Courtesy of http://hiox.org/4241-tomboy–meaning.php.
A friend said she pictured me as the future mother of four girls.
“I don’t know about that,” I replied.
I knew I did not cut it when it came to the girl world. It was plagued with too many rules that I, as a writer, could not navigate.
During college, I got along great with guys. I watched Gameday on ESPN, talked college football and threw back Tequila. I talked about Hitler, World War II and weapons.
And, I’ll admit, I like to read books where someone is killed or something is set on fire.
Most of my writing reflects the same. Much of my fiction is written from a young man or boy’s perspective.
As a child, my friends were backyard boys with sling shots, and I looked up to my cousin who was the ultimate Boy Scout and outdoorsman. All of my students are boys. My husband and I also take our son into the great outdoors.
When my grandmother told me to remember what the professor told Jo March in Little Women: to write what you know, I am certain she never thought I would write most—not all—of my work from a young man’s point-of-view.
Growing up, I felt like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. I adored my father, lacked the best manners and I preferred the company of a trail or a river rather than a woman giving me a manicure.
A picture of me on an adventure on the Blue Ridge Parkway in September 2009.
Five Reasons I didn’t make the cut:
Lesson 1 – Read up on becoming a maid-of-honor:
I was asked to step down from being a maid-of-honor.
Apparently, maid-of-honor is more than just showing up in a dress. You plan this party, send out invites, and organize this and that.
Someone might as well have poured a bucket of ice water on my face because I had no clue.
In 2008, I lost contact with college friends as soon as I began working as a journalist. My then-editor said, “This job will make you grow up quick.”
She was right. I lost time. I forgot everything about being a maid-of-honor.
Lesson 2 — “You can’t buy friends like this.”
I joined a sorority in 2005. When fall rush came around, I was blackballed after the first night from talking to potential sisters because I voted for an African American girl and because I chose what I considered to be real, down-to-earth women.
The line thrown to girls looking into sororities is, “You can’t buy friends like this.”
When I chose to leave the sorority, our adult leader asked, “Did anyone in the sorority make you feel uncomfortable?”
I smiled the perfect grin I’d learned and said, “Absolutely not.”
Lesson 3 – Court wedding
I am twenty-seven and in my second marriage.
I know. I did not plan it that way either.
But, I cancelled the ceremony for my first marriage. What was wrong with going to the court house? There was a park and a garden nearby. That could’ve counted as flowers.
My ex-husband, mom, dad, former father-in-law and I got in line behind a teenage girl in a green dress. She had a small bump, and she stood next to who we guessed was her boyfriend. He looked like a scared wet cat with the girl’s father right behind him.
“This will do fine,” I said and I meant it.
Too many people debated about where and how I should have my wedding.
Screw the complications. Let’s just get it done.
Lesson 4 — Books over boys
I was deep in Tudor history during high school and figured I was too much of a nerd for boys to notice anyways. I stuck it out with books, and it worked out well. I went to the South Carolina summer Creative Writing program, took a writing course under author, Scarlett Thomas; worked as a journalist, became an author and met Joshilyn Jackson.
But, I also learned the hard way that romance could wait for the future. There was no need to rush something that was not there.
Books were always there.
Lesson 5 — Can’t we all be friends?
I cannot complain too much. Since three former college friends quit talking to me in 2009, I’ve been reminded of who my true friends are.
But, I once admired how guys remained close with their friends. They would argue and get over it. They were still friends.
As a teen and in college I found friendship with women more complicated than they needed to be, and I could not understand them. I thought for a long time something was wrong with me.
I learned I was just someone who was not afraid to speak out; a woman who was just discovering her voice. I was a girl becoming a woman who would not let herself be bullied or walked over anymore.
Friendship is more prominent in my writing than romance. I believe it is more important to explore. Some young adult books focus so much on the romance they forget the friendship.
It was my own childhood and high school friendships that reminded me, yes, we are friends.
There was no special code or rules. We were just friends.
By Rebecca T. Dickinson