Oh dear God, Allah, Buddha…it’s been ages since I’ve sat down and pecked out my thoughts to share with you and you and you and you and you.
Here I am, sitting in Dayton, Ohio listening to some modern folk, alt-country rock and sipping my herbal tea with soy milk…my stress at an all time high (unable to sleep and eat) and my back in constant pain. Okay…okay…okay…here we go. Are you ready?
Like I’ve stated here before, “I’m more woman than you could handle.” I know this simple fact about me, but here in the other “real world” when I’m sitting here alone in my room behind a flickering computer screen hoping for a loving transmission from anyone…the doubt creeps in faster than the cold into my feet on the Tibetan plateau.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to go on a date. I have no desire to have to do all that relationship stuff because I just don’t have time or the energy for it. Everything in my life, I have made or chosen, is difficult and love is one thing I feel like I shouldn’t have to work so hard at. Frankly, because, well I deserve it…damn it! (To be quite honest, I’m not yet over something of the past.)
Okay, I’m trying to keep this cohesive and lucid, before I run off the rails.
I do NOT have “balls”. -edit- Perhaps this just comes with being in a territory that is predominately men. My hair has come up in conversation close to a dozen times and I really doubt men have these types of comments made to them. For the record, I do not shave my armpits or leg hair…so men make comments about this and sometimes it goes further. I’m realizing that the people who make these comments to me are making cheap shots because I threaten their masculinity. Such a pity. Such a pity that a human life form that has a frailer bone structure, less muscle mass (generally), can conceive and birth life form, has a higher thresh hold for pain, and generally better at endurance challenge your XY chromosome. -edit-
This is not to be a men bashing post at all because some of the worst bullying I’ve received in my life was from female peers. Also, I want to state that all the men I’ve traveled with were always decent. Most of the men I’ve crossed paths with on two wheels have been, there are a few rotten ones I have encountered…or maybe it was over inflated egos.
I was a “tomboy”. The only girl in a neighborhood of boys. The baseball was hit further, the tree was climbed higher, and the punches thrown harder. When I got tired of being the “nurse” when playing “war” or having to tend to the fort while the boys were out hunting and gathering…I would retreat to my room and play Barbie’s – ALONE. Once a week I would attend Girl Scouts and my dance classes that went on for about eight years – the one thing in my life I regret giving up. I wasn’t all boy, I was still a girl…with long stringy tangly brown hair.
There is a memory of getting ready for my First Communion and I remember looking at my knees. They looked horrible…scabs, cuts, bruises continuing all the way down the calves. Of course I couldn’t remember how I got them, of course outside having fun as any normal child would. My mom told me it was nothing but I remember looking at other girl’s legs and they didn’t look like mine. I knew I was different from a very young age, and it’s been a battle every day.
The internet personality, the Wander Cyclist, probably appears cute and confident. You may think that I was a pretty popular girl growing up. “Popular” if you mean teased and gossiped about. If you mean not getting invited to slumber parties, and later on “make out” parties. I always had the pretty friend (or “easy”), where I was left in the shadow. Ellen of yesteryear was terribly awkward and “different”. A very small southern town in Virginia, I always knew I didn’t belong with the masses. With the gangs. With the others.
Maybe the reason I’m so “tough” now, why I can handle what I’ve put myself through is because growing up was far from “easy” and “comfortable”.
Gender roles. This is what I’m trying to get to. Defining attributes, physical, mental, and emotional.
It’s 2013 and I’ve been reading articles on the internet and following some popular culture. What is with all this women bashing.? I’m also talking about women bashing other women, i.e. a woman stating that a cheerleader was too chunky to be cheering. What is wrong with us, WOMEN?! Damn it, you and I have it hard enough and then we go around criticizing one another for their body type and what we’ve chosen to cover it with.
Why is that the only thing a woman has to offer society is her looks?
Just go take a gander at any modern man’s magazine and look at the imagery of women. That is not real! Real women do not look like that. Real women have something so much more to offer. Real women are mother’s taking care of their children, with extra weight and perhaps stretch marks. Real women are the ones in politics fighting for justice, using their brains. Real women are those that are on the front lines in our military. Real women are the ones that live for themselves, that better themselves, that have something more to offer this world than a good pair of perky tits and a slim waist.
I recently watched the first two minutes from a comedian, Miss Marbles, and she was ranting about the people she hates at the airport. She spent two whole minutes explaining how she doesn’t trust girls who can travel with only a backpack. “What kind of girl are YOU?” I’m watching her overly made up face, and coiffed hair to have a “messy” look ramble on about how her makeup takes up a certain amount of space. I don’t know Miss Marbles, what kind of girl AM I? Yes, I do wear makeup…stick of eyeliner, mascara, one eye shadow, and maybe a lipstick or two. Simple. Yes. Hey, and get this…I love wearing dresses too. One major reason is because I have difficulty with pants because of my cycling legs. What kind of girl AM I? I’m a girl that wears sports bras all the time because wires jabbing into my rib cage are uncomfortable and only to give perky breasts for the benefit of WHO?
Am I a woman?
Well, I’m beginning to think I’m not by the standards that are sent through the media. That I may never be. I honestly should quit spending time on this question because I know something most people will never know. I know me. I know who I am, what I stand for…I can spend days and days with only myself. No fear of what I may learn or realize. Comfort with who I am.
This isn’t so cycling and tour related, or even photography related but I really felt like some things needed to be stated.
I do think my tour took some characteristics away from me that are usually deemed “female”. OR…or…MAYBE, JUST MAYBE…I never had them to begin with and my struggles pre-tour was more about trying to fit into what was expected of an XX human.
Maybe we are all a blank slate and we become conditioned by media, friends, and family to fit into a certain gender mold. I know that straight men who may be seen to have female characteristics have it much more difficult than us straight females. So, to conclude this post I’d like to ask all of you to do a simple challenge is to drop the definitions, to quit being a “man” or a “woman” and just be you.
With these conclusions, I do know that when I’m ready for love it will not be a man and a woman, a boyfriend and a girlfriend, but two completely equal human beings. Undefined. The other will not define the other. The relationship will not define anyone’s worthiness. Each will be a protector. Each will be a provider. Each our own. The most important, the respect of each other’s solitude.
Well folks, I’m not sure how this went but I hope you can take something from it. Mostly, I hope some little odd ball girl stumbles across this post and realizes she is far from alone. That the whole wide world is out there, waiting for her. That she has the courage to do it alone…and it’s best that way.
Men make comments about how there are few women like me out there in the world. Well, I’ll tell you this, by the amount of private emails and notes I know for a fact a lot more of us exist. But, it’s a fact we are more difficult to find and even more difficult to catch. You’ll find us tucked away in bookstores, on a lonely trail, in a tent on a plateau, in an NGO office in some far off country, or as simple as standing alone in the grocery with a frozen pizza under one arm and debating over which micro brew to indulge in for the evening.
Don’t forget about the Etsy store. I’m trying to raise funds for my big move back to Shanghai and unfortunately things aren’t going so smooth. I ACTUALLY cried last night. I thought I couldn’t do that anymore…I’m trying to soften up. The life on a road has toughened me up, perhaps too much. A boy nicknamed me “Ice Princess” in my early twenties…and I guess it’s just gotten colder since then. But we all know that usually the people with that thick and cold exterior are often the softest, warmest, and most loving under it all.
Also, my website is under construction, 4 portfolios up now. Go check it if you’d like to kill some time today. Ah, yes, and the book for the Kickstarter rewards is in progress, and additional will be for sale.
I’d love to write more, but maybe I should save some stuff for that book I’m supposed to write someday.