There is no magic wand, special recipe or unbroken mold from which women who love women come from. We are daughters and mothers, sisters and friends. We are tall, athletic, bold and beautiful. We are femme, butch, androgynous and nondescript. We are timid, bossy, sarcastic and sophisticated. We come in all shapes, colors and sizes from every corner of the world and back again. We are business women and teachers, dreamers and planners. We are young and old and every age in between. Women who love women are not an anomaly – we are everyday people doing everyday things wanting what the other half wants – to love a woman.
Our histories and stories are all so different. I was the girl who the guys picked first to play on their team. The girl who knew nothing about title 9 (because there was no such thing) and dared to play boys little league anyway. When I was 6 – I walked down the street in the hot summer sun with my brother’s construction boots on my feet and a pair of flower shorts and no shirt. I had a smile as big as the sky and saw no problem with going shirtless in the blistering July sun – the boys were flashing skin. I didn’t understand why I had to go home and put a shirt on. Just because I was a girl I had to sweat it out?? I literally had no comprehension of what all the commotion was all about – from a child’s unabridged mind there was no rule book on life that said what was instinctively right for me was somehow morally and socially unacceptable. I think I am still pissed about it. I know I am.
I guess all those times I played doctor with the girl across the street, or shaved my sister’s Barbie’s hair down to the hard plastic head leaving only pin holes and strands of blonde mess behind (protesting to the world that no real girl wants to be a Barbie), or chose hiking boots over sandals, or threw the ball further than any boy on the block, were all some sort of signs. The fact that I couldn’t wait to get that Easter bonnet off my head and replace it with my Philly’s cap might have been foreshadowing had I been paying any attention. My green eyes, athletic body and long lean legs were bait to every boy in eye shot and I wanted nothing more than for them not to notice me. Watching old movies and thinking Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant were equally beautiful – but I found her more so. I didn’t care about Paul Newman as much as Elizabeth Taylor in that damn white dress in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – these too may have been signs!
The world was different for a girl growing up before talk TV opened up the minds of millions with concepts of honest communication, understanding and acceptance. Choices were harder and blurry at times – secrets were deeper and much more secret. What we felt for the girl catching the ball on the other end of our catch couldn’t have been more than friendship – could it? How could it? The fact that we more often than not had to be less than we actually were in a room of boys in order to keep the peace and not be tagged “bossy know it all bitch” is extremely disturbing to me today. But there were times – it was what a girl did so she didn’t get labeled, tagged, outcast and beat up. It was what a girl sullenly did if she were not brave, stupid or smart enough to act on what her gut was telling her. Hard to admit and I am still a little pissed about that too.
How we come to accept ourselves – the whole fucked up wonderful package – is a unique journey we must take alone. The road is friendlier today than it was yesterday – and it will be more well traveled tomorrow. The world is a little smaller and at moments waves of compassion overshadow the scars of anger, fear, jealousy, resentment and old school rules. We women who love women are smarter, more confident and eager to assure that our daughters and our daughter’s daughters never feel they have to trade in their combat boots for stilettos – unless they want to.
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About K. Guzman
Kathy grew up all over the US - lots of east coast time. She is a surfer girl with an unabridged curiosity. A woman whose mid life awakening continues to bring her to the place she was meant to be. Her degree in Journalism/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida is being yanked from the archives and put to good use. Her two kids are grown and rock stars in this wild world – her Harley is ready for some serious summer miles – and her heart remains open to life, women and the possibilities each day brings.