For me, the color pink is fraught with judgement and self-loathing. Pink is everything I disrespect in me, everything I find weak in femininity. It is embarrassed cheeks, shame, vanity and shallowness. Pink is sugar and spice and everything nice. Pink is everything I loathe about being female.
Pink and I have been enemies from the beginning. Baby dolls and frills, not for me, these were the soft pursuits of my sister, my life-long adversary. My sister was pink; she played house quietly, cried easily, and tenderly cared for her dolls. My playthings were the great outdoors; I climbed trees, moved dirt with my Tonka trucks, and rode around on the back of my dog. My bike was blue, my room was blue, and there wasn’t a ‘girl’ thing to be found within my bits and bobs.
I was small and mighty, a tiny tyrant, a peanut-sized scrapper. Often, I was the star entertainment for the men at family dinners; I would wrestle any of my male cousins to the ground, a ten count for five bucks. It was a killing for a killing.
Despite maturity, dating, marriage to a man, I continue to recoil at the first sign of femininity. It is my first reaction; a modicum of pride and vanity keeps me from a complete rejection of the tools of attraction. I tentatively apply small bits of paint to my eyes, Monday through Friday only, and polish my nails to a buff shine. I debate the energy-time- comfort ratio with every outfit selected. Sporty is a style, and it can be done well, thank you Athleta and REI. I am a ‘Tomboy’, a category so delicately assigned to me just yesterday by a patient (even though I had a skirt, tights and clogs on). I can’t dress it up; it seeps out of my cells with every movement.
The femininity that seeps out is quickly rationalized. My love for flowers is excused by my love for the outdoors. Flowers grow outside, enough said. Men also love and grow flowers, again, enough said. Besides, I really love orange flowers, not pink, and roses, I don’t like roses, enough…..
Clearly my childhood messaging run deep as copper. Even in my middle years, I fight my own judgments and assertions. When spotting a woman of any age, especially over 30, clad in pink or sequins, I immediately exclaim, “God Help Us!” – knowing in my heart of hearts she is wrought with drama and vanity, dulled intellect and useless babble. Messaging, messaging, messaging of weakness and self-loathing, this must stop.
It is time to end this adversarial relationship with pink. It is time to select a new reel, a new soundtrack for my life. It is time to make friends, or at least acquaintances, with my femininity. It is time to see femininity as strength and courage, as unity and oneness; to see all women as beautiful. It is time to find beauty in all that is feminine and all that is feminine in me. It is time to stand strong with women, pink hats, pink ribbons, pink hearts, and celebrate the beauty in all of us.