Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sometimes Losing Yourself is Finding Yourself

I am and always will be a tom boy at heart. Never the type of girl who would sport the "apple bottom jeans, and boots with the fur" or those cute little rain boots all of the Molson girls would wear when it was wet outside, with booty shorts of course. For me it was skater shoes all the way! A typical tom-boy who would wear my hair in a slick pony tail and play football with the guys at recess instead of gossiping about how cute they all were. I had a lot of friends, mostly boys, because I didn't gossip and we all know that gossiping starts fights and in return you lose friends. I was comfortable in my own skin and didn't care what people thought of me because I knew I was a good person and plus I got to hang out with all the cute boys at recess when all the other girls were gossiping about how they wish they could talk to them and yata yata.. All was great until I hit grade 9.

In high school as many of you know, the viciousness of many people surfaces. It is as though I attended school in a jungle with beasts all around you who, if you look at them the wrong way or say the wrong thing, will forever hate you and get their "pack of wolves to come after you". There are the wolves, a.k.a the popular gang, the snakes, otherwise known as the gossip click, the snails, which were the shy nerdy kids. These among others created my jungle experience, a.k.a HIGHSCHOOL! For about a week I kept my tom boy composure and stayed true to myself until one day a girl, now one of my best friends came up to me and said, "hey, we need a strong girl as a back for cheerleading, I know you’re not into that kind of stuff but would you come out to a few practices to help us out". Now that I had given in to the world of cheerleading, I felt that I was finally popular amongst all the pretty girls and instead of the boys wanting to "tackle me" and play catch with me, they would maybe, just maybe want to see a movie with me or god forbid go on a date.

I dreaded practice that entire month every day knowing that when I got there I would have to sport a 'perma-grin' and wear either spandex shorts or a skimpy cheerleading skirt(no offence to any cheerleaders out there). I would go to practice for two hours then wait with all my new friends outside the boy’s locker room to chat with the football players, otherwise known as the “muscle-heads”. By talking to them I felt as though the “act” I was putting on was well worth it.

Eventually I turned into a plastic. If you have ever seen Mean Girls you will know what I am talking about. Complete with a push-up bra, backcombed hair, a Chanel purse and the glossiest lip-gloss you’ve ever seen, I was the total opposite of what I’d ever wanted to become. Wake up, have a long shower, two shampoo jobs and 2 conditioner so my hair looks perfect, put on that back then A cup bra on the tightest setting so my girls looked bigger then they were, backcomb, spray, backcomb, spray, then finally a layer of moisturizing lip oil then shimmery gloss on top. My day consisted of 2 hours of getting ready, going to class, gossiping between class (and during!) going home, chatting with my cute new boy-friends on MSN and of course hitting up the mall at least twice weekly.

Gym class. Hot August day, sun beating down. We were forced to play baseball in this immense heat while the boys played football. My friends and I sat gossiping on the sideline .. "wow look at his arms, there soooo muscular!", "oh my gosh how lucky is Brandie to be dating Josh!" .. "totally lucky, like crazy lucky" .. sigghhh* when my own version of “Mc Dreamy” threw a ball our way , “Brid! Bet you can’t throw the ball to me”. Of course these boys didn’t know me before as the tomboy I once was, and figured since I was a girly-girl that I wouldn’t be able to throw the ball. "Hmm should I throw the ball and possibly lose my new popular girl status? Will the guys think I'm just one of them and never want to date me.. what should I do!!" I bent down to get the ball and the second I touched that football I knew that I had to give up the act. Why would anyone ever want to be someone there not? So what if I throw this ball and all the girls think I am a tomboy and all these boys think I am too manly to date. I throw that ball with a perfect spiral over “McDreamy’s” head. A week later my phone rings, "Brid I can't believe that you've never told me that you could throw a football like that, I am so impressed. Do you want to come over and watch the Packers beat the Vikes?" I agreed and after that one date we were boyfriend and girlfriend.

In life you can never pretend. The old you will always be there underneath it all to remind you who you once were. Until this day I still wear the glossiest lip gloss, and yah the odd push-up bra(every girl’s gotta have one!), but I will never again forget who I am and I will never be afraid to put on my skater shoes, sweatpants and tie my hair back. I am happy with what I have learnt and how it has changed me in many ways. I enjoy being a tom boy and I also enjoy dressing up! Its okay to be two different people on the outside as long as you know who the real you is on the inside.


  1. Your blog made me think of times before I knew what it meant to fit in, and was happy with myself just because. I particularly liked however, the first two sentences of the second paragraph. It evoked a real tension and ferocious atmosphere that I can imagine high school being. Another spin on your blog might be to work on that theme. I was expecting your story to go on about the jungle-like environment of grade 9, so the switch to cattiness and gossip didn’t give me the sense of closure. I did, however, feel like your overall sense of “coming back to who you are” was leading the story, and was well summed up with the football throw as a “release” of your true tomboy self :) If you permit me, I would say that condensing your story might make it flow easier. For example, having cheerleading, then gossip, then boys be topics for separate paragraphs, culminating in one where they all come together with the football throwing scene. Something to consider would also be to put in emotional words, how did you feel when they asked you to join cheerleading, the first time you wore the push-up bra, gossiping with the pretty girls? How was it different from how you felt as a sporty/skater? Maybe an textual image of putting on makeup to cover up the tomboy. Your use of words is good, as they set the tone and time very well (MSN, McDreamy, plastic). Brought me right back (although mine was more about ripped jeans and sparkly gloves!) Good job, cheers, Yuk-Sem

  2. This is a tale with which we are all familiar. That’s what’s great about it – until you know another’s story, you’re not sure if you’re the only one who has struggled with a temporary identity crisis.

    The telling of the tale has a nice flow. It allows the reader to experience the changes right alongside you. So rapid! And that’s just the way it is. Before you know it, you’re a whole new person, and not necessarily one you ever sought out to be.

    The beginning of your story is very definite. You are clear about who you are and where you stand. It’s a perfect contrast to the post-grade-nine era where there is an obvious internal battle. In the beginning, you use phrases like “I knew” and “I was never”. These portray confidence and certainty. Later on, you use phrases such as “I felt that”. Your choice of phrases tells much of the story for you. You lost your conviction.

    I think most of find ourselves again in the end … eventually. The ending wasn’t a surprise one, and I’m glad you decided to focus more on the transition than on finding the way back. It’s the transition that is the real story here, and you’ve captured it well. I was transported to my own torturous high school years and I kept thinking ‘Thank God I never have to live that over again!’

  3. I can tell you that I agree with all that you said and I think that most of us have struggled with some sort of identity crisis at one time or another. I love how you were able to tell this story with such passion about how the real person will always come out in the end. It is who we are. I think that we all have to test out another identity to ensure that we are living in the right identity (part of growing into maturity).
    I would have liked to see more present tense detail. I think that is the key to bringing a story alive, instead of looking at a story through someone else's eyes.
    It would have been nice to know how you felt about each event leading up to finding your identity and how it has changed your view today.