Lessons from a tomboy teenager
I found myself with a decent cup of breasts by about 14, as well as some other pretty cool curvy bits the length of my torso and I honestly can’t remember a single time in my teens when I made any effort to share these geometrical crowd pleasers with anyone.
I was labelled a tomboy. I recall often wearing men’s board shorts, an oversized Hawaiian shirt and grubby well-worn converse. I would sit with my legs languid in a very broad position, my elbows bent behind me resting self-assuredly on the top of the couch.
I don’t remember ever consciously trying to make myself seem like a dude, but in retrospect I did a pretty good job of it anyway. Perhaps it was the influence of an older brother and his friends, but I remember viewing femininity as a weakness. But I also think my nature was not particularly feminine and so I wore what I felt like and knew the kind of people I wanted to hang around with wouldn’t think much of it.
It wasn’t until my mid twenties that me-in-dresses no longer felt like me-in-drag; it was only near the dawn of my thirties that I’ve shown any interest in shop windows, and only now that I see the wonder of using a belt to set off an outfit, not simply a logical tool for hitching up one’s trousers.
Hindsight has made me realise I’ve always found power and respect important aspirations. I see confidence as the most direct route to this aspiration. Not confident in an egotistical sense, but rather I find power and respect in being comfortable with who you are.
I think as a teenager I equated masculinity with confidence. A lot of the particularly feminine people in my life have been insecure and self-conscious, and so I got turned off the idea early on. It is somewhat ironic, then, that I now realise that in my eagerness to be confident looking bad, I became self-conscious looking good.
I’m not sure what triggered it, but I am now enjoying a stage of life where I feel confident in killer heels and shapely dress (despite stretching my BMI to less favourable limits) and I continue to feel unfazed walking a busy street wearing a singlet and tracksuit pants sans shoes. It is a glorious freedom being uninhibited by what people think of your clothes, and one I wish many of my acquaintances could enjoy.
People are so busy worrying about what you think of them, they often forget to think anything of you anyway. But even if someone does bother to consider your inadequacies, they are probably not worth you returning their attention.
Your best defence is self confidence, and if somebody rattles that I recommend you summons the power of a tomboy teenager I once knew and her thoughts when someone sniggered at her appearance as she affixed her favourite dog collar to her neck. She didn’t care because she was empowered by the feeling that the people she wanted to have respect her wouldn’t even notice it.