I once wrote a song using the above title. It doesn’t hark back to being a ‘girl’ as in, wearing dresses, playing with dolls etc, it was a feeling of wanting to go back to when things were simpler, when there were less expectations of me.
I’ve never really understood how to look after myself as a girl. When friends at school were able to tie their hair in pony tails I was still having my Mum do mine for me, even into secondary school years. Going away on school camp or guide camps were a big fear as I found those things so difficult. Thankfully others took pity on me, and there were girls out there who like to do others hair, so I could get away with this deficit.
I’ve always liked comfortable clothes, I can’t wear heels- just the simple art of walking in them feels difficult. I find it hard to select and match clothes, often resorting to the same ‘uniform’. Work wear comprises of skinny jeans, plain tops and long sleeved tops, generally in black, grey or red. Outdoor gear is the same stuff I’ve had for years, grey Aldi hiking trousers, long sleeved tops with thumb loops, a purple fleece and the same hat I’ve had for ten years – I’d probably cry if I lost it. My ideal job would be one wearing a uniform. I remember the marked relief of starting secondary school as people would no longer laugh at me for what I was wearing and it was so much less to think about.
I don’t wear make up and often turn up to work with tops around the wrong way or toothpaste down my front. Every morning I have to repeat the same mantra of ‘don’t forget to brush your teeth/put deodorant on’. I’ve had times where I’ve needed to buy deodorant on the way to work because I’ve forgotten to put it on. I remember when I was a teenager trying desperately to fit in, I couldn’t wear lip stick as the process of applying it right felt too complicated and the only eye shadow I ever wore was white glitter sparkle smudged on with my finger, and this was a rare occurrence.
I hate getting my hair cut (over a year and counting) and at the grand age of 34 I still don’t understand how to style it in anyway -it’s either up or down, with the same middle parting. You can tell how stressed I am by whether my hair is up or down – if it’s down, I’ve been able to wash it and things feel okay, if it’s up, I’ve not wanted to wash and I am wearing it up because it feels too greasy to wear down. I am starting to get grey hairs, which I dislike, but I am too frightened to try and do anything about it – the art of hair dying seems like a complicated dark art.
I don’t have any female friends, I have no-one to talk to about female specific issues. Although I crave a good female friend, I am not sure if I would enjoy having one and I am not sure I would know to approach getting one. The romantic image sometimes placed on a pedestal. I like the idea of getting married, the security of commitment, but the actual process would be horrible. I’d hate to be the centre of attention, I couldn’t have a ‘hen’ do and the only bridesmaid would be my daughter.
There’s no great stance in the way I present myself, which I think is sometimes presumed/assumed – that I am not conforming because of specific principles. I just don’t know how to do it and when I do try, it’s just one big exhausting act which I have to research. I used to perform music and as part of my persona I would buy vintage dresses and wear a mask sometimes, I could dress up and be someone else, copying a ‘look’. If I dressed up I could prepare myself for the act of performance. That all fell apart eventually as I found the art of performing relentlessly stressful.
There is a great sense of loneliness in feeling like an outsider – standing on the outside of the glass house, not knowing how to open the door to join in. I will never be someone who can sit around with a bunch of ‘girl’ friends in a bar drinking wine, talking endlessly. I will always be someone who connects better with men, enjoying going caving with a bunch of guys or volunteering on practical task, there is less pressure for conversation and when it does happen it feels more functional. It’s hard to have a ‘close’ male friend though who isn’t your partner, I’ve found in the past that it’s easy for someone to get the wrong impression thinking I am looking for a romantic liaison, rather than just friendship. Since having my diagnosis of autism I’ve really wanted to talk to someone about it, someone who isn’t my partner or my Mum, but there is no-one, and I don’t know how to find ‘someone’.