I feel wrong every time I like something pink and admit it. I feel squirmy inside when I find something I like that has ruffles. I look at something "girly" and my eyebrows furrow, my nose scrunches up, my lips tighten.
When I like something or do something I term "girly", it's work not to feel disgust with myself. Some of these things are worse than others. Showering with several bath products to make me soft everywhere is feminine in a good way, but having a kit with clippers and a nail file is...gross, because it's such a girl thing. I don't know if these are things that someone else would be able to predict even if they've known me for a while, but in my mind, they all have their place in the hierarchy, and seemingly random things are tolerable or even good while others are barely even forgivable.
I know why this is. I can't - and have never been able to - identify with or understand really girly girls. Needless to say, ditsy women are completely beyond my scope of comprehension, and I just try to learn how to function with them when I need to. The mindset is something I can't really wrap my head around; I can't practically imagine being in that head-space and making decisions from there.
Wrapped up with all this non-understanding is my dislike. Too many bad experiences with females. I've been hurt by too many women and girls doing things that are associated only as things that females do, and I've seen way too much from them. The gossiping, trying to be cute and failing, slutty attitudes, and mind games? Those are only a few things off the top of my head that I've had to deal with and they drive me insane. Women sicken me entirely too often.
Cut back to my own issues. Even aside from the social repercussions in a more globalized sense (a.k.a. my interactions with other females), I have this internal conflict. For an extremely long time, I've had this clenching retreating reaction to liking girly things or acting in certain feminine ways.
Like I said, my mind can be startlingly specific as to whether I quickly accept something or not. Long hair is great; high heels are subject to intense suspicion. Shaving your legs is wonderfully feminine; wearing fake nails is gag worthy. It would be hard for even me to predict if I were to be on the outside of my own mind. But despite the disparities, there's a huge variety of the things that get a bad reaction out of me.
The issue gets tough because as a woman, I have certain naturally girlish tendencies. To add to the torture, I see many things, often online, that I find myself liking and immediately mentally punishing myself for because they fall under the "girly" category.
And that's where I am now.
It's a process, although admittedly a much shorter one than most of the ways I'm growing right now. Mentally, I'm gradually adjusting to the idea that I can do or like girly things and it's still okay, I'm still likable, that it might even be cute or appealing in some way. This bad reaction in me still rears its head like a particularly bitter dinosaur on a regular basis, but I'm dealing with it better and seeing it just a little less often than I used to.
It's all part of what these incredible people are helping me with: the slow progression of negating the vicious self-talk and learning how to not hate myself anymore, to start having some measure of self-confidence and self-esteem where I have always been lacking them and letting them become more downtrodden with every bad person that has come into my life and left their mark on it. I run into situations with girliness now and often remind myself that just because I am a woman with feminine tendencies, it doesn't have to mean that I'm channeling the girliness in the type of girls that I despise. There is a disconnect between that horrible misuse of femininity and me that I'm beginning to actually see.
And to me, that's definite progress.