In fourth grade, I wore the same pair of overalls every day for an entire year. In fifth grade, it was a pair of Adidas sneakers, which I insisted on slipping my feet into every day until there were gaping holes in the toes. (The only way my mom got me to stop wearing them was by throwing them in the garbage while I was sleeping one night.) I hated the idea of looking “pretty,” I always wondered why I had to play softball and not baseball with the boys, and I was never ready for school picture day. I was a “tomboy.”
Tomboys are, by definition, young girls who tend to conform to traditionally masculine characteristics and habits when they’re young. As a former tomboy, I’m no stranger to dirt, sweat and an overwhelming obsession with Michael Jordan (he was and still is the King).
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being a girl who’s more interested in learning to bead or braid than play sports or prefers pink to green. Being “girly” is nothing to be ashamed of — I was just never that.
My childhood was filled with bruised knees, softball tournaments and cleats. And I know there are many women out there who can relate. These experiences shaped who I am today, leaving me with amazing memories, a specific fashion sense and a wicked competitive streak.
This one goes out to every lady who still has trouble putting on her $1.99 CVS eyeliner. Here are 17 things every former tomboy knows to be true:
1. Your shoe obsession will always be with sneakers, not heels. Practice makes perfect except when it comes to heels and… walking in them.
2. Your favorite movie as a kid was a straight-up action flick. And people still look at your weirdly when you tell them that. (For me, it was “The Fugitive.”)
3. You appreciate the beautiful simplicity of a ponytail. Everything else takes too much time.
4. You know how to stand up for yourself. After years of proving yourself on the kickball field with the boys you’re not afraid of a conflict or some friendly competition.
5. Putting on makeup is still a big mystery. When you’re forced to get dressed up, half the time you walk out looking like this.
6. Your childhood pictures are more embarrassing than most, because you look like a little boy.
7. Sweatpants not leggings. Always and forever.
8. You pride yourself on being competitive in every single sport. Maybe a little too competitive.
9. The girly clothing store “Limited Too” still makes you cringe a bit. So. Much. Glitter.
10. You were one of the only girls who played the saxophone or trombone in middle school. You wanted to be with boys and the flute just didn’t do it for you.
11. Wall ball was your jam in elementary school. And if anyone ever challenged you today, you could still (gleefully) crush them.
12. You’ve broken a bone — probably more than once. Whether you were playing sports or riding your skateboard, you were always falling and breaking something.
13. Pink will never be your color of choice. In the words of Amy Poehler, “Good for her! Not for me.”
14. You constantly have to remind people that just because you happen to be a woman doesn’t mean you don’t understand sports. So please, stop explaining football to me.
15. You said “dude” a lot, growing up. And you probably still do. .
17. Instead of hopping on the elliptical at the gym, you head straight to the squat rack. So please, dudes in the weight-lifting corner — stop looking surprised when I know what a hang clean is.
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