When I was growing up I thought the only cool thing to be was a "tomboy." This may have been because A) I considered my older and much, much cooler sister Kacy to be a tomboy; B) Christie Brinkley or Cindy Crawford (or someone glamorous and beautiful like that) once claimed that she was a tomboy while growing up. So, in my mind, to get to a glamorous and beautiful (and totally cool, like Kacy) stage in my life, I had to go through a period of tree-climbing, clubhouse building, and amateur spying. You can see how my theory was inherently flawed.
Unfortunately, I was no good at tomboy things. Kacy built a treehouse (with wood and nails and everything). She climbed trees (I often found her in a tree in our front yard in the middle of the night). She climbed through windows, and raced boats down the ditch, etc. etc. I, on the other hand, preferred to use the foliage and ditch in our front yard as a background for Barbie photo shoots. Physical acvtivity consisted of dancing to "You Take My Breath Away" by Rex Harrison (or any album of Barry Manilow or Neil Diamond) in our living room. It was pretty intense dancing, though, because my friends and I had a system of scoring based on originality, drama, and the level of passion in the kisses we shared with the pole of our spiral staircase. We'd watch each other silently, then give a score out of 10. Often, a member of my family would walk into the room in the middle of these dance performaces and we'd stop in mid-dance-move, swing our arms, and whistle casually, as if we were just standing in the room listening to Neil Diamond for fun. Looking back, I guess we weren't fooling anyone.
Despite my penchant for pole-kissing and dancing in the living room, I really tried to keep up a tomboy facade. I hid my fascination with Paula Abdul and Mariah Carey. No one knew how I secretly yearned for the New Kids on the Block. This facade escalated and was at its most convincing in high school when I participated in the Botany Club trips to Boulder Mountain in Escalante, UT. We rode in a sweltering, 15 passenger van, hiked rugged terrain, camped in tents, forged streams, performed plant transects. We didn't shower. We didn't eat out. We didn't visit any tourist shops in the Escalante area. Don't get me wrong, though. I could hold my own and I enjoyed my Boulder Mountain time, particularly our Gilligan's Island-esque theme song ("the weather started getting hot, the big green van was HOT!") but I think deep down I knew I was really an imposter. The rolled up t-shirt sleeves and cropped pants would have clued anyone in....
It wasn't until I had the good fortune of meeting Marcy Dibbleblotts in Italian 102 class that I learned to fully accept and embrace my girliness. I don't know if it was the "items of mystery" that we liked to buy at the mall (these included, but were not limited to skirts, feather boas, and slinky "Italy dresses" that we could never wear in public). Or maybe it was how she introduced me to lipstick and blush. Perhaps it was our monthly "Girls Club" meetings during which we discussed relationships with boys. One sure thing was the photo shoot we did in the dressing room at Dillards during reading days: we did our hair and makeup, took our camera, then took pictures of ourselves in fancy ballgowns. Ahhhhh, memories... At any rate, she helped me embrace my girly side and finally come clean about the tomboy facade.
These days, I am all girl--sometimes to a fault (see previous blog about bursting into tears when asked to go camping, and previous blog about needing to wear makeup all the time). I only hope that when I have (Matilda, Sophie, Gracie, Lucy, Elizabeth, Annabel . . . ???) I can have a good shopping partner. With Ms. Dibbleblotts living clear across the country, I am really hurting for one.