Girly Girl Feminist

A photo by Leonardo Wong. unsplash.com/photos/7pGehyH7o64

I felt a little silly writing about pretty things as a feminist.

We fought so long to wear pants, dig in the dirt, and kick off our high heels. We collapsed the naive idea that all women fall or ought to fall into traditionally feminine categories. Can’t boys enjoy more feminine things too — pink and paisley and skinny jeans? Shouldn’t we encourage girls to go hunt dragons instead of find wonder in pretty things?

There is, admittedly, nothing revolutionary about me as a woman enjoying pretty things. I’m not making counter-cultural waves by stepping out in pearl studs, pink pants, and a floral top. I’m not advancing women’s rights to be whoever they are by frequenting fashion and style blogs and buying more than one lipstick color. I fall into many generic female stereotypes, particularly when it comes to how I dress.

But I believe, however contrary this fits into perceptions of feminism, that egalitarianism is about letting a woman be her own person outside of the pressures of female stereotypes.

Every group has its stereotypes and its own pressure to fit them, whether that comes from actual demands or just glancing around and realizing most people in a group looks this one way.

I lived the stay-at-home daughter life, with the stay-at-home daughter wardrobe of long skirts and feminine-cut blouses. (I missed the memo on “tight enough to show you’re a woman, loose enough to show you’re a lady.” I lived too much in my head to know the first thing about makeup, style, or buying clothes in my correct size, so I rocked the frumpy fundie look for most of my life. The pillars of the stay-at-home daughter movement would have surely shaken their heads at my inability to be feminine and modest.)

When I became egalitarian, I learned that many feminists hated dresses and skirts — an impractical hindrance, an invention of patriarchal man. My mom’s general guideline was if you can’t do it in a skirt, you shouldn’t do it at all, so I managed to find a way to do everything in a skirt — climbing trees, hiking, sledding, volleyball, you name it.

Long skirts and I are well-acquainted. Before I discovered fleece leggings, I even preferred long skirts for winter months — they were built-in blankets for my freezing toes. On the coldest winter nights, I miss the fleece nightgown I lost during a winter/spring wardrobe transition.

I walked away from that mandated style stereotype still loving skirts, even long skirts. Now, as a liberated female, I know they’re called “maxi” skirts and come in more fabrics than khaki and denim. But as much as I thank the good Lord every day that I now own a comfy pair of skinny jeans, I can’t join in with my feminist friends’ diatribes against skirts.

Despite the Biblical mandates to dress femininely in my patriarchal circle, I didn’t discover a love for feminine things until my post-patriarchal years. My then-boyfriend, being the good soul he is, didn’t start teasing me about my frumpy homeschool outfits until after I revamped my wardrobe.

Pearls and pastels and nude heels — that’s the style I expressed my new egalitarian self as.

Feminism doesn’t mandate a specific way of dress the way patriarchalism does, but there’s still unintentional pressure (mostly in my head) to be as disassociated with stereotypical femininity as possible. I wonder if I’m complicit in the sexualization of women by buying makeup and wearing high heels and finding joy in pretty things. I wonder if I’m selling myself short.

And yes, absolutely, no woman should feel forced to wear makeup, and sure, a man invented high heels, and of course, a woman’s worth isn’t and shouldn’t be wrapped up in her appearance. I will fight for that and support any woman who hits the streets make-up-less in Nikes, a pixie cut, and boyfriend jeans. I don’t think a particular style has anything to do with a woman’s true femininity, her true womanliness.

So for me, my particular style, as stereotypical as it is, is how I express my personhood and my femininity. As a feminist, I style how I style not because I’m required to, not because it makes me a woman, but because this is me, this is my art, this is my interest, this is where I find some goodness and beauty in an ugly world.

Even with the dowdy, bra-burning stereotype still dominating the public’s view of feminism, there’s plenty of room in the egalitarian ideology for me, a girly-girl, the not-so-girly girls, and the women who resent the word “girl” in reference to themselves. Egalitarianism is about personhood, not maintaining stereotypes, even if a woman looks like an anti-feminist stereotype.

What’s your relationship with the stereotypical feminine style? Love it, hate it, somewhere in between?

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Being Pretty

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I’ve run into some hang-ups in my hair-chopping plans. At first, I was just too worried about trusting a dramatic cut to an unknown stylist, so I put it off. Then I started teaching kindergarten.

