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Confessions of a Former Woman Hater

There’s a part of my story that I like to gloss over. It’s something that people who have known me for years have known and have watched me work through. But, it’s not something that I’m proud of or share openly.

I used to be a woman hater.

I preferred to spend my time with mostly men and the women that I did allow into my life I often neglected or complimented them on how ‘un-girl’ they were.

I’ve seen this behavior analyzed and goodness knows I’ve analyzed it myself.
It’s typically attributed to women who are competitive and don’t like to share the attention of men.
Woman-haters themselves like to say things like, “other women just don’t like me” or “women are too much drama for me.”

I can’t speak to everyone’s experience, but, I can tell you about my own.

I grew up the youngest and the only girl.
All that I wanted as a child was to be exactly like my brothers, I can remember conversations with my mother where she had to explain to me that I was different.
“Sarajane, you have to wear a shirt,” “Sarajane, you probably shouldn’t lounge around the living room with your hands down your pants with your brothers friends,” and “Sarajane, he got kicked out of school because he was hitting a girl and you were just getting in a fist fight over a basketball game.” (5th grade me did not like ball hogs!)

My youngest ideas of romance surrounded the idea that I would be one of the guys until one day someone realized I was a girl and that they were magically attracted to me and we would be pals until we died.

When the later years of middle school came around I started to realize that there were a lot of things I didn’t know about being feminine. I made a friend who taught me to stuff my bra (which, let’s be honest, I didn’t need to do), I learned to analyze if my lips were too big, and I picked a target weight. I started to notice the power of womanhood and the way men responded to feminine magic.

That’s when the doubt started to creep in. I did my best to fit in, talking fashion while wearing my brother’s hand me downs. I learned to turn goodwill finds and men’s clothing into something resembling what was in style at the time.

No matter how much I tried, I always felt like a clunky doofus of a tomboy painted to resemble a young girl.

All of my conversations with women made me feel inadequate, out of the loop, and ugly.
As I grew older I began to realize that I never felt like myself when I was around women.
Attempting to find things interesting about nail polish, dieting, and make-up caused me to fake it a lot of the time. When I realized that hanging out with guys would give me the freedom to just be myself, I decided that’s where I belonged.

I decided that I would never have a female friendship where I felt like my authentic self. I secluded myself to the point that female friendships became intimidating and hard for me even into college.

I can even remember my freshman dorm room filled with pink and I laugh at myself. I’ve never liked the color pink, but, as I chose the colors for my room, it’s so transparent to me now that I tried to pick the things that would make me approachable as a woman. Scanning the room in my memory I can see the pink interspersed with the basketball pillow and the giant basketball poster above my bed. One that I claimed was there for the hot guys, but, if I’m being honest, it was because I freakin love basketball and that felt like home. (The hot guys weren’t so bad either.)

It was in that dorm where the process started. I learned to be open and honest with the girls on that hall. I was met with openness and space for my special brand of strange. I created relationships with women that were deep, and funny, and we shared adventures together.

Later in my college experience I met up with a new set of women who not only greeted me with acceptance, but, they helped me to blossom as a human being. I learned to see myself through their eyes and they were the first people to tell me that I was intelligent and powerful and worthy of having a voice. I fell in love with each of them and did my best to share the same words of encouragement and empowerment with them.

I’ve had 10 times the amount of male friends as I have women, only a handful of those have impacted me. While, both of these groups of ladies have changed my life forever and were a huge part in charting the course that I am on.

As the years have evolved I’ve grown from a woman-hater to a very proud feminist. Someone who not only believes in the equal nature of women, but, I also hold a deep respect for the power that we hold in our being.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t still feel like I could unzip my skin and reveal to you the clunky, awkward, and dirt stained face of my true self. It just means that I no longer use that as an excuse to risk the potential rejection of friendship.

It doesn’t even mean that I don’t sometimes sit in a room of women and feel completely alone. It just means that I’ve learned to ask myself why I feel that way.

I’ve always known that guys wanted to be friends with me. It’s harder for me to take the risk of women liking me. But, what I’ve learned over the years is that female relationships may have a smaller likelihood of a good match, but, they are rewarding in a way that could never be replicated.

with love,
Sarajane.

{Note: I realize that people are more complex than male and female. I have no intentions of isolating anyone with this post.}

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