It is 5am. I woke up an hour ago, SURE that Mac was going to die. I was breathing heavy, pulse racing, and I knew that I had to save my son. There was no going back to sleep. So after I laid there and hashed out why Mac was NOT going to die, I started thinking. I thought yet again, about whether or not I should include in our Christmas letter that Mac likes princesses. I wrote it in, and have been agonizing about it ever since. I know that someone who reads it (probably a relative), is going to think, "the boy loves princesses? What... is he gay or something?" For the last hour, I have thought and thought and thought on this subject and I have learned something. Something that I probably already knew, but just didn't KNOW. ya know?
Mac likes princesses. He really really does. When I accidently gave him Quinn's princess plate at Grandma's, he moved all the food to the side, so he could see Cinderella and was so excited he just kept saying, "Momma! Princess! uh-super coo!" Whether this has stemmed from his big sister drilling it into his head that princesses are cool, or just because they're pretty, I don't know. But he does. And guess what? THAT is all it means. Sometimes, we draw these lines, especially for boys. It's a sort of do-not-cross line. And if you do cross it, you're gay or just plain weird. And all of a sudden, a boy's interest becomes taboo. It becomes something bigger than what it is. Maybe it's a love of music or dancing, or maybe it's a straight-up love for princesses and all things beautiful. And we, as society, take that interest and turn it into something else. We label. Why do we do that? Why in the HELL do we do that?!
It is because our own inconsistencies scare us.
Maybe you're not quite there with me yet. That's ok. It took me a while to get there-- An hour to be exact. After thinking about Mac and the pressure that society puts on our boys, I started to think about our girls. Even they do not escape the labeling. Let's say a girl prefers a nerf bow-and-arrow set, to dolls. What then? Well, she's a tom-boy. I guess, in all fairness, I'm a little bit of a tom-boy. Guess what? I know this is going to be a shocker-- I hate cooking. I really really do. It is agonizing, everyday around 4:30 when I have to decide on a dinner and then commence with making said dinner. I seriously hate it. (And 2 nights out of 10, I flat refuse to do it, and we order pizza) And guess what else? I like to shoot guns. Ok, ok-- mainly just a .22. This was something that I didn't learn until recently-- because my husband pushed and pushed me to "just try it," and guess what?? I love it. The rush that I feel when I nail a moving target (this skill was only recognized a few weeks ago!) is comparable to when I really nail an idea in my writing. I feel like I can take on the world. But guess what else? I am also the girl that went home for Thanksgiving, found my sister's old prom dress, and wore it around the house for two hours straight-- just because it was fun. So why does a preference for "boy" toys and a hatred for cooking mean that we are tom-boys? Why can't we just be US?
Within all of us, there are so many different parts to our character. Some we are proud of, some we're not so proud of, some we display openly, some that we hide, and some that are never even realized, because we never let ourselves go there. We are human. We are incredible entities that are always changing. There is no end to our possibilities. So why do we limit each other? It is because our own inconsistencies scare us. We are scared of how others will view us, if they know who we really are. We might be perceived as "weird" or "not normal." (heaven forbid!) So we label others. We continue this downward spiral, in order to protect ourselves. Only it's not protecting us, it is severely limiting us.
I am reminded of Dr. Seuss, "A person's a person, no matter how small." That's it. We're all just people. We don't have to let the labels interfere with us figuring out who we are. And that is why, in my house, it's ok for Quinn to love monster trucks as much as Mac, and likewise-- it's ok for mac to think that princesses are "uh-super coo!" and wear around Quinn's heels. Cause we're all just people-- and I refuse to hold my children to a ridiculously rigid view of their role. They are more than that. We are All-- more than that.