Every day, little girls touch my long hair and beam up at me: “Pretty!” they say.

Maybe it’s because I work with primarily Latino and black kids, and they’re not as familiar with really long, blonde-ish, white person hair, but whatever the reason, they just can’t get enough of my split-end, faded perm hair that I comb, air dry, and leave hanging down my back all day.

And of course, being me, being highly suggestible to turning normal things into psychosocial life-and-death issues, I am now reluctant to chop off the hair that brings five-year-old girls such delight every weekday.

I have other pretty options to satisfy their pretty longings. They’ll touch my necklace or my skirt or the flowers I clipped in my hair for the first day of fall, and say, “Pretty!” with the hugest, happiest grins.

I can’t blame them. I’m a sucker for pretty things, too — an unabashed girly-girl who just last night walked out of Bath and Body Works with overpriced car scents because they were just so, so yummy. (And because I let the store associate give me a bag. Kicking myself….) That’s why I wear pinks and pastels, owl print blouses, and sparkly summer sandals. They’re pretty.

I spend a great deal of time thinking about how to inspire my kids to wonder, the first step in sparking lifelong learning. I play beautiful music during their rest time. I lament that I haven’t found great works of art to hang on my walls. I read them good books, with good writing and good illustrations.

So far, they’ve got hyped up about fall and recess and lunchtime, but the only sense of quiet wonder I’ve seen consistently is over my hair and my wardrobe.

I did not plan this. I wear what I wear and style how I style because delight in pretty things. I don’t dress for other people’s approval or notice, so I didn’t expect my pretty things to affect my kinder girls, much less the kinder girls walking down the hall.

I love how beautiful things, even things people typically find shallow or even dangerous, can bring such joy to some people, especially children. There’s still an innocence there in my girls’ delight — a love for pretty things unconnected with trying to fit in or sexualize themselves or snag a guy. I want them to keep that delighted, innocent wonder as long as possible.

And that is why, dear readers, I haven’t the heart to cut my hair.

Everything Wrong with Fundamentalism in One Facebook Exchange

My friend Jory Micah posted this a few days ago:

I believe with all of my heart that God is calling women out of spiritual oppression/depression and spiritual imprisonment. God has unlocked every prison gate, but it’s up to us to be brave enough to stand up, get out, and leave darkness behind. #FreedomInChrist

Noncontroversial, right?

But somebody literally asked this in response:

Do you have Scripture to back up your statements? I am fully bound by Scripture and shall follow whatever the Lord may state as godly.

Wake up, church! When did we ever start doubting that God’s heart breaks for the oppressed? When did God’s Word become such a stumblingblock to clearly discerning truth and goodness?

But in case you’re as confused as that poor soul, someone set the record straight:

Did you really just ask if there is scriptural evidence to back up the statement that God is calling people to freedom? Like really? Because I’m pretty sure that’s the whole Bible. ;)

A Podcast You’ll Love

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I found a way to motivate myself to cook dinner –listening to the Phil Vischer podcast.

Coming from deep but dorky conversations with my college friends, I feel a bit lost amid all this small talk as a newbie to the neighborhood. Phil’s roundtable discussions about the ups and downs and ins and outs of evangelical Christianity are filling in that gap. Phil invites personable and humorous personalities to talk about Christianity in refreshing ways. It feels just like the late night talks of my college days!

Erich and I find ourselves laughing at their goofy jokes and fist-bumping their honest desire to know God and critique the ways we’ve been told to find him. We’ll turn on an episode or two while whipping up dinner or lounging around on a Sunday afternoon.

I’ve never been “into” podcasts, but I can’t stop listening to this one! These are my favorite episodes so far:

“Saving the Bible with Glenn Paauw” (just read the Bible, and read it in conversation with other traditions — yay, ecumenicalism!)

“Returning to Hell with Preston Sprinkle” and “Talking about Hell! with John Walton” (fun facts about what we do and don’t know about what the Bible says about hell — fundamentalism got it really, really wrong)

“Pastors & Booze, Women & Work” (a great egalitarian conversation on, well, women and work)

What podcasts do you listen to?

Don’t Ask Newlyweds This Question

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Everybody asked me, “How’s married life?” Everybody. For days and weeks and months after I got married, until other interesting things happened in my life (like illness and kindergarten), that question opened nearly every conversation.

And I hated it.

