It was full of all the things I ran low on, ruffles, pink, and frills. It was every girl’s dream, but my reality. Visitors would fuss over it, and I would shrug it off as mundane, as you often do with what is your own. Of course it wasn’t only mine to claim; I shared it with Annie, with whom I shared almost everything but my toothbrush, and it had been a hand-me-down from the big girls.
It was my bed. But mind you, it wasn’t any old bed. It was a canopy bed. Goodness, under a pink canopy, who couldn’t help but have dreams of sugar and spice and everything nice?
But that’s not really what it did to me. What I remember most is my nightly ritual of trying to kick down one of the top bars; I wanted the bed to fall on my head, and not just because that rhymes so well.
Something about that bed made me feel like a misfit.
As a girl who enjoyed football more than foot scrubs, the misfit feeling was not uncommon. I reacted like a flamboyant firefighter to anything feminine. I thought the only way I could be cool was to steer far clear of the path of anything soft, sweet, or stately. I was determined that being feminine represented weakness, and I wanted nothing to do with that.
Little did I know what kind of strength and courage womanhood really takes. This truth took me years to uncover.
I see replicas of my younger self from time to time. Young girls having wrestling matches with the idea of femininity. It’s no wonder, with gender roles under such serious attack in our culture. I’d even say they are way too often poorly defined within our churches.
If I could write a letter to my younger me, one of the first things I’d say is that it’s not necessary to love all the frills and trills in order to embrace what it means to be a woman. Nor is this embrace a sign of weakness. Quite the opposite, actually. Scripture uses words like defender, shield, helper, and deliverer as synonyms of the word God used for woman. That doesn’t sound so weak.
If you were a misfit like I, we can’t go back and un-think those things that made us determined to find our own way. But we can lend a hand or an ear or, best yet, show a better way to another who knows this road all too well. Lord, help us all to do this well.
Visions of pink canopy beds don’t make me feel like a misfit anymore, but something inside of me still kinda does want to see if I can kick down the top bar.
I guess some parts of the story do stay the same.