March 29, 2001

I've never really been very good at being a girl.

I was brought up by my mom, who wanted to be a doctor before women were doctors, who was in turn influenced by her grandmother, who ran away from the family farm in order to marry the man she loved (it should be pointed out that my grandmother was born solely to take care of the farm and her parents as they grew older). My mom went into the Peace Corps and lived in Thailand, when women didn't live in Thailand, where she rode a bicycle and swam in the ocean. Women, as you might have already guessed, didn't ride bicycles or swim in the ocean. When my mom was in her late twenties, she began to get tired of doing what women weren't supposed to do, and in 1969, at the old spinster age of 30, she married my father. They, in turn, raised a woman who played with computers and rode motorcycles, in an age where women were told that they could play with computers and ride motorcycles, but still got funny looks and snide comments for doing so, and then were told that it was their shortcomings or imaginations that produced those looks and comments, since this was the late 20th century, and obviously we had progressed past the point of gender discrimination.

My best friend growing up is now a lesbian singer who finally escaped a tumultuous multi-year abusive relationship and, last I heard, was the captain of a bowling team composed of all (except for her) drag queens.

I've always wanted girls to be more like boys, or at least society's view of the two genders to be more homogenous. Do you have any idea what it's like to have had 24 years of being a girl wishing to be treated like a boy and therefore doing non-girl things and incapable of relating to most girls but being shunned and insulted when you accidentally act like one? You end up living your life in fear that you might unintentionally show some vulnerable side to yourself. You grow afraid to ask questions in computer classes, because the smart boys don't ask. You grow angry when you drop your motorcycle, because the cool boys don't crash. You're uncomfortable hanging out with feminine girls, because, frankly, you couldn't give a shit about whether their face looks shiny with their new makeup, but have no idea how to pretend that you do. But god help you if you ever have a girl thought. God help you if you ever, for a fleeting moment, want to be hit on, or catcalled to, or, even worse, married with children or in some other "traditional" relationship. Because, man, people will be ruthless. The shit I'm thinking of makes me want to spout nonsense melodrama like "I'll never trust anyone like that again!" or "I'll never open myself up like that again!" just because, fuck, that's what women do, right? Pointless melodrama when they're angry, right?

Someone fucking tell me how to work this. Tell me how I can program a computer and ride a bike and still want to look hot in my leathers and still have it be ok to want to live with my boyfriend and not feel angry with myself for "thinking like a girl again." Tell me how to tell the people I love not to feel angry with me for "thinking like a girl again." Tell me how to gracefully tell someone to fuck off when they get frustrated with me for "thinking like a girl again." Tell me how to deal with the people who insult me when I show any vulnerability or try to express what I want and need. Tell me how I can, in the same thought, hate the anti-feminist bike bunnies who pose on the Ducatis, and also desperately want to be one. Tell me how I can avoid another night of sitting in my work parking lot, inexplicably bursting into tears while removing my disc lock, and spending 15 minutes sobbing with my face pressed up against the front fairing, because the bike is, to me, a symbol of everything I want to be, and everything I can't.

I'm sorry I wasn't funny today. I'll try again this weekend.

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