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Blood Ocean

An insider's look at what it means to be female in 2016

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The title of this post is what my ex-boyfriend used to call my period.

Having a period is a very normal, relatable female experience. Similar to liking chocolate, having your first kiss, and crying at the end of Titanic.

Based on these references, you see, I’ve never really felt female. Not that I’ve felt male, which is totally acceptable, (or at least it will be until that oversized Cheeto of a man becomes president and takes away our fundamental human rights.) I mean that I have always felt an equal longing and detachment from “women.”

I don’t like chocolate, I don’t find Brad Pitt attractive, and I stopped watching Titanic after they had sex in the car. Don’t worry, thanks to 20 years of spoilers, I’ve figured out what happens at the end.

I’ve considered myself, being raised as an only child by a man in his 30’s, as some some of mutant hybrid. An X-man, or woman if you will.

I don’t like sports, but I also don’t get a craving for ice-cream. I don’t care for driving, but I also can’t relate to the sensation women talk about when they take off their bra at the end of the day. My first kiss was when I was 7 as a double-dog dare. There were no fireworks, but I do remember he tasted like nachos.

I have a B-34 bra size which means if I didn’t have an aversion to nipping, I could not wear a “boob carriage” and get away with it. I have an IUD which means I don’t get the monthly visit from Aunt Rose. I barely even know what a vagina looks like you guys.

But I do still feel what it means to be a woman. Being a woman means when you walk into the grocery store in sweatpants and no makeup, and a bun, and you smile at people, no one smiles back. But when you walk into a Plaid Pantry with curled hair and red lipstick on, people open the door for you. When you ask for a pack of Camel Crushes they say, “How could I say no to such a pretty face.” When you forget mascara people ask you if you aren’t feeling so well. When you wear heels, other women stare at you, while men offer to carry your things, or at least stare at your ass when they think you aren’t looking.

Being a woman means getting told to “smile.” Being a woman means never feeling like you are good enough. Being a woman means feeling on top of the world when you are blonde and skinny and young. People say, “Oh, I like her, she’s cute.” or “Oh, you are so skinny and you have such long legs, those will help you when you get older. Lucky you.” Lucky me. I guess.

But also being a woman means this:

It means getting a college degree while working 46 hours a week. It means paying rent, utilities and medical bills while trying to balance a social life and a fulfilling hobby. It means worrying that people will talk shit about you, and then finding the people that will never talk shit about you and loving them so much it hurts. It means getting heartbroken and picking up the pieces with self-help books and red wine and lots and LOTS of texts to your friends back home. It means waking up one day realizing you are 30 lbs heavier than you would ever image yourself being, and reconciling with the fact that that does not define your worth. It means having 3 interviews at your dream company and not getting a call back the following business week. It means finally quitting your dead-end job after years of applications, networking and LinkedIn profile updating. It means saying yes when you want to say yes, and saying no when you want to say no. Even when it feels like you should because you really feel like you should be social, and you’re worried you’re going to come off as a flake, and you haven’t gone out all week but you just really DON’T FEEL LIKE PUTTING PANTS ON. Really, being a woman means whatever the fuck your experience is being you. Not some 60 Minute special on Millennial Moms. Not some Reddit meme about being an overly-attached girlfriend. You are a woman, whether or not you get a Brazilian wax once a month (which holy shit hurts so bad oh my Jesus H. Christ, hold onto your labias) or you haven’t haven’t shaved your legs in 5 months. I’ve personally done both.

Yes, sometimes being a woman feels like you will never be good enough. But you are enough. And I know that for certain, because as a woman, I am always right.


The Weekday Hangover

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