chair next to me. It was a white elephant gift 

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