It seemed impossible to answer, because I hadn’t figured out what marriage meant practically. I didn’t know the relational difference between being committed to Erich before marriage and being committed to Erich after marriage. I was still me. He was still him. We still loved each other.

So I told people, “Marriage isn’t that different from being engaged” (except you get to cuddle at more random hours, except I didn’t tell people that, because, well, you know).

But most of all, more than the odd question itself, that question hit too close to home in a way people didn’t intend it to.

People intended “How’s married life?” to be an open invitation to gush about my happily ever after — a very kind thing to do. They said it with huge smiles on their faces, ready to rejoice with me.

And that’s why I hated it — because marriage, especially in the beginning, was not all rejoicing. I wanted an invitation to cry, to rant, to get help and advice, because I hated marriage for the first few months.

There were many factors, all boiling down to marriage being a bigger step I anticipated. It changed my identity, my name, and my prospects in hugely small ways. I moved away from my closest friends and family. I had nothing to do and nowhere to go all summer. I was going through extreme spiritual turmoil. Sex was hard, unpleasant, and charged with all kinds of guilt. I was depressed, anxious, and moody because of that and because (who knew?) I was dehydrated.

On top of that, I was always aware that I was a terrible wife, that my happily ever after was anything but, and that, probably, nobody else felt this way, and thus, obviously, I married the wrong man and would spend our old age sitting silently at restaurants on our anniversaries like all doomed couples do.

I felt like I couldn’t speak about my pain, my depression, and my grief, because marriage is supposed to be happy, because all the other newlyweds were raving about sex and marriage and their dreams coming true, because every kept asking me “How’s married life?” like it’s not a hard, heavy thing.

I suppose, then, that the question itself is not the problem — the context and the tone is. “How’s married life?” is not a casual conversation starter. It’s not always a sappy-happy question. It’s often a deeply personal, for-close-friends-only question.

So I don’t ask that question of newlyweds anymore, unless we have more than a few minutes to really talk and let our smiles down. Marriage is for better and for worse, even in the beginning, and I want to be sensitive to that.

But in case you’re wondering, yes, I love married life now that it’s a part of who I am and what I do, now that it’s home and family, now that it’s known and regular. There’s nobody else I’d rather avoid dishes with than Erich.

Did people ask this question of you? How did you feel about it?

Church Towers

On a Sunday afternoon, Erich, a friend, and I visited the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill to climb the scenic tower overlooking Kettle Moraine, WI. A flight of 178 steep steps led past pane-less windows to a breathtaking aerial view.

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We snapped a bunch of amateur photos and chatted with the friendly biker gang who made it to the top before us. (Catholic architecture draws a diverse crowd, it turns out.) Then we climbed down to explore the St. Therese Chapel and the interior of the church itself.

I love the thought, creativity, and purpose behind Christian architecture. The soaring ceilings, the marble, the gilt edges, the images your eyes run into everywhere — it definitely lifts my heart to heavenly thoughts.

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It was quite a long drive for such a short climb, but we loved the architecture, the view, and the chance to catch up with a good friend. Maybe there’s a historic church in your neighborhood you can check out on a beautiful Sunday afternoon!

Women’s Prayer Groups

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I keep seeing advertisements for Revive Our Hearts’ Cry Out!, a prayer simulcast “programmed for, and focused on, calling women to come together in groups to pray.” I can’t stop thinking about it — not because I have a bone to pick with this event but because I’m not sure what to make of gender-segregated prayer.

Generally, I have no problem with women coming together as women to pray. Certain topics of prayer lend themselves to a women-only audience. After all, only women can pray for their husbands as wives and for their children as mothers. Women share unique and pivotal experiences that sometimes require women-only spaces to talk about and pray for those situations. For various reasons, some women feel safer coming together in women-only groups, particularly for something as vulnerable as prayer. And I wholeheartedly support some of the promotional slogans for this event, like “Women of God, we need your voice!”

But the thing is, the advertisements for this women-only prayer event are far from women-only. Pictures of Dr. Bob Bakke, Josh Davis, Tony Evans, and Stephen Kendrick made up a third of the speakers listed in one advertisement I saw. Half of the YouTube promos feature well-known men encouraging women to join the simulcast and celebrating female prayer warriors. (I loved the one where the Bentham Brothers called for women to rise up and be Deborahs!)

