Meet my daughter. Yep, that’s her right there, in the Wonder Woman shirt (complete with cape) and not-so-much matching skirt.
In case you haven’t noticed, I think she’s pretty darned awesome. (I feel the same way with my son…and..honestly, most of this post could apply to him as well, but well…maybe you’ll see why later). At the age of only 4, she already manages to be most of what I would hope any person in this world would aspire to be. She’s kind, she’s caring, she has a need to take in the less-fortunate, she’s smart, wants to learn, happy, optimistic, still believes in magic, and a whole helluva lot more. Sure, she may be a bit pudgy (so was I at that age), but she has already latched onto one of the most important things about life, one of the things that tends to be the most difficult to keep as you get older.
She knows how to be true to herself.
My daughter is a nerd. Hard to believe, right? But by nerd, I’m referring to the nerd who is passionate about the things they enjoy. She’s not someone who likes something for a second and then wants to move onto the next thing, she’s the person who will love something and continue to love it and want to tell everyone about her love for it, as well as showcase her love for it through her clothing choices or whatever else. This is where her ability to be true to herself really begins to shine through.
First, I’d like to note that I do attempt to have some minor amounts of input into her fashion choices, knowing full well that my knowledge of fashion doesn’t go much further than a t-shirt and jeans. However, I generally try to allow her to keep final creative decision. My words are to be taken as suggestions, more than anything…unless it has to do with ensuring her dress is appropriate for the weather outside.
And generally her choices are rather normal. I mean, there’s only so much one can do when wearing dresses that would make you appear all that eccentric. It’s when she goes away from the dresses, however, that things really can get interesting. It’s not uncommon for her to wear a star wars or superman t-shirt with a tutu during the summer months, combining her love of science fiction with her love of dressing up in more “girly” attire. She even realizes that she looks silly, as she’ll tell me whilst checking herself out in the mirror. She doesn’t care. She’s expressing herself, and she feels more than confident enough to do so.
This is where my envy begins. My daughter is confident. She has no fears about people making fun of her (although, when it does happen, I tend to get a rather tearful story about it), she doesn’t care that her choices might have a negative impact on how people view her. It’s a visual representation of who she is and she wants everyone to know that.
Of course, she’s young yet. There’s still plenty of time (including high school) for that amazing confidence to disappear. I pray that it doesn’t. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I often find myself envying her for her ability to express herself in the myriad ways she does (clothing is only one of many ways in which she does this). I can barely tell my friends/family about the books I’ve published and am incredibly proud of, much less showcase them openly to the entire world. My daughter, on the other hand, wears her love of things and her confidence of herself on her sleeve.
Where this starts to become even more interesting is that she has become, in some ways, a feminist icon…albeit a rather unknown one. I often hear comments from the female university students who watch her at day care regarding how much they appreciate the fact that she can be such a girlie girl while also not being afraid to run with the boys. That she can go from wanting to put on nail polish to playing Power Rangers in the yard.
My daughter, just in being who she is and not feeling as though she needs to just do things that match standard gender lines, stands out as something special, as something that I’m beginning to find I’m not the only one who aspires to be more akin to.
She’s not afraid to be the person to introduce herself to new students and instantly become their best friend, should they have trouble acclimating to the new environment. She’s not afraid to ask how every single thing in this world works, and (usually) sit around for a real answer without getting too disinterested. She’s ready to tackle any new task, whether it be something as difficult as learning to ice-skate or something as frightening as riding on the Tower of Terror, or something as monotonous as dying 500 times in the same spot in a Mario game just to figure out how the hell to play it. She’s experiencing the world like I wish I would.
But more than anything, she’s happy (most of the time). Even though she is one of the most empathetic people I know, she manages to find joy in most parts of life, even if it’s a 20 hour car ride to some place she’s never heard of before.
I wish I could be like her. And more than that…I wish she never loses that part of herself.
I should add, once again, that my son carries many of these same attributes..albeit, his love for makeup, princesses and other such details doesn’t tend to be as endearing to the public at large as my daughter’s love for more boyish things.
Anyways, I’ve got tons to do, so I’m off.
Have fun out there!