Tag Archives: tomboy

Tell me I'm not insane. I'm just a writer.

Growing up, I always found a way to be different.

can't tell in this one, but I have on boys sweatpants

Nine and squirming at the back of the line on picture day, the shortest kid in the class.

Thirteen and stick thin, coming home from 3-hour-long gymnastics practices to sit in front of the television and watch ER. Bowl of ice cream in one hand. Spoon in the other.

Always and forever unable to sit still in itchy tights or pantyhose that ran the moment I reached to adjust them.

another hat one

Fifteen in sweatpants and crumpled t-shirts, my straightened hair awkwardly juxtaposing this.

And yet I forgot for a time that there’s a beauty in being different. Being weird.

Writers always say they’ve been writing since they could spell out the alphabet. I didn’t leech onto writing like that. My room was cluttered with ribbons, medals and trophies. My eclectic stack of diaries were pushed to the bottom of my desk drawer, buried under stacks of computer paper and old homework assignments.

But now, twice a week, I free myself from all expectations of reality for 75 minutes at a time and allow myself to be whoever I want to be.

There’s a beauty in that. I cannot even begin to justify it to the non-writers, the naysayers.

Anyone who can fill out a job application by themselves can write. They can sit down with a fresh sheet of loose-leaf paper and let the words bleed together incoherently on the page until what once was clean has become dirty. What was once a tree becomes a work of calligraphy. An artist’s canvas. What once was pure has been tarnished with our broken thoughts, unspoken worries and grandiose dreams.

It took me twenty years to become a writer. But I was one all along. I wrote for my intermediate school newspaper in fifth grade. Swore that off for about eight years.

And at barely seventeen, in a sleep-deprived and delusional state, I made the ridiculous decision to write a 50,000-word novel in a single summer.

Normal kids worked and goofed off. Wasted three months trying to turn six shades of orange. I did that too. Had a foolproof method for that, actually.

Turn on iPod. Bake in sun until I couldn’t stand it any longer. Jump into pool. Climb back out. Grab earphones. Repeat.

Rita's uniform, music, writing (?)

I worked nights at Rita’s sitting on the freezer and relishing in all-you-can-eat free water ice. After my shift, my stick red lips stained, I’d come home to write until 2 a.m. Often forgetting I still had that red polo on. Just clacking away at a keyboard in my room, the whole house quiet while I hashed out details of a romance I’d only dreamed about. The kind of guy I wanted to fall in love with me. My best friend kept me writing. “I want him to be real,” she once said.

I hadn’t met him yet, but I knew everything about him.

There are bloggers and there are writers. And then, there are writers (like me) who blog.

I’m compelled to figure out why some guy is complaining about a blind woman who lives in the apartment above him playing classical music. Why does anyone hear entirely fabricated conversations in their head? Please, please oh please, tell me I am not insane. I’m just a writer.

That is all I ask of you, my fellow writers and bloggers. I ask you to believe that writing is uncontrollable. That I cannot put up an invisible fence and expect myself to not run into it and get electrocuted.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m running in circles, but in the end, I always return to the person I was meant to be. A little bit weird. A lot bit crazy. A writer.

If you run fast enough, you won't fall into the creek.

I think it’s safe to say that this has become the thirty days of thank you notes. And you’re next up on my list.

letter 17 – someone from your childhood

Dear Caity, John, and Anthony,

I’m seven-eight-nine years old, and I’m standing at the top of a tree house, trying to figure out how to get out of this predicament. I close my eyes, push my feet off the ledge, and hold onto the thin piece of plastic riding on a taut wire for several hundred feet. I open them just in time to pull my feet out in front of me, bending at the knees to stop myself from ramming into a hard plank of painted wood. And I hop down, wondering what I was scared of in the first place.

via weheartit.com

I’m hunched over on all fours, squinting my eyes to peer down a small concrete tube to the other side, wondering where it ends. Someone says to climb through and I shake my head. No way. We run up over the hill, down the ditch to the other side, and call back through the tunnel.

We’re running around my living room in my underwear, squealing while our parents yell at us to lean over and come into the kitchen. They’re looking for tics, but we’re antsy and squirming. We’re proud to have conquered the wilderness of my backyard, climbing through a creek and forested area looking for God knows what. And we definitely don’t want to sit still.

Thank you for giving me these and hundreds of other small moments. Thank you for reminding me where I came from, who I am, and who I will always be. A dreamer. A player. A child at heart.

Thank you for unknowingly handing over to me an invaluable catalog full of memories to return to when I write stories for the rest of my life.

You’ve offered me a dictionary of childhood, a long list of fleeting moments. You’ve offered me a reminder that I’ll take with me when I’m 23 and 35, 47 and 68. A reminder that will serve its purpose when I go to reprimand my daughter or son from traipsing through the house in mud-caked rain boots and over-sized windbreakers and knotty hair filled with crinkled leaves.

Thank you for your energy, your confidence, your dares. Thank you for pushing me to the limit, for teaching me to speak loudly and take risks. For reminding me that I can run fast enough to jump across a four-foot wide creek in the middle of a wet April or May afternoon. That if I believe something hard enough, I only have to give myself the chance to make it happen.

I might’ve turned out a different person if I hadn’t realized that all.

So thank you. Over and over again, thank you.


Boy (space) friends, and why they're for me.

I’m starting to think I’m a boy friend girl. Not a boyfriend girl, a boy (space) friend (space) girl. A girl who befriends boys.

Let’s think about this: I am not normal. I am not a girly girl. I used to run around my backyard collecting more than rays of sunshine.

We’re talking tics and grass stains and caked on mud that dries thick over your sneakers and cracks, breaking off in chunks all over the laundry room floor. We’re talking building bridges across a creek from playground railroad ties instead of playing on the swings and daring someone to climb through the dark water tunnel to see where it ends. To see if the other side really exists.

And lately, I feel like I’ve amassed a number of boy friends. Not like best friends forever, or let’s buy necklaces friends, but friends nonetheless.

There’s something incredibly attractive about the idea of befriending guys. Girls are mean. I mean, I know this. Tina Fey knows this. It’s pretty universally accepted. Girls don’t jump on the opportunity to be nice to other girls.

Don’t take this the wrong way. Some of my best friends are girls, and they’re a critical part of my life. But other girls, they don’t “get” me. I’m not the kind of girl you look at and say, “I’ve got to meet her.”

I don’t wear the cute boots or have the best haircut. I don’t always feel like wearing a whole “ensemble” of an outfit, complete with accessories. If I didn’t care at all, I’d probably go to class in running t-shirts every day, saving myself the extra effort and the need to do laundry for months at a time.

(Yes, I do own more t-shirts than anyone needs for the usual household cleaning or Saturday morning run.)

But guys, they’re chill. They don’t care what you’re wearing or whether you read the latest issue of Cosmo. There are some girls who would probably give you a dirty look if you bit into a hamburger or went to the gas station just for candy at midnight.

Me? I watch football on Sundays. I yell when my team scores (and when they don’t). I’m loyal to a fault; I’m not a home-game-win-okay-let’s-celebrate kind of girl. I love hot wings and I’ll eat anything spicy. I’ll watch any movie once. I might freak out and squeeze my eyes or hide them behind my hands, but I’m still going to watch.

And boys are great freaking friends. They know boys, because they are boys, and they know if someone’s messing with your head. And maybe it’s because boys aren’t girls, or that they don’t judge your every word (not that all girls do, or even most girls), but guys are so easy to just talk to.

I can appreciate people like that. Boy friends. So if you’re a guy, want to be friends? And if you’re a girl, we can still be friends, but I’m wondering: do you know what I mean?