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Saturday, September 17, 2005

I'm just a girl

Last night I was watching "Rescue Me", once described by a co-worker of mine as a "soap opera for guys". It's basically about a firehouse and the firefighters assigned to it and their lives, most of which are not very...uh...moral. Much strong language, sexual content, etc.

I confess I still enjoy the show although the language makes me cringe. I'm not quite a saint, I guess. The good news is that the stuff on that show did not make me cringe in the past.

Anyway, there was a woman on the show and last night's episode bared her inner conflict: She said (paraphrasing) "When I was a little girl I told my dad I wanted to be a firefighter, and he told me, 'You can't do that! You're a girl!' And I told all my friends and family, and they all said, 'You can't do that, you're a girl!' And I told my boyfriends, and they told me, 'You can't do that, you're a girl!' And then I went to training, and they guys all said, 'Get out of here B***, you don't belong here, you're a girl!'" Here she wiped away tears. She talked about the job since her debut at the station and her mistakes, and went on, discussing her self-discovery, "....and so I've come all this way and went through all that just to find out that...I'm a girl."

Boy, can I relate. I feel the same way and I think this character and I share some similarities in our stories. Whereas I did not do what she did such as getting involve with a member of her crew, and I did not face the outright hatred of my gender as she did, I did experience some of the sentiments expressed against her. I actually had a male friend tell me, when I first expressed the inklings of desire to become a firefighter, "Why would you do that? You don't have a reason to."

Happily, I had other support from friends, family, and my boyfriend who was my biggest cheerleader. And when I was hired and went through training, some of the guys became my best friends and went out of their way to help in areas where I struggled.

But in law enforcement it was different...women were ostracized, to an extent. And I put up a front, I was "gung-ho", and I worked hard to prove that I could do the job...and I excelled. My instructors respected me and my opinions. Wheras I was a feminist to a degree, I was never a rabid feminist, and their unbalanced responses to the oddest things educated me.

And so I traveled through my various "manly" careers and even now I work in a field often dominated by men. And through all my travels, all my trials, all my time trying to prove I wasn't just a girl, I have come to realize that...I am just a girl.

And I wake up and praise God every day that I am just a girl, and I pray that as I continue to mature through old-maidhood and find my Vocation, that one day, I will not be "just a girl", but rather, the woman God always intended me to be.

How 'bout you? What's your story?


Jman said...

I was once of the mindset that men and women were all just the same. The seeds of that changed happened when I took a women's litature class and the instructer who was a bit of a feminist herself didn't really agree. Then as I started to come back home to the Church it really dawned on me, it is true that men and women have the same dignity and there are many things they can do the same, there really are differances.

There really seems a big differance, for one it means that one cannot wholly rely on oneself. Even if your single that means that you can either give yourself to Jesus or the Church to help fill that need. Married or single or taking vows, it all takes a lot of faith.

But no, you'll never be just a girl. Even in your 'old maidhood' you are still a woman of God, bringing your maternity in a different way, and carrying your own crosses. What does that mean? Thats between Jesus and you.

Tim said...

Well, I am just a boy searching for his way home to a loving God.