I have a certain look, a dancers walk, a sex appeal, and a quiet confidence. These are things I fought for a long time to accept as a part of me and in fact spent a great deal of time fighting. In my youth, I yearned for people to respect me because of my intelligence, my wit, and what I rationalized as real substance versus the superficial that I couldn’t control. I never wore make up, only dressed up for special occasions and aside from having a stellar shoe collection, I’m still just a jeans, flip flop and hoodie type of gal. I like being comfortable, understated and I could go on and on about just how much thought went into ensuring I consistently look and feel low maintenance.
Not using my looks or demeanor was always re-enforced with my friendships with both men and women. I really wanted to downplay being seen as a threat to keep the girlfriends from taking my male friends away. Or getting jealous that I was included in guys nights. If you’re a regular reader, you will know this is an ancient problem as I am no longer one of the guys. And with the women, I didn’t want to constantly talk about how cute I looked or how well I wore such and such an outfit. It made me feel like they were constantly comparing themselves to me, and I never wanted anyone to feel bad around me.
I fought my sex appeal for well over a decade. I buried my femininity as best I could. Being just “one of the guys”, or assuming I was on equal footing with my peers, these were all aspects I embraced about myself. I downplayed the visual cues I have little control over to be taken seriously. I’m sure a large part stemmed from hearing time and time again that the men in my family really wanted me to be a boy. As the first grandchild, I was born to be a leader, to go off the beaten path and create a new life, and new identity. This was drilled into me, and celebrated whenever I showed positive direction away from the norm. I got people thinking, to see new perspective. But I did it without the aid of my face, boobs, or thin figure. In essence, what I did was make things harder for myself, a lesson I have recently discovered.
Now I find myself coming to terms with the fact that using my looks to get my foot in the door, to open someone up to conversation or simply to give a warm smile that makes someone else feel good is more of the person that I want to be. I am starting to embrace a new norm, a new, and much more whole identity. And that is not without its own set of bumps. Why? Because I have now had to work on learning the balance game between flirting to get something and going too far with sex appeal without the comfort blanket of being young and dumb (so to speak). And it’s a game that has been difficult to teach myself and know where I actually want to take it. To embrace a whole identity that includes my outsides, in a meaningful, and ethical way.
So here I sit, finding balance between sex appeal, and an articulate, whole woman with a mission to educate and teach others. Understanding that sexy can exist without dismissing intelligence outright. It’s no longer my burden to worry about how other people perceive me. Instead it’s my prerogative to be complete, whole, and amazing both inside and out.