At this women-only event, which is programmed for and focused on women, men will be speaking. At an event calling only women to pray, men will be up front, center stage, praying. The FAQs encourage men to “gather in their own groups to pray, while the women participate in the Cry Out! simulcast,” but a select few men will be speaking, leading, and praying at this women-only event.

It’s not that I’m opposed to male leaders or mixed-gender groups. I’m just trying to figure out what is the significance of women-only prayer events, particularly when not-women-only are speaking. I’m trying to figure out what, in this event’s eyes, is the value of the “wailing woman” crying out for revival — that is, what significance gender lends to prayer.

In the promo videos, the men casually weave in the importance of women praying with the importance of Christians praying in general, as if there’s no difference between women praying and men praying — probably because prayer is gender-neutral.

Why, I wonder, is it important to this event that 100,000 women pray? If numbers are important, why stop there? Why not try to reach the husbands, brothers, and sons of these women, drawing in more than 100,000 voices crying out to God?

I don’t know how the event organizers would answer these questions, but the whole concept of women-only prayer events seems a little at odds with, a little less powerful than the Christian tradition. The Christian community involves every human, of both genders, every tongue, and every tribe. That is its final form: unity of the nations, unity of the sexes, unity of the classes, unity of humankind itself.

That’s the model we see in Scripture — the community coming together to pray, first with the Israelite families, even the children, standing for hours while the law was read, then when the believers (male and female) were waiting for the Holy Spirit, then at Pentecost, when God’s word was proclaimed and understood in every language present, and now, the regular ol’ church gathering together every Sunday (and Wednesday if you’re evangelical and Saturday if you’re liturgical).

Group prayer is unitive and powerful, which is the whole point of this simulcast. But I can’t help but think how much more unitive and powerful such events would be if they called upon both men and women to pray — especially since, in this case, men will be there, anyway.

How do you feel about gender-segregated prayer?

// Encouraging women to pray in complementarian churches

Coming Out Egalitarian: When Relationships Change

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I married a somewhat Catholic man. By “somewhat,” I mean that he no longer receives communion at Catholic churches. By “Catholic,” I mean that he still values his Catholic background (as do I, now that I’ve gotten over my prejudice). We navigated our relationship from my anti-Catholic Calvinism to our mutual love of Orthodoxy. We married in a Baptist church without a Catholic dispensation and without Erich formally renouncing the Catholic Church. In the eyes of the Catholic Church, that makes our marriage invalid.

We’ve had quite the ride with Catholicism, and I occasionally get asked for Catholic/Protestant relationship advice. I got asked, once, how to build relationships with Catholic in-laws who were upset their son left the Catholic Church.

I shared a general truth that I think underlies almost all relationship tiffs regarding religious beliefs: do your best to affirm their lives and choices, because they’re afraid of your rejection and judgment.

It’s a hard thing to see someone you used to agree with take a turn she swore against taking, especially if she joins forces with the opposite “side” like Catholicism — or egalitarianism.

Things get awkward. Words no longer have the same connotations, so “feminism,” “trigger,” and “rape culture” are now legitimate concepts rather than the butt end of jokes. You can’t rant about the same things in the same way without one of you feeling a little uncomfortable. You now avoid topics you once spoke about solely with that other person. You rack your brain to remember if complementarians agree with the side comment that almost came out of your mouth. Your heart-to-hearts sometimes sound like polite discourse between two strangers sharing “interesting opinions.” You find yourself saying, “Well, kind of” rather than, “Exactly!“, and you get familiar with that frustrating phrase, “Let’s agree to disagree.”

You don’t want it to, but sometimes, when issues and positions are so polarized, it feels like a Yankee and a Confederate soldier meeting over the river at Christmas to share a cigarette. You’re both Christians. You both ought to feel like you’re on the same side, but there’s that obvious egalitarian/complementarian battle between you, and your camps lie on opposite banks of the river.

I wish I could say that was hyperbole, but in my experience, it isn’t.

It breaks my heart when complementarians begin, “I’m complementarian (please don’t shoot me).” They feel the need to apologize or go into a submissive posture so they don’t get gunned down by angry feminist rhetoric. They’re used to hearing how sexist, oppressive, and unjust complementarianism is, without hearing a calm, reasoned explanation from Scripture. They worry if egalitarians view them as less-than women, as illogical, as stupid, as whatever negative stereotype operates behind egalitarian lines, these days.

