Growing up I had hundreds of acres of woods to explore behind my house. Blazing new trails while pretending I was a pioneer was one of my favorite things to do. I often saw snakes, had ticks embedded in my head, and got covered in chigger bites or poison ivy, but I didn’t care. I was happiest being in the trees where nobody could find me.
Contrary to my mother’s dreams, I wasn’t the girly-girl she had hoped for when I was born. My mother enjoyed getting dressed up, fixing her hair, and looking pretty with a lot of accessories. Therefore, she assumed I would be her little doll to primp around with. I even had bows adorned upon my head with scotch tape before my hair was long enough to gather into bands. However, I fought like a banshee whenever she tried to wrestle me into a dress.
My mother couldn’t relate to my enjoyment of motorcycles, treehouses and playing in the dirt, so she signed me up for more graceful activities…in hopes that they would train me to be more lady-like. I even suffered through five treacherous years of ballet lessons. I pleaded with her to let me take Karate instead, but she thought the key to becoming a woman was in the point, plié and pirouette.
By the time I reached my teenage years, nothing had succeeded in turning my desires from mud to make-up so I was enrolled in Charm School, which was taught by a former Miss America. The class was full of girls who were eager to learn about becoming a true southern belle. And then there was me…wearing a baseball cap and a scowl on my face. For several months Miss America gave her best shot at teaching me how to smile, bat my eyes, and sit up properly in a chair. I even learned how to model on a catwalk, but I despised every minute. During one of our fashion shows, instead of wearing a fancy gown like the others, I wore my favorite torn-up jeans and mocked their prissy hip-swinging walk while I made Vanna White hand gestures towards my converse high tops.