I recently found out I am a mythical being: a unicorn. At least, so I’ve been told by a few men. I am honored they think so, and I’ve been compared to far worse things than unicorns. I would call this a gross exaggeration because unicorns are beautiful, amazing, and incredibly hard to find. I’m, well, I’m just me. And just me is very easy to find.
Other people’s opinions, analysis, thoughts, and descriptions defined who I was; I was hidden so far within myself no one could find me, not even me. It doesn’t help, as girls, we’re programmed to derive our self-worth from others and society and standards created for us. It took me a long time, a lot of self-discovery, and more pain than one person should experience to realize I was tired of never being good enough and not having worth. I am who I am. Sometimes it’s not good enough, but most of the time it is. I’m not like most girls or people, for that matter. I live my life to my own rhythm, and it’s a bit more interesting. Finally, after 23 years of ups and (mostly) downs, I think I have figured out who I am… At least, who I am for now. Who knows, I may be someone else in two months.
I have more guy friends than gal pals. Always have, and probably always will. Men tend to be straightforward and laid back with overall lower expectations; whereas girls are high-strung, catty, and have incredibly high standards but will never say so. Men are a better friend-match because I mean what I say and I don’t like playing games. My guy friends are so valuable that on the off-chance I get married, my bridal party is going to be… modern: two girls and three guys.
I like football, a lot. It’s a recent passion brought on by my vast array of guy friends. Men like football. I was not raised in a football house. I didn’t know the game, but my friends love football and most play/played. In the fall my friend pool diminished significantly. I joined them. They didn’t complain. An extra fan in the stands (which when you go to Cornell, every person counts) and my conditions were amenable: 1) We drink beer 2) I cook on game day for my friends.
I drink beer. Good beer. PBR, Coors, Miller, Budweiser, etc does not pass my lips because my dad raised me better than that. On occasion I thought “sure, why not go with the cheap option” I discovered shit beer makes me vomit. If you’re gonna buy me a beer, make it dark and I mean dark! While we’re on the topic of alcohol, I don’t do fufu. Whiskey. I don’t understand everyone’s problem with tequila. The only thing I can’t stomach is gin. That crap is nasty; who wants to drink junipers? Really, whiskey is my drink of choice; I know what good whiskey is. I also know my alcohol: liquor, beer, and wine, but not mixed drinks. Honestly, I don’t drink often. It’s never really been my thing. If you see me drink, revel in that!
Talking about ingesting: I LOVE cooking. Completely love it. In college I cooked several times a week for four to six people because I love cooking for friends. My apartment had an open door policy, and my friends came in without knocking, plopped on the couch, and raided my fridge, but all at the risk of seeing me sans pants. Within two hours there would be more food for them because I always cooked. And dinner included dessert. It’s impossible to have a good day without dessert. I like my sweets (I had a candy cabinet…).
I own more dresses than one person should. Not because I want to dress up (punny). It’s because I hate wearing pants. HATE. When I get home, the first thing I do is take off my pants sometimes even before my shoes. Though I love heels. “But RaeAnna! You’re already so tall!” Why yes, I am. 5’10” to be exact. Maybe I wear heels because I’m asserting my superiority complex. Maybe it’s because I want to be closer to God. Maybe I want my legs and ass to look amazing. Maybe I’m giving in to the pressures of the patriarchy. Maybe I just like being tall.
I am a classically trained ballerina, pianist, and flautist. I love to write and translate. Learning is the most important thing in my life. I count traveling as learning because that is very important to me. I have been lucky enough to study all around the world. I graduated from Cornell with a triple major in French, Russian, and Literature with an Emphasis in Literary Translation, and I did it in four years. I would love to get at least one master’s and a Ph.D.
I’m also totally fine with my nerdness. I will sit at the bar on a Saturday night drinking a Dr. Pepper reading or writing. Accept my uniqueness, or at least, revel in your awe of my social ineptitudes. Both are fun options. And if you decide to make fun of me, just remember I’m a polyglot. Look it up.
