The Girl Inside the Steff

I’ve always been a tomboy.

When I was a kid, my most prized possession was my cowboy boots. Yep. I still remember the rage I felt that provoked me to take the extreme step of yanking off one of my beloved boots and hurling it across the yard at Devon’s head, when we were 8 and 9. I hit ‘im, too. Direct hit. That’s how much of a tomboy I once was. I’ve never thrown like a girl. He deserved it.

I never listened to the same pop music my contemporary chicks listened to. My movie collection looks like a guy’s. I never did the make-up parties. I never did “girl talk.”

Honestly, I’ve always wondered why I’m not a dyke, and the best answer I can come up with is that, well, they’re girls. I always liked playing rougher with the boys, so hey. Game on, y’know?

Back in the day, I despised going to Catholic school as a kid for a number of reasons, and at the top was that I had to wear tunics, then kilts, for more than a decade – daily.

There was a time in my late teens when I wore skirts recreationally, you know, outside of school and all. Then, I just stopped. I just swore off them. I hated skirts, I guess, for a number of reasons – insecurities, body image issues, a whole world of dumb-ass reasons have prevented me from wearing skirts since my youth.

In the last month or so, three or four skirts have been given to me. I’m mortified. I don’t know what to do now. I do know one thing, though: I’ve been rebelling against the whole tomboy thing for a while.

I last had my haircut at the end of July. I tend to like to do drastic things after a relationship ends when it comes to my hair, so I tried that this time, but with little success. The woman hacked off my bangs and a few other things that underwhelmed me. I was going for more of an Isabella Rosellini short-hair look, but it failed. I’ve been keeping my hair short-short for about three years now, and something in the last 6-8 weeks has snapped. I’m tired of it. I want to feel like a girl.

I’ve not had my hair cut in nearly three months now and it’s getting longish. Another three or four months and it’ll start looking like a bob, if you need a reference. My natural wave has returned and my hair’s doing some things I’ve never seen it do, despite having worn it down to my ass back in high school. (I once had a stranger approach me and say, “I’m married, so this isn’t a come-on, but you have the sexiest hair I’ve ever seen and I hope you never cut it.”) Stupidly, I did cut it, and it never grew back right since. Until maybe now.

I’m loving it, actually. My eyes are popping now, my lips look fuller. This hair’s working for me, so I now need to decide how much further I want to take it. And in there are some real identity issues. Something about this hair is reminding me of being 9 and 15, some pretty formative years. It’s having me ask a lot of questions of how I went from what I wanted to be to becoming what I am today, and just… you know. Am I happy with myself? I was, for a while, but now I want more. I want to be better. Inside and out.

I’m on the verge of revamping my identity both internally and externally. I’m really trying to change the way I feel. I don’t think I should be so repelled by the thought of being feminine, and over the last year, I’ve taken baby steps. I play cuter for the boys when the thought crosses my mind. I get how to be that little kitten-ish type female, but I can still dial into the girl within me, the one who throws like a boy.

The most recent major step in this revamp was to buy pointy-toed high-heel shoes. Yep. Some serious clickers there. I’ve always been the Doc Marten-boot or clunky-heel chick. The type who wears cargo pants while vamping up with eyeliner and painted lips, you know? Some days work better than others. But real, genuine heels have never been in my wardrobe. Sure, nice cute flats, etc, but never heels like these. These are the kinda heels a girl wears when she knows she ain’t comin’ home alone tonight, you know what I’m saying?

I’ll tell you what prompted me. I may be straight, but I appreciate the aesthetic of the female body. Do I ever. I was going into my new/old job and on the first day, a couple weeks back, and I came to a stop right behind this chick on a bicycle. She had these cute tight faded jeans rolled to mid-calf, a light white sweat jacket fitting smartly on all her curves, and she’s got her left leg down for balance – on the back of the calf, a nice tattoo of a broken heart, and then she had a 3” heel on either foot. Never have I wished I had my camera more than right then.

Fuck, man. That was h-o-t. I just thought, “Shit.” That’s the kinda gal I’d get all tangled up with if I went that way, you see. And I’m not it. I’d never have those heels on that bike. And why not? That’s precisely the kind of rule I love to break, and, in a way, it completely suits me. But I’m not it. Yet.

Doesn’t it make sense, though? You want to feel and look the way you think “hot” is defined, don’t you? I’m never, ever gonna be hot in the Britney Spears sort of way, and never do I want to be. I’m more turned on by the girl next door from your childhood who can really kick your ass now. You know the type. You’re secretly really wishing to lose a wrestling match with her? Yeah. That’s my style. I’m working towards that.

I guess I’m getting to that point, though, where I feel like I’m moving past all the troubles that have been my 2006, finally, and I feel like I want to have something to show for it, externally. I’d like to get a tattoo sometime next year, for instance, and I want to master these new high heels I have. I’ve never gone higher than 1.5 inches before. I have height issues. What can I say? I’m a pussy.

Starting this weekend, I’m taking my new heels on walks for the next week or two. Then, I will have to arrange a girl’s night on the town and see if I can play a good little skirted girl for the masses. There’s this cute pink-and-cream skirt I want to show off.

Now I’m in a strange headspace. I’m acknowledging to myself that I’m not really what I find attractive. I’m close, but I’m not quite there. To get there, I need more money. Sigh. But maybe I can fake it after all.