Tom Boy

I went to my cousin’s baby’s (let’s just call him my nephew) first birthday party yesterday. My mother was the last of 5 girls, my grandmother was the ultimate family administrator. My grandfather never changed a diaper.

I would not necessarily call me, my sister, my cousins, my aunts overtly feminine. There are times we laugh because we can’t help but cry, whether they are sad, happy, or just caring tears. My cousins and I have formed a bond over the conundrum that is distant sisterhood. We are just like our mothers, with mixed wishes within that fruition. We relate to each other accordingly.

My cousin Cassie has this friend, in a seemingly dysfunctional marriage. I have never met the man, but we all know the story. He is emotionally unavailable, she chases him, she excuses him, she serves him, she takes care of him, and he disappoints her. She feels guilty and “just wants him to be happy” while she is miserable but purposeful. She analyzes all the things she is doing wrong, and he, supports those conclusions. He may apologize and be honest with her every once in a while, but somehow the argument always later turns into her fault. And she accepts it. She accepts it because she knows she is strong enough to handle it. She wants to make him strong enough to handle it by supporting and showing him her love. We have always been taught, love should be enough.

Cassie’s friend, for all intensive purposes was considered a tomboy growing up. She was very good at sports, didn’t mind getting dirty, and would rise to any physical challenge. In high school, she turned devoutly Christian and let Cassie know she no longer approved of her choices. Cassie was a very well-behaved teenager and talked about everything with her mom.

These two situations are familiar to me. I have been in both places. I find my self wondering lately, is Cassie’s friend just trying to prove her femininity? Being a Christian and saving yourself for marriage is one thing, it sometimes works and sometimes makes a lifetime commitment mixing up love and lust. This situation is reminiscent of so many that I have seen. Relationships that affirm your own personal beliefs about your femininity. Her femininity is shamed by his lack of capacity to understand her, she accepts that shame and perpetuates it. Now she thinks having a child will help things.

It may help her relationship with femininity, but it will not help her marriage.