30 Day Writing Challenge Day 5 - I Think I'm Missing the Girly Gene

I've had several days off from this challenge as I just wasn't finding inspiration anywhere. Then today I was scrolling through some ideas I had noted in my blog as drafts and saw this one.  BINGO! Perfection.

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I Think I'm Missing the Girly Gene

From a young age I found myself uncomfortable around groups of girls. They were a mystery. I was intense, inquisitive, bored easily, an avid reader and more.  What I wasn't was girly. No ruffled dresses if I could help it. No swooning or going EEK when I saw a bug. And I hated that high pitched shrieking you heard from young girls on the playground.

I don't remember ever getting very excited about clothes. Maybe that was because we were poor and a lot of my early clothes came from hand me downs or home sewing.  Then as a tween and teen, we shopped discount places like Kmart or bought fabric on sale (usually at .99/ yard) and sewed what we needed. So clothes were not an exploration in fashion. They were what was cheap that I didn't hate.

Another thing that set me apart was my attitude towards boys. All my life I've been comfortable with men, it's just the women that I struggled to connect with. I had 2 brothers, so they were no mystery to me and were oh so easy to be around.  But with all going on in my life - I was a square peg in a round hole at home which caused a lot of strife - I wasn't really interested in the drama of dating like others were.

Nor did I idol worship musicians and actors.  My dad was a minister, so I saw what was behind the public image way too often to be taken in. People were people, and those put on a pedestal often had a dark side.

How lucky I was to have 3 wonderful female friends in high school who accepted my serious quirks. It's still a mystery as to how we happened to bond, but I am grateful they were there to spend time with. When we connected again through social media 30 years later, it was a great surprise. I drove all the way from Canada to Sacramento to see them.

My 20's, 30's and 40's were no different, but I did slowly began to meet women who had embraced careers, were strong in themselves and could talk intelligently on many subjects. I was in awe of these women, but still felt out of step as old habits die hard.  I honestly didn't understand how to enter into female friendships and that old tape telling me I wouldn't fit in held me back. Even hanging with other mothers when I had small kids was mostly uncomfortable.

Then came my 50's and interviewing. There was something about listening to all those personal stories - both male and female - that began to change how I looked at myself and those around me. Here's just a little of what I learned -
  • I am not the only one who feels out of step at times.
  • Every single person I interviewed was unique in some way.
  • No one was apologizing for who they were and their life choices but me.
  • I was not broken, but exactly who I was meant to be. I did not need to change or hide my true self.
  • And last but not least, I began to learn who I wanted in my female tribe, how to find them and how to build those connections.
This was life changing. Now, even though I may not be a girly girl, I am surrounded and lifted up by an amazing tribe of talented, open and truly unique women who I am honoured to call my friends.  My life is fuller and my path easier with them in my life.  That doesn't mean I don't love, adore and feel great gratitude for the men in my tribe. They are amazing and are every bit as important to me. It's just that I always found connecting with men so much easier.

Image by Julie Swartz - purchase here!

So let go of the expectations you were taught growing up and embrace who you are exactly as your are. Know you have a tribe out there that is right for you. Open your eyes to the people you meet and reach out to make a connection when it feels right.

(Note - Struggling to come to a place of self-acceptance and find your tribe? My journey through this is covered in my 2nd book - The Wisdom of Listening.  Links to purchase can be found on my website at www.marilynrwilson.com/books/)