“Free To Be Me”

I can be what I want to be. I can do what I want to do. I can do all the things I want and nothing or nobody can stop me. These are the words I tell myself whenever something hinders me from being me…from being the woman I want to be. So what if some women decided to wear those baggy jeans and loose shirts as men do and be a truck driver, a mechanic, a porter, an electrician, or an engineer. I’m satisfied with skirts and fitting blouses.

We belong now in a generation where a lot of things have changed. Women have crossed over to the men’s world, so as men to the women’s world. People these days don’t think household chores are for women and careers are for men. It is not shocking to see a woman in the business world as the boss or in the sports world lifting 300-lb. weights. The tendency now is for people to think highly of those women who have conquered the men’s world and to belittle the women who remain the women as they are.

Have you ever felt belittled by a woman just because you act and dress like a woman? The “in thing” now is to be like a man. I once bumped into an old friend and got a chance to chat with her for a short time for she was in a hurry for a basketball game. The short conversation was lively; she talked about her addiction to basketball and other sports. I was open on how and what she is, but the painful part was her parting words: “Girl kaayu gihapun ka pagrubber shoes pud usahay. I wanted to invite you to the game but I think you won’t enjoy it. You don’t even have a clue on what basketball is.” Then she left. I could have stabbed her in the back! What does she think of me, a brainless chick who doesn’t know what basketball is?

I’m proud to say that I’m a “woman woman” even though I don’t aspire to play basketball or fix car engines or be a pilot. I can excel in other fields but not on those kinds of stuffs. I have little interest in doing what the men usually do and I know I’m not alone on what I feel on this. Just imagine getting your hands dirty with your father’s tools not to mention cracking a nail or two which would already be oily black covering the pink polish of your nail, or having some purplish maroon bruises all over your “Vaseline” cared skin with a game of basketball with your brother.

It is the way I was brought up. As a child, I play with Barbie dolls, tea sets, cooking sets, and play “Balay-Balay.” My brother and sisters would go chasing around with our neighbors. They climbed tall trees, explored the village bushes, and jumped over fences. But me, I chose to stay with “yaya” braiding my hair decorating it with cute colorful little clips.

It is what I grew up to be. I have acquired that characteristic of being a girly girl. It’s who I am. So what if they’ll say you’re just the typical “mahinhin” Filipina woman and not the modern, outgoing, liberated, and strong one. Leave us alone. Don’t try to put us down if we don’t want to be like a man.

If a woman doesn’t do what men usually do, it doesn’t mean that she is a lesser woman. As I’ve said I can do what ever I want. If I want to be the kind of woman that most people stereotype, it’s up to me. Nobody or nothing can stop me. If they want to be in a man’s shoe, they can.

Most people these days are expecting women to be like men. What if I refuse to do so? Are they going to look down on me for being the that women I am? Don’t they realize that they are creating another stereotype?