Anything but Pink: Being okay with being girly!
Let's be honest, fashion is not my strongpoint. I can only blame myself for this. I have had a fear of being too girly probably since the day I was born. This has led to some pretty interesting ensembles over the years, not to mention it has always done a weird number on my understanding of my own femininity. How does this relate to me as a cyclist? It's a big part of my sense of self, and therefore my confidence.
In high school, I used to do a double take when I'd see a girl looking too girly playing a sport. I almost didn't take her seriously. And if a black girl was rocking a head wrap to track practice, or rockin 2 inch long finger nails on the field hockey field, I definitely didn't believe they were "serious" about the sport. Two things. First, who even cares? High school me was such a butthurt emo hater. Second, every last one of those girls were stronger and faster than I was, so my stupid opinions didn't matter. At least I was smart enough to keep them to myself.
Regardless, I think part of me was always a bit jealous they could be so fierce all the while still being in touch with their feminine side. This is something I'm still struggling with. I'll be 28 in two weeks and still I feel shy about asking where the finger nail polish aisle is at Duane Reade.
I didn't even start wearing girl pants until midway through high school. My mom would have to practically force me into a dress, and if you even came near me with something pink, you'd get the side eye of the century. I'm a girl, I know i'm a girl, i've never thought I was a boy, or wanted to be a boy. If I did actually want to be a boy, puberty might have been a lot less confusing. Although, I doubt that.
Back to the point, somewhere along my path to being a badass athlete, I decided that playing sports wasn't for girly girls. Girls who liked pink, and painted their fingernails, and primped their hair. Where in the world did that come from? And are there other little girls that feel the same way?
All those years drinking haterade made me miss out on what I assume are the sleepovers and ladies nights where it was a safe zone to figure this crap out! I'm just glad after 27.9 years I'm finally ok with being a little bit girly, and being a badass on the bicycle. Who said you can't be both?!
I guess what i'm trying to say here is that if I could tell 4-year-old Ayesha anything, it would be "you don't have to be afraid of being a girl, no one will think less of you if you put on a dress". I wouldn't dare ask her to wear pink tho...