It’s in the eye of the beholder an old saying, cliche and a truth. This morning I walked into the local bookstore. An older man very graciously held the door open for me and said go ahead young man. I felt my heart sink as I went back to my middle school days. Puberty hit me hard-I quickly grew taller than my classmates, my voice deepened and for a long time people who did not know me thought I was a male. I remember a substitute teacher calling on me to read a passage in a book. He said would the young man in the back read the next paragraph. And what followed was laughter by my classmates and two boys who quickly said she’s a girl. I wanted to hide under my desk and the teacher was embarrassed. I dealt with people mistaking me for a male until college.
I have never been stereotypical feminine or what society says a woman should be. I have broad shoulders-I always had to special order horse show jackets because of this. I have a deeper voice than most women. I have been told I walk like a man and need to carry a purse rather than just the small wallet I have in a back pocket. I hated dolls and barbies as a child-books were my friends. I have been told I am a spitting image of my dad. I take pride in that. Dad always encouraged me to read and write. It is where I escaped and learned. For years I did not post photos of myself on Facebook. I am not a size 6-12. I am a plus size person and through much trials of life and learning to be happy by myself I found myself. I decided I was not going to settle for anyone or anything.
I found myself sad for a moment this morning when the man mistook me for a man but quickly recovered. I often feel for the other person who then feels embarrassed that they thought I was a man. I believe that given the struggle with how people perceive me has made me more sensitive to others, more accepting of differences and made me a much more creative person than I may have been. Just as things are in the eyes of the beholder I enjoy bringing my perspective to others with writing and photography.