I have heard a lot of discussion lately about children and gender roles – I won’ delve into the topic so much (as it could quickly become a novel!), but what I will say I am particularly thankful for is the support I had growing up.
Yes, I wore light colors…even pink. (My tendency towards all black would have those who know me in full ~gasp~ envisioning it!) I had dresses and bows, just like most little girls. And I still wear heels and get glam when the occasion calls for it – rather happily – being a woman is quite a lot of fun! 🙂
But I was never a real “girle-girl.” I enjoyed running and playing outside, having a big brother, watching He-Man and Thunder Cats. I wanted to be a Ninja, with cat-like reflexes and the ability to escape without notice. I wanted to be in all black, and to be athletic, above all – for me, all those things were real super powers.
Skip ahead 30+ years, with a background in Ballet, Ballroom, Figure Skating, lifting…and exposure to countless other sports… I marched into a Dojang with nary a clue about what to expect, and zero experience in the arena. I was nervous, and a bit shy…but Martial Arts felt like a natural progression for me, so I bit the bullet and signed up – Taekwondo, Hapkido, and Kumdo later on.
Off I went, white belt in tow, falling in love from first punch! I’ve been at it for some years, and am as driven as day 1, if not more so!
My parents have been incredibly supportive of my Martial Arts, even when I tore the first knee in two places, the hamstring in one, and contused the bones. They supported me when I said I wanted to continue, a year later when I finally could walk up stairs… And they supported me after tearing the second ACL, refusing surgery, and picking up new Arts along the way (Ninjutsu, JuJutsu, Brazilian JiuJitsu.)
For me, that support started early – I was embraced for who I was, and for the interests I had – I didn’t HAVE to be girlie. We joke about it still today – I was the girl who wanted to go to the Armory in museums, and wanted to watch Martial Arts movies with my brother. It was okay then, and it’s okay today.
We don’t have to fit a mold to be masculine or feminine. In fact, I’d wager that not a single friend of mine would say I’m not “womanly.” They’d more likely say, “she isn’t girly-girl, but there’s no question that she’s incredibly feminine.” Yes, you CAN be both!
I love seeing parents who encourage and support their children no matter what – whether they fall into the traditional “girl pink” and “boy blue,” as much as when they are outside those lines. That, to me, is real love – supporting what makes our loved ones’ happiest, whether it fits the scheme or not!