Girls (Plus Facepalm)

2:36 AM

Do you ever regret being a girl?

I feel like that today.

Not because I feel oppressed or got bored with a conversation about fashion and new recipes or want to do something typically associated with boys or think I'm obligated to take up crocheting. It's just that girls -- of which I most certainly am one -- seem so impossibly out-of-control and ridiculous and needy and problematic.

I read somewhere that guys compartmentalize things: this hurt goes on that shelf and doesn't touch this happiness or fire off that problem. They're not obtuse; they're just wired to keep the rest of the lights on when one light gets smashed. Not so with girls. We're wired so that if one light gets smashed, all the other ones go out with a bang. (1) When the slightest thing hurts us, we shut down or blow up. The world has ended and everything's wrong and the zombies are upon us.

This bugs me beyond belief. My ability to sleep runs along the same circuit as my emotions. If I'm upset, I'm up all night, all morning, no matter how tired I am. My daddy tells me to shut off my brain, but girls don't work like that. We can't shut off the pain to deal with another pressing problem (like badly needing sleep). The pain floods everything, ruins everything.

I often feel like a failure and a burden because of this. I've learned to dam up the feelings so that they don't spill over into other people's lives, but as much as I bail out my soul or try to contain the raging floodwaters, I can't stop the initial feeling of ugliness seeping everywhere.

If I lived alone in my own world, this wouldn't be such a problem: I could scream at the wall or soak my pillow with tears or talk to the mirror until I figured out what's wrong, and nobody would be hurt or annoyed. Problem solved. I can't do that normally: screaming is not acceptable social behavior, tears make people uncomfortable, and nobody really wants to hear me talk through every single one of my problems. Even the people who love me.

It frustrates me, that my needs seem -- are -- so needy. I can't help needing affirmation over and over again. I can't help feeling like everything's falling apart when I'm hurt. I can't help wanting to talk things out until they make sense to my scattered brain. I know just as much as the unfortunate friend who comes upon me in my time of sadness and despair how ridiculous and exasperating I am. I know I don't make sense. I know it's not objectively a big deal.

Trust me, I'd be perfect if I could.

I feel even worse because girls get a bad rap for being super emotional and hard to deal with. We're the ones who bring up problems and make a big deal out of things. We always want to talk. We always have something on our minds. We always read into things. We ask annoying questions, we won't drop a subject, we let our emotions blind us. And this is all true. I know I talk too much and feel bad too often and possess an insatiable appetite for attention. I haven't figured out how to separate what's a girl's actual need and what's sin, because, to be honest, I feel like everything normal and natural about me is a wreck.

That's one reason I love my Savior. I love how God is neither male nor female nor purely human: He doesn't misunderstand my intentions. He created me to want love. He wants to hear me talk things through; He wants me to share my burdens with Him; He doesn't get offended or exasperated that I feel like a mess, as long as I'm willing to surrender those feelings to Him and go away full of joy. He's patient. He's gentle. He knows.

(As a slight side note, I wonder if this neediness accounts for the fact that so many more women than men seem to have deeper, more relational walks with Christ. Girls can't compartmentalize their needs: if they feel needy in one area, they feel totally helpless and needy. And since men and friends and distractions cannot keep up with that appetite, women turn to the answer and solution to everything: God. They feel the need more. This is, of course, a generalization, but Scripture makes it clear that a closer walk with God stems from deep need -- hence the poor, brokenhearted, empty and persecuted depend on Him and love Him deeper.)

I know I've written about this before, but it's just something on my heart -- how understanding and relational God is, how He doesn't poke fun at me being a girl, how He cherishes the thoughts and feelings of all His daughters, how He created me this way so that I could dig into Him deeper and be sensitive to others.

Sometimes it's rough being a girl, but it's never rough being His daughter.

(1) From Love & Respect, by Emmerson Eggerichs. Fantastic read.

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4 impressions

  1. bailey!! i love this. this is so true. i deal with it in my own life. and i love the way you put it into words. keep reaching more into Christ cuz he's the only one who can completely fill!!

  2. did I write this or something? it's like we're the same person (or you just articulate my feelings so well because you're such a freaking amazing writer).

  3. Great thoughts Bailey! I'm so glad you're writing again.

    I wouldn't be so sure, though, that this is a girl/boy thing. My husband is just like you! If somethings upset him, he'll be sleepless, and totally focused on that ONE THING. Its exhausting for me. Also, don't forget that what at first seems weakness (emotional reactions, expression, "neediness") often becomes strength.

    Women become "emotionally literate" quicker than men - whether it is socialized or biological, i don't know. This means we usually know or at least can figure out why we feel something quicker than most men. We empathize easier, and even, yes, control ourselves better when it comes to the "breaking point".

    If you've ever seen a man truly reach his "breaking point" you know what I mean! 0.o

    Anyhow, God bless!

  4. I have definitely had thoughts along these lines more than a time or two, and my daughter has as well. When I start to feel this way I remind myself of a couple things: 1. Women can give birth. That amazing miraculous ability makes up for pretty much any perceived disadvantage or weakness I think. 2. The neediness that seems like such a flaw can become a positive in a relationship (as long as it's not excessive of course). Men, or my man at least, wants, and yes needs, me to need him.



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