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THE CHASE IS ON ‌ A Tomboy Blossoms

Unpacking the past and getting in touch with my girliness



Last week, my mother, who has begun cleaning out her Raleigh, N.C., attic in ongoing anticipation of settling down in Charleston for good, decided to bombard me with cardboard boxes of my past in my already cluttered apartment. I always enjoy going through my old dusty crap, never knowing what I'm going to find or what memories stupid inanimate objects will bring up. I just can't stand when I have nowhere to put anything, which has been a never-ending battle of mine since I was a kid. I've always had an unhealthy attachment to "things," which probably has something to do with an unusual substitution for my human attachments, but I digress.

Digging deeper into some water-damaged crates, I found items that used to mean the world to me: superhero comic books, an original Nintendo system, and my old baseball glove. That's right. I, one of the most girly, sensitive, and at times shallow bachelorettes on the scene, am a recovering tomboy.

I think it all started when we moved to North Carolina from Bucks County, Penn. At the time, my parents were still together, but it seemed like once we passed the Mason-Dixon Line, their 20 years of marriage began to crumble. Our new house had a basketball court in the driveway, so any time I needed to escape their arguments, I threw on my Batman Chuck Taylors and made way for the hoop.

My next-door neighbor's three sons — Nate, Alex, and Ryan — would usually pick up on the sound of air-balls hitting the backboard and would make their way out for a friendly game of Horse. Trying to act like the tough guy, I found myself hanging out more with those kids, taking up skateboarding (I rode a radical Vision Gator, dude) and getting into shoot-'em-up video games. I would never wear a skirt, let alone anything pink, and spent my days after school at the comic book store and arcade on Hillsborough Street. And then I realized if I kept acting like a boy, I was never going to snag a boyfriend.

So I did a complete 180, shaving my legs more often, wearing cute vintage dresses, and discovering the wonders of eyeliner. I still couldn't shake a lot of the "boy characteristics" I became accustomed to. I burped whenever I feel like it, when I sat, my knees wound up in two different time zones, and I made inappropriate dirty jokes. In fact, I still haven't shaken any of those bad habits to this day.

Now, I think more than ever, I'm the most in touch with my femininity. But people seem to forget that femininity isn't just about frilly clothes and periods, even though I have accepted pink as a legitimate color, as well as the fact that God must be a man because of this little cosmic joke he has — the "menstrual cycle." It's about strength, grace, and balance — qualities both sexes need to be at the top of their game. I'm not saying I'm there yet, but with each passing birthday, I feel like I'm getting closer to figuring it out.

So here I am, with the artifacts of my childhood representing phases and lessons learned throughout the years. I do plan on selling some of it on eBay, but I think I'll keep my old baseball glove — just so I never forget where my moxie came from.

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