(Sorry for the long haitus.)
Been thinking about girls lately. That sounds a bit awkward; let me explain. I..make it my living to live with a bunch of college-age girls. And by "live with", I mean everything short of legal adoption. I wipe tears and kiss owies, I speak truth whether or not it hurts, I get angry at them and I drive them to the hospital and I worry about them and cry when they grow up. Although I absolutely love this part of my life, I was definitely getting to the point a few weeks ago when their shrieks down the hall produced an eyeroll and sigh from me rather than a shaking of the head at their cute antics. I was in need of a bit of a break, but that reaction was saddening to me.
Now, a couple weeks after that, I find that although my spirit is still tired, I have found myself confronted with and reminded of the fascinating and compelling aspects of girls. There is, frustratingly, no other creature like us.
There's this girl that I see often in the cafeteria here. If she is in high school, she could pass for one of my girls. She is tall and has a solid, big frame like myself. She always puts her long, crazy blonde hair in a ponytail on the side of her head, and wears giant silver hoops. She catches my eye because I'm not sure what catches hers. Only once have I heard her speak, and she called out to one of her friends - "...I don't know. I'm not the type that could go to college. I think design is all that's left for girls like me." I couldn't (and still can't) tell whether she was happy about that or not. It won't matter if I ever figure it out - it makes me sad either way because I have hardly ever seen the look of resignation that I saw in her eyes and the way she carried herself. It wasn't a sad look - just a blank one.
Today walking across campus I got intimidated. A sharp looking, black slacks, perfectly messy ponytail (the kind that's acceptable in professional settings now - go figure), has to walk slowly and deliberately because of precarious heels, shiny oversized bag that probably hosted (among other things) a cell phone with a bejeweled cover and a gaudy charm -woman was walking on the sidewalk that ran parallel to mine. The only thing I had in common with her was that I too was a woman (although I was beginning to question even that), and that my cell phone now sports a little charm. With a moose on it. From Alaska. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, flipflops in a color not found anywhere else on my person. I have always known that girls dress for other girls, and was keenly aware of it now. We make so much fun of men for coming up with ways to assert their territorial tendencies, but fail to recognize that we do it in a silent but far more deadly way. Knowing that one thought in the morning can defeat a woman's self-image for the rest of the day, we take full advantage of the possibility of the presence of other's weaknesses. Not every girl does this all the time, and I'm not saying that it's bad to look nice. I'm just saying that we all, including myself, have done it at one time. Our sidewalks were coming closer and closer together, leading the woman and I to a convergence...and for a minute I hoped that something miraculous would happen and that the short, thin, snappy, dark girl and the tall, big..er, soft-featured blonde girl would merge into one, kind of like on those freaky caduet commercials for high blood pressure and cholesterol. It didn't happen. Because I was walking faster in my bright blue flipflops than she was in her precarious heels.
I am getting ready to present a paper on theological shortcomings of the emergent church movement at two different philosophical conferences. At one of the conferences I am one of two women presenting, and at the other I am the only one. I have no point to prove, I'm simply wondering why.
In one of the public bathrooms on campus the other day, I saw a flyer for upcoming events for Women's History Month. One of the topics is "Making it in a man's world." I have no point to prove, I'm simply wondering why.
I love being surprised by girls. They surprise me sometimes. I just returned from a mission trip where the team was composed of 9 girls and two boys. And I didn't realize I had preconceived expectations of what they were capable of until they surprised me, showing me I had severely underestimated them.
In the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.