I’ve always been a girly girl.
Not in all of the standard ways, of course. When I was a freshman in college and going to my first fraternity semi-formal, my dorm mates had to tackle me on the ground so they could put eyeshadow on my sad naked eyelids. I wore flannel pajama pants to high school for the entirety of my senior year, which I’m realizing at this moment is really mortifying. I still opt for practical, comfortable clothing before I submit to wearing things that look great but feel like I’m slowly being murdered by fashion asphyxiation.
However, I always loved playing with dolls. I changed Barbie’s clothes 47 times a day, and I chased boys around the playground until they were forced to be my little tiny sweetheart slaves. I was a cheerleader from 8th grade until freshman year of college, mainly because I just loved (still love) those freaking skirts so much. When I got the opportunity to wear a Cinderella dress at an elementary school event, they had to rip it off of me.
But nowadays, I regularly mock the girls wearing $200 yoga pants with their perfect high ponies and a very specific way of saying “Thiiiinnkkk yaaaaaaw” (translation: thank you). And yet, when I have on fancy exercise clothes and my hair miraculously curls in just the right way, I feel like Supergirl. I scoff at women with perfectly enviable makeup applications, and yet I literally dance with joy on the rare occasion that my own foundation covers up everything I need it to. It seems like while the inside of me is pink glitter and sparkles to the core, I’m not as inclined to make an effort on the outside as many of my fellow females are. I am constantly battling between the awesome feeling I get when I look polished and put together, and the stubborn part of me that just wants to wear sweats and not actually HAVE to make an effort. We’ve all heard of inner beauty, and it seems the highest compliment a woman can receive is, “You’re beautiful, inside and out.”
Now, I know I’m super fun. After years and years of fighting with myself, I can proudly say that I love who I am, and I’m starting to really understand who I am. But day after day, I push against the notion that if I were to take just fifteen extra minutes to throw on some mascara, or do something with my hair that didn’t end in a ponytail, I would feel even better about myself. My thought is, why should some extra crap on my face define who I am? Why do I have to give up playing five rounds of Candy Crush or seeing which flat they choose on House Hunters International in order to make myself pleasing to some random stranger’s eye? I’m who I am no matter what I look like, right?
I’ll tell you what it is. It’s the expectation. It’s the entire industry built on having the right clothing and the right hairstyle and the right makeup, all while miraculously maintaining individuality. It’s the magazine covers that scream “BE YOURSELF!” right next to a flawless photo of today’s super celebrity and headlines like “How to lose five pounds without exercising!” It’s feeling good leaving my house and then passing a woman on the street who looks like she got all 100 votes in Who Wore It Best and instantaneously doubting every single decision I’ve made that day. It’s turning back into the fifth grade Patti, who never seemed to be able to fit in. It’s the realization that appearances do make a difference, even though there’s so much more to us than what we see in the first five seconds.
The real question is, how much should I care? Do I succumb to the voices in my head telling me I should try harder? Or should I valiantly fight to be comfortable in my own 6 AM/crazy hair don’t care/what you see is what you get skin? I wish I had an answer, because then I would be the female Buddha and have lots of book deals and talk shows and billions of dollars. Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast correct answer. It’s something we all have to dig deep and ask ourselves as individuals.
So for now, I will define myself as a non-girly girly girl. If I keep working to choose a side, then I’ll always be denying one half of myself. And that’s not a super fun way to live! I’ll just have to learn to be comfortable knowing that Patti Murin is a Miss America loving, fantasy football winning princess who has rosacea on her cheeks and usually doesn’t give enough of a crap to cover it up.
So, who are you?