All my life I have been a bit of a tomboy.
When I was younger we had horses and dogs and my Dad lived on a small holding with goats and chickens. At the age of 14 my hobby was shooting (targets I hasten to add and not fluffy live things), which was very much a male-dominated sport at the time, and at 16 I went to agricultural college. The girls were seriously outnumbered there - just 8 of us out of a total of 70-odd students and we were all the same. We had to be rough and tough to survive. My early career was spent working on dairy farms milking cows, tending sheep, calves and other animals. Feminine attire was just not something I even thought of wearing.
Throughout my twenties and thirties I strove to maintain that tomboy demeanour. When my career progressed and I worked in offices I had no choice but to wear skirts or smart trousers and jackets but I was never entirely comfortable in them and would shuck them off as soon as I got home in favour of jeans or sweatpants. Even my current job doesn't require me to dress up and the uniform is very much jeans, company logo'd poloshirt or sweatshirt, and boots.
I rarely wear make-up because it irritates my skin and styling my hair bores me rigid so I always kept it in a short, wash-and-go, crop.
I always wanted to be just one of the boys and something in my psyche thought that being more feminine would diminish me in some way, that I'd be less of a person in the eyes of "the boys". I think I just didn't want to be labelled as "girlie", I wanted to be taken seriously and that's what I thought would work.
It's taken until now, in my early forties, for me to realise that, actually, it is OK to have long hair and dress up when the occasion calls for it. Wearing a skirt if we go out somewhere for dinner or to a social evening is not going to mean anyone thinks any less of me, in fact, it's just the opposite.
Funny what growing up can do to you isn't it?
Let’s be friends. - Hey. You know how sometimes you feel very alone because so many of the people in your real life are alarmingly normal and never have picnics in cemeteries...