What I’m Built For

Much to the chagrin of my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Anna Beth Dawson, my mother and my husband, I am not a girly-girl.

Mrs. Dawson was concerned for me my entire year before junior high because I thought the school uniform was jeans and a clean shirt, when in fact we had no uniform at all.

Also it was the year peanut track shoes were all the rage and they could be bought at the Famous Department Store in Iowa Park for a really good price. I lived in those shoes as well and Mrs. Dawson was horrified at the lack of arch support and other nefarious shortcomings the peanut track shoe offered.

Behold, the peanut track shoe

She even once used part of a class period to illustrate just how crappy the shoes were by picking out one of the 20 kids in her class who was wearing them to model while she extolled the virtues of real shoes.

Still, we persisted.

My own mother, who I suspect is Barbie reincarnated, just looks at me most of the time and slowly shakes her head, particularly on my curly hair days.

My husband, though, won’t give up. He continues to encourage my use of a fork with tacos, as well as an occasional go at nail polish.

None of them, I can report, has been able to change my ways.

I still live in jeans and usually-clean shirts. When I wear a dress, people offer me condolensces for my loss.

I traded my peanut track shoes for Rocket Dogs with user-inserted arch support (thank you for the lesson, Mrs. Dawson. I was listening). My hair is curly roughly 67% of the time now, and I don’t wear makeup to the grocery store.  I eat tacos like an eagle eats a fish, with both hands.

And I occasionally give painting my nails a shot. But when I do, I mess it up because I have a odd habit of occasionally sitting on my hands.  And I only remember that I have that rare habit right after I paint my nails and then sit on my hands.

I wasn’t built for all that.

I was built for laughing at things only a bunch of women who are alone together and uncensored would understand.

I was built for writing things because I am tired of thinking about them.

And, I was built for giving myself permission to not be a Barbie doll, or even her less attractive cousin, Madge.

And all of those people still love me, even Mrs. Dawson. Remember that.

People do love who you really are. If that’s not good enough, it’s not love.

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