All this exercising has had me thinking about my body image and my gender image.
In terms of my body, I realize that I've been a hypocrite these past couple months. I say, "Oh, I just want to be healthy. If I had to run for my life, I'd like to know my heart isn't going to give out on me."
And while that is true, if I didn't start losing inches around my waist, I would be very, very disappointed.
And maybe that's because my mental image of being "healthy" corresponds to an image of a slimmer me... But maybe also it's because I've gained more weight working at this salon than I have during any other period of my life.
Now, in terms of my gender...
I hate being wussy at the gym. This was on my mind a lot last night because, in order to work out the full 60 minutes I'd laid out for myself, I had to speed-walk a lot of it. And I'm that bitch that always looks down on sorority snobs who go to the gym to walk. Heck, any girl who wimps out at the gym - if I see you, I'm making fun of you in my mind.
Now, I am a girl. It's a fact, and not one that I will ever dispute. When someone asks me, in a philosophical sense, "Who are you?", the first thing that pops to my mind is "Woman."
But I tend to have a negative view of women.
How horrible is that?
This is the essence behind my "feminism." Throughout almost all of history, women have been considered second-class, stupid, inconsequential, and property. This is a view that has only started to change in the past 100 years in the USA alone.
Now I don't believe that my negative view of women is because of the imagery that is inculcated into our media.
I look down on women who - in my mind - perpetuate the stereotype. Stupidity, weakness, lack of goals, prescribing to the idea of the woman as the main tender of the house and caregiver.
In fact, if I see another damned commercial about some household product like Lysol or Windex with only women in it, I might scream! Who decided that only women know how to or should do the cleaning?
It did occur to me the other day that perhaps boys aren't taught to clean by their mothers. I've seen the favoritism my grandmothers have shown my uncles. I've seen the favoritism my mother has shown my brother - though it is slight - and I see that this "male worship" has been so ingrained that we unthinkingly don't train our boys and girls equally from birth.
Anyways... This is why I struggle with balancing my innate femininity with my outraged feminism. For instance - I like to dress up, so I vocally support men's rights to wear make-up and dresses. Tit for tat, yeah?
But when a friend calls, and I'm cooking or knitting (or in any other way acting domestic), my friend instantly - and rightfully - starts to make fun of me. Because for years, these "womanly" things are activities I have loudly disdained.
Am I changing? Is this a form of nesting I am going through? Or am I just growing up and learning to run my own home - as any member of a civilized society should?
And how is all of this going to affect my relationship with Zee?
If you took one glance at us, you would immediately think that Zee is the dominant person in our relationship. She's in the army; she has that soft-butch look that makes my knees weak; she's brusk and to-the-point. I dress colorfully; I'm outspoken; I'm squealy and excitable.
But there are many ways in which I am the more dominant (or "masculine") partner. And then there are instances where she's more dominant. It's a give and take. But one instance of where we are the opposite of what you'd expect is the topic of childbirth.
I have told Zee more than once that I am not going to be vessel by which some alien enters the world. I don't want the morning sickness, the cravings, the stretch marks, the kicking, the aches, the hospital room and check-ups - no way, Jose. Oh, and nine months without drinking?? Are you kidding me?
Zee does not feel the same. Essentially the only reason she would refuse to get pregnant is because she feels she has abused her body. (I highly dispute this fact.) And she feels - and this slightly exaggerating - that a mother's body should be a pure and perfect receptacle for the child.
So how is it the girly femme doesn't want to give birth, but the Army soft butch would be glad, if only her body were fit?
I feel like as Zee and I travel through our life together, we will continue to find these gender paradoxes. And perhaps through being with her, I can come to understand what it means to be a woman, stripping away all the preconceptions and the stereotypes, leaving only the simplest and truest definition.