Because of this, some complementarians walk on eggshells. But some of them come at you with both barrels blasting.

They call you “liberal.” They insinuate you’re going to hell. They bully, name-call, and manipulate. They question your motives. They see you only as an egalitarian stereotype instead of their friend, sister, daughter, and fellow Christian.

I’ve seen that same thing over and over again with women who leave hyper-complementarian and patriarchal families and churches.

And I want to tell them, to tell any woman who’s coming out egalitarian, that it’s not you. It’s them. Particularly, it’s their fear of rejection. They’re afraid you see them as misguided and un-Christian. They’re afraid you’ll call them “fundie” and “judgmental.” They’re afraid they, their convictions, their beliefs, and their relationship with you will be lumped in with what you feel oppressed you,* that you’ll begin to fire away at them in your war on patriarchy.

So they shoot first.

That’s what I told the girl who asked me about her Catholic in-laws: above all else, demonstrate understanding and respect, and make it clear that your husband’s rejection of Catholicism is not a rejection of his family.

The dynamics will shift a bit, yes. There’s definitely isolation and awkwardness when you part ways with, much less oppose, something fundamental to your family or social group.

But personally, I’ve found that grace, openness, and respect go a long way to maintain and even deepen relationships with people who no longer share all my convictions. You start to build a new, better foundation — one built on your commitment to each other and to those fundamentals, whether human or Christian, that will always unite you.

*Obviously, many women have experienced oppression from their families and churches and must make the hard decision to walk away from the people as well as the ideology. That’s an issue I’ve never personally faced, but my heart goes out to those women. I hope this post doesn’t seem simplistic or discouraging in light of their more difficult situation. 

Why I’m Leery of the Word “Biblical”

A photo by Lukas Budimaier. unsplash.com/photos/6cY-FvMlmkQ

Sometimes “Biblical” feels like a trigger word.

My introduction to Vision Forum and the Botkins’ So Much More coincided with a budding desire to know, love, and serve God. I fell hard into patriarchy, particularly its pitch for “Biblical womanhood.” That was all I knew about the Christian life until age sixteen, when I discovered that a loving God was not a liberal fairy tale.

Now that I’ve been there, done that, bought the denim skirt, I see that “Biblical” really just boiled down to “formulaic.” “Biblical” meant principles, rules, blueprints, and paradigms. (Fun fact: I learned those last two words from reading and re-reading patriarchal literature.) It meant a cookie-cutter way to do life that trimmed out important parts of my soul and body.

This is my cynical side speaking, but it often seems to me that fundamentalism, which hijacked the word “Biblical” to often imply these things, did a lot of trimming out of the most important parts of reality, Christianity, God, and people.

Fundamentalism, of course, would say that it’s just remaining faithful to sola Scriptura, preserving the sacredness and inerrancy of Scripture by returning it to the central place in Christian life and practice. But fundamentalism operates on a radical sola Scriptura that tries to connect the Bible to every single aspect of a person’s life and spirituality. (See a hilarious spoof of this attitude here.)

That seems orthodox, but frankly, there simply aren’t enough rules, regulations, and identical heroes of the faith to figure out a “Biblical womanhood,” “Biblical manhood,” or “Biblical anything.” The Bible doesn’t speak about many of the issues we wish it did, and when it does, it’s often painfully unclear. How else do we explain the thousands of post-Reformation Bible-based denominations that all disagree?

We’re seeing the consequences of that, especially those of us who grew up under fundamentalism’s influence. We’re learning we can discover things about God, ourselves, and the world apart from the Bible. We’re learning the Bible’s messier and murkier than the perspicuity doctrine admits. We’ve bumped into the limitations of “Biblical womanhood,” the purity culture, and modesty rules to protect ourselves, bring happiness, and draw us into deeper communion with God.

And many of us, when we learn those things, walk away from God and Christianity entirely. For those of us who were taught the Bible is central and the prooftexts must govern every aspect of our lives, particularly our womanhood, we cannot distinguish Scripture from oppression.

So the word “Biblical” has become for us a heavy bag to carry.

But I’m not leery of the word “Biblical” just because of its baggage — that is, not just because I’ve personally been wounded by a “Biblical” lifestyle. I’m leery of it because of the reason that lifestyle hurt me: it made the Bible, rather than Christ, central. It made Christianity all about being “Biblical,” often to the exclusion of being “Christ-like.”