My embarrassment factor is about a zillion and thirty-seven. I don’t get embarrassed, but I embarrass absolutely everyone surrounding me. I am who I am and I don’t care who watches. If I feel like dancing, I will. If I feel like singing, I will. If I’m going to laugh, it’s going to be loud and full and not fake. If I’m going to have fun, it’s going to be with or without you. When I have a crazy idea, I will act on it. If I have a thought or opinion, I will say it. I had to hide who I was and what I believe for too long, I will never be shoved into a box again.
I don’t care what people think of me… At all. To the point that I asked for this picture to be taken and then posted it on Facebook myself (those are my dad’s underwear and it’s my sexy pose; God I’ll be single forever) :
I have no problems being the girl who goes out to dinner by herself or a movie or on a solo vacation. ESPECIALLY vacation. I love having that kind of alone time. When you’re alone you have no one else’s wants or needs to meet, so I get to do anything I want. I think it’s important to be able to take yourself out on a date. If you won’t, who will?
I am fiercely loyal, and once you have my it, you’ll always have it. Even if you abuse it, I will never say a word or do a thing that would affect you negatively in any way. My support will always exist, even if it is quiet or from afar.
I love with everything I am. Once I let you into my heart you will always have a place there. I will do anything for those I love, or really anyone. But if I love you there is nothing I won’t do. You can hurt me and screw me over as many times as you possibly can, but if you need me I will be there.
I have PTSD. I don’t know if it will ever be gone. I don’t know if I will ever have a truly normal day or week or month or year. I know that I will have episodes for the foreseeable future. I know that I am going to have bad days and bad weeks and sometimes bad months. I can’t always hide it. I can’t always act normal. I can’t just talk it out. I can’t just get over it. I can’t just take a pill. And I can’t make it go away. I’ve had years of damage done to my psyche. That can’t always be undone. I can accept it. I can live with it. But I will not let others make me feel small or stupid or less than because of something out of my control. If you don’t understand mental illness then educate yourself. I did.
I never wanted to get married. I never wanted children. I never wanted a picket fence. I’m not saying it won’t happen. But I’ve never wanted those things or felt the need to have them. If I die without ever being a wife or a mother, I will still have led a fulfilling life. I love to work. I find my greatest joy in working and being a productive part of society. I want to cause change in the world. Sharing my story has already allowed me to do that. My hardships have helped prevent many others from enduring a similar fate. You’ll understand the more I write and the more you read. I’m working up to that stuff.
I’m a feminist who fights for equality between genders and equality for all people. I’m a humanist more than anything (even though it’s an outdated term), but I’m not an ethnic minority. I will fight for the minorities, but I can fight hardest for women because I understand our plight.
I grew up Methodist. I know my Bible and I know my religions. I can debate with the best of them, but I stopped believing in God a long time ago. I am jealous of those with faith. I wish I could turn my sorrows over to God, but I just can’t. I can’t make it work logically, and that’s my biggest persuasion. I love that I grew up in the church I did, though. I am who I am because of my church, my church family, and the religious foundation I grew up with. I wouldn’t trade those 19 years for anything.
I don’t cry. Well, I do. You will just never see it. I prefer to cry alone. The few people who see me cry are very, very close to me. I learned how to hide my tears because if no one sees them then no one will ask questions.
I don’t do jealousy. It’s an emotion I have never really understood. I’m loyal and faithful, so there is no reason to be jealous. I understand intellectually that most people experience this emotion, but it has never resonated with me personally. If a girl is hitting on my boyfriend, I’m going to sit in the corner giggling because it’s funny. If anything I will probably encourage her to see how far she’ll take it. I’m not worried he’s going to cheat, and he shouldn’t be worried I will cheat. I have always believed a person’s past is an important part of who they are especially the romantic past. Romantic relationships form us and influence us in huge ways. I don’t understand why people pretend those relationships don’t exist when they enter a new one. Getting jealous of the past is ridiculous. It’s in the past for a reason. Get over it!
I don’t ask for help and I don’t lean on people. I have been self-sufficient for years. No one was there to protect me, so I did. No one paid for my school, so I did. No one caught me when I fell, so I picked myself up. No one helped me find my way, so stumbled until I found my own path. My self-worth comes from my ability to take care of myself in every way. The moment I can no longer do that will be my lowest point.
I don’t think any of these things make me special. I think that in some aspects I’m different from most people. I’m not a unicorn. I’m just me, a very messed up me, but me none the less.