The Vulnerability Of Pretty

I’m trying to push myself to try new things, to challenge myself, to push against some of my fears. So this morning I got up and put on something BARELY girly. Just a embroidered, fitted t-shirt with a notched neck. I stared at myself in the mirror and was shocked when I looked amazing.

But five seconds later I felt uncomfortable and scared. I looked too soft and vulnerable. I didn’t mind how I looked. But I hated how it felt.

The molestation I suffered from my earliest memories until I was 14 certainly plays a huge role in my need to cover and protect my body and my soul. I constantly keep my arms folded over my breasts. I always feel like I need to hold men away from the real vulnerable me by putting up a tough, bad-bitch front in my appearance and my behavior. And I feel a very real need to think I can kick anybody’s ass if I need to. (But strangely, I do a terrible job of protecting and defending my heart. But anyway…)

My co-worker and I were talking yesterday about the realities of how things OUGHT to be versus how things ARE. Women should be able to dress however they want without fear. But in our society, the reality is we can’t.

That’s one reason I’m so uncomfortable wearing dresses. I wore a dress to church a couple of years ago. (I usually wear jeans and a sweatshirt and a ballcap.) I was trying the same thing I’m trying now, to open myself up and not be afraid of looking like a woman. But as I walked the five blocks to and from church, five or six men made comments about my appearance and made propositions. I was frightened and disgusted. And the high heels I was wearing only made it worse because I felt hobbled and unable to run away.

There was no real threat from these men, but it triggered my “fight or flight” instincts. And in a dress and high heels, I didn’t feel I could do either.

Unfortunately, I don’t see any signs of society changing, so maybe I’m not so dumb wearing my jeans and running shoes. Self-preservation is a pretty logical urge.

Is there something in the middle as a woman? I don’t know.

All I know is I look nice today and I wore sensible shoes.



3 thoughts on “The Vulnerability Of Pretty

  1. Deanna well said. You should do what makes you feel comfortable and safe. The people that truly love and care for you do not care what clothes you are wearing or if you have the latest hair style. Just remember you are strong and take life one day at a time.


  2. Hi, just discovered your blog(s) and I wanted to say hi. Hi! There was a time when I looked up “masculine straight women” or “butch straight women” and the word I was really looking for was “genderqueer”. (forget androgynous; that only turns up high-fashion waifs). It turns out I’m not so straight, but I still find it awesome to have a space for non-feminine-presenting assigned-female-at-birth people representing another point in the gender/sexuality space.
    Also there’s definitely an in-between as a woman; it’s harder to find though. If you feel good, that’s what counts.


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