Friday, September 25, 2009

Even Princesses Can Slay Dragons

A discussion between myself and some of the ladies in our church took an interesting direction this past Sunday. One older lady said she had a question that she had wanted to ask me for some time but had not really had an opportunity before. She wanted to know how I ever got started in fencing and collecting/carrying knives. (Apparently that's not a "normal" thing to do.:-)
I had to sort out my answer a moment, " Well... my interest in fencing/swordfighting started when I was a very little girl." I loved watching it in movies and the plastic tent sticks with and X shaped connector for a hilt made the perfect sword(Hannah & Megan know this one). I slayed many imaginary dragons and for a long time never felt a need or desire for a "knight in shining armor", much less a "Prince Charming".
Later when we moved to Montana, the "land of the cowboys", :-) I transitioned quite easily into the cowgirl & horses mode. Though never could really bring myself to be a gunslinger.It was still the sword that captivated me. And when I got an opportunity to learn the sword I (ahem) lunged at it. And have thoroughly enjoyed everything I've done with it the past couple years(despite injuring myself several times).
Explaining all that was the easy part. It was something fun and different that I had an opportunity to do very easily with really no extra expense.
" But what's with the knives?" was her main question. I sat silent a moment trying to formulate my answer. I mean yes, carrying one is okay and can be quite helpful for cutting boxes open and can come in handy in other ways as well. But why 5 or 6? (which is what I typically have on me). It was really just fairly recently that I started getting in to all that, a little over a year ago. And quite honestly I do not have legitimate reason to give for it.
But as I've been thinking about it some of the underlying reasons are 1) a desire to be different. Most girls have a penchant for shoes or jewelry, which I will admit I am not without ( I am female). But I never liked to go with the cultural norm. I guess I'm just a rebel at heart.
And I think for me it's also a way of expressing certain points of my character. Being the tom-boy that I was, I still sometimes struggle with remembering my femininity. When I was 13 I did a total switch-out, still had those "tom-boy" instincts, but felt like I had to repress them. I went from jeans and a t-shirt to flowery skirts with frilly white blouses. And while I did learn to enjoy the more feminine, "girly" things(long skirts, sewing, knitting, baking, etc.) I felt restricted and like I was acting a part, it wasn't actually me. Eventually I started finding a balance, I discovered you could climb trees and build forts while still being a lady. I didn't have to always have teapartys, it was okay to learn how to hunt and go out target shooting. And I transitioned from the frilly, flowery to more long, denim skirts and clean-cut, simple outfits, easily accessorized.
I abandoned the "page-boy" hair cut and now have waist length, curly hair, the envy of my sister Jillian(though I think her's is gorgeous too). I had the joy of walking through Wal-Mart in a floor-length skirt, and my hair down, and heard a little girl say, "Mommy, look! There goes a princess!)
But also being able to stand my ground with the sword, bow and arrow. Still slaying dragons. :-)
I guess I kinda strayed away from the knife thing. I suppose I enjoy carrying them not just because it's different but it is in a small way helping me to say: "Yes, I'm a princesses, and a feminine woman, but I'm also a strong woman, a warrior for Christ, and shieldmaiden of the Lord."