Sugar and spice and everything nice.

When I was a little girl, there were so many things I was taught about how females were to be. I remember being taught a poem, which described how girls were to be:

Sugar and spice
and everything nice
that's what little girls are made of

Sunshine and rainbows
and ribbons for hair bows
that's what little girls are made of

Tea parties, laces
and baby doll faces
that's what little girls are made of

It left me with the belief that this is how girls were to be sweet, kind, smiling, innocent, and feminine.

On the contrary, the rules for boys were quite different. 

What are little boys made of?

Frogs and snails

And puppy-dogs' tails,

That's what little boys are made of.

There was no reference to them being anything girls were to be. There was no mention of how they were to be emotionally, or of how they were to look. There was no mention of what their demeanor should be like or their engaging in activities that tended to occur inside the house.

For a good part of my life, I believed them because not acting as if I believed them caused me to be punished and I did not want to be punished. I remembered one time I was out playing with the boys in the neighborhood, running around and having a good time. I ran into a fence and cut my head open. I didn’t even realize I was hurt until my mother saw blood coming down my face. After she stopped the bleeding and cleansed the wound, I was punished for not behaving like a girl. Running around playing with the boys was not sugar, spice, and everything nice. I was taught girls should be passive. I was to learn how to cook, sew, crochet, and learn to do all the things I would need to know how to do as an adult woman. I was not to sweat or perspire, as girls did not do that. I was also not to get dirty unless I was working in the flowerbeds. It seemed flower gardening was viewed as a female thing, but vegetable and fruit gardening was a male thing. Although as a girl, I was allowed to pick from both gardens. I was also taught that girls could be friends with girls, however, at some point in time I would settle down with a man who would sweep me off my feet and we would live happily ever after.

I am not quite sure when I stopped believing all these things. However, over the course of my life I have come to redefine what it means to be a woman. Now I believe that whether I am male or female, the rules for living my life are the same. Be loving in all that I do, think, and speak. Be present for people and honor them through the sacred act of listening. I believe that I should be the best person I should be at all times. I believe that love is love and that love has no respect for race, class, sex, or ability.

At the same time, I realize many people still have a different set of beliefs for what is male and what is female. However, what they believe is about them. What I believe is about me. It is nice to know that I no longer need to wear bows in my hair as most times my head is now shaved or my hair is cut very short. I no longer host tea parties, although I do enjoy having friends over. I enjoy cooking, but not because I am female. Rather it is because I love cooking, it is a spiritual practice for me. I no longer have to wait for prince charming to come and sweep me off my feet, because Saint Zoë came into my life 10 years ago and we have been living happily ever after since she came into my life. It has taken me a while to examine these beliefs and come to be at peace with who I am and who the Infinite created me to be. However, I have learned there is a peace that surpasses understanding when one is who one is and not who others would like them to be.