To some, it may seem like a quibble, but to me, it’s the difference between life and death.

I spent my most zealous years pursuing “Biblical womanhood” and never thought about pursuing an imitation of Christ. I was told to imitate the Proverbs 31 woman as the model for living. I was never told to imitate Christ in the same way, not beyond doing basic loving things. I was told submission was my role as a wife, that my husband was the one doing the Christ-like thing. I was never told that my “submission one to another,” including to my husband, was linked to imitating the Christ who emptied himself for those he loved.

Jesus’s summary of living well was “love your neighbor as yourself and love the Lord your God.” How’s that for a Biblical paradigm?

Being “Christ-like” is harder than being a “Biblical woman,” to be honest. It was easier to wear skirts, learn homemaking, and browbeat the world as an expression of my love for God than die to self, love others when I resent them, and seek peace.  Being “Christ-like” is a lot vaguer — how exactly do I love others as myself, when nobody is slapping me on the cheek or attempting to stone a woman? Who is my twenty-first century neighbor, and how do I honor them? Why didn’t you say anything about consensual gay sex and birth control, Jesus?

I think the Bible holds the answer, insofar as it introduces us to Christ. But the true answer, the true word, the true way is Jesus alone, who is not, by any means, a “Biblical principle.”

Personhood and the Color Orange

Nikon D5000, Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di. Processed in digiKam.

A friend of mine, Rebekah, shared this heartwarming story with me in response to this article and was gracious enough to let me share it with you. 

My mother’s decisions to affirm my personhood over gender stereotypes at key points in my life are cherished memories that have helped shape my sense of self and that encourage me still.

When I was five years old, I was obsessed with Ernie from Sesame Street, mostly because he was orange. I really wanted to have some clothes that had images of Ernie on them, but there were none in the girls’ department at the store. (Things are a lot different now than they were in the late 1990s!) Orange, though I didn’t know it, was perceived as more of a boyish color.

But as soon as I had become old enough to bat at the toys on the mobile over my crib, I had always batted at the orange one. After I started attending Sunday school, I always picked the big orange crayon for my coloring book page creations. When I was three years old, I began asking for various permutations of Ernie—Sleep and Snore Ernie, Rock ‘n’ Roll Ernie, etc.—for every birthday and Christmas. Soon that desire for Ernie spread to wanting clothing with Ernie on it. My mom first looked in the girls’ section with me, but then she realized that we had to go to the boys’ section.

My sister, then six, objected vociferously. “But we don’t go to the boys’ section! We’re girls!”

I became worried. I thought that maybe it was somehow wrong to want to go the boys’ section, although no one had ever told me that. (Of course, I don’t blame my sister for her interjection. She didn’t know any better.)

My mom instantly said, “Rebekah likes orange, and there are more shirts with orange and Ernie on them in the boys’ department.” She refused to let my sister make a big deal out of it, although she tried to. (“But why does Rebekah have to go to the boys’ department? We’ve never gone there before.”) I can’t tell you what a relief this was to me; I still remember it vividly.

A few years later, I must have expressed some concern at my realization that I didn’t like either girly or tomboyish things. I had always had an almost pathological aversion to glitter, the color pink, Barbies, etc., but I also hated sports, most physical activity, and getting wet or dirty. But as a preteen, I was bothered by the fact that I didn’t fit into the socially constructed categories of girly girl or tomboy.

My mom said something along the lines of the fact that I didn’t have to do girly girl things or tomboy things, and it became a family byword that I did “Rebekah things.” We joked about “Rebekahland,” a place I would retreat to in my mind, sometimes when I should have been paying attention to schoolwork.

“Rebekah things” meant, among other things, relishing everything orange, reading for every moment possible, living in an imaginative world, and enjoying woodland animal toys more than dolls.

Once I got to college, my mom came across a comic where the main character, Agnes, is questioned by her grandma about what she’s doing. It turns out that she’s making up some kind of pretend world. Her grandma asks her if she’s doing girly things or tomboy things. She says, “I’m doing Agnes things.” My mom sent the comic to me and said it reminded her of me.

I am incredibly grateful that my desire to do “Rebekah things” was respected, appreciated, honored, and celebrated in my family. These events may sound insignificant, but they were actually very formative. To this day, I love the color orange, I glory in the beautiful and the imaginative, and I delight in woodland animals, and doing so always feels like being me.