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A world where I can look like a damsel, swear like a sailor, and party like a rock star

11 Mar

I wish we could live in a world that didn’t judge us for the shadows of who we’re supposed to be. People are too intricate to be defined by something that offers no clarity.

Shadows, Kinley Baker, Romance Author, The Realm of Shadows, Shadow Shifters, Sun, Grass

A shadow of yourself.

I’m fascinated by the relationships that form the solid threads of the world we live in. I could read for hours or days—and sometimes do—about what gender roles mean and how they reflect the lives we embrace as men and women.

I can see the strengths and weaknesses of the roles we’ve constructed for everyone. At the end of the day, my wishes are pretty simple.

I wish I could live in a world where I can like Star Trek and rock out to Taylor Swift in the mornings. I wish I could live in a world where I can cheer on a good tackle in football, but will forever appreciate the grace of figure skating.

A world where something as different as football and figure skating can be viewed with equal athletic strength.

No one would ever call me domestic. No one would ever call me a hip hop dancer, either. Yet I dance, just as I force myself to clean the house. I made a commitment to my family unit, and while my husband does the cooking and cleans the kitchen, it’s really only fair if I handle the laundry and the upstairs (to be honest, I’m the one in the relationship who struggles to pull my weight in the domestic sphere).

Working full time and bringing home a wage gives me a sense of accomplishment. In the event that things change and I have the privilege to stay home with my (hopefully) future children, I don’t want someone to judge me for my choices.

All that should concern them is that the choices are mine. I don’t want to be told that I choose to stay at home because society decided that’s where I belong. If I make that decision, I feel I belong there. I’m much too restless to allow society to win with no arguments.

The worst part of the gender dynamics for me is when I fall into the stereotypes that people I respect speak out against. Activists want women to stand as strong and smart individuals. I’m not sure I’m a good representative of either.

It’s not very hard to make me look ditzy. I confess. My strength in life is not recounting facts of any kind. I tend to stare blankly if I don’t know the answer to a question.

If you want me to look uneducated, you can ask me who the seventh President of the United States was, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you on the spot without Google. The only thing I remember about history is that there were a lot of wars.

I graduated from college with honors though, which just adds to the irony of this post.

To me, equality is about having all the choices available, and not being judged for what we decide. Even if that means we fall into the stereotypes. Like it or not, we have expectations based on past experiences.

History has shown it repeats (I remember that much), so part of our perception isn’t wrong. The only way we’ll move forward is to embrace the past.

Let’s not force people to do what they don’t want just because they feel they have to rebel against established practices.

If I had my way, I’d be a mass of contradictions and I’d embrace them all. As much as I love the shadows and have explored their power in fiction, in the real world, shadows hide too much. I don’t want to hide who I am anymore. I don’t want society to decide who that is either.

I don’t want to be less, just because I’m complicated. I don’t want to lose respect, just because I like cheesy movies. I don’t want to act like I have all the answers, just to earn credibility.

If someone tells you they have all the answers, run. None of us do. Why can’t we make that okay? Ironies and contradictions are fascinating. How do we go about remembering that?

We can’t be everything. We can’t be one thing. We should be able to be who we are in peace without having to qualify the parts of us that don’t fit into the boxes.

I don’t fit inside boxes. But then, if I was in a box I’d probably get claustrophobic.

What do you think? Do you have two passions that completely contradict? Do you think we can get to a point where equality equals choice?

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker)