Sometimes, I'm angry at God for making me a girl.
Don't freak out. I love dressing up, baking cupcakes, painting my fingernails, and watching handsome sensitive musicians with my fingers crossed. I am not a complete girly-girl -- not many of my clothes are pink -- but to be honest, I am a pretty feminine gal for the most part. I know how to work my smile and I know how to communicate through eyes with other surrounding females about what's going on, since they are the only other ones who understand how this works.
I love eye language, by the way. Nothing is funnier than two girls shredding some poor, clueless soul to pieces right in front of his face, all with a look and maybe some eyebrow manipulation.
These aspects of being a girl are great. I even love being allowed to expect people to do things for me. It's awful, but it's true. Having doors opened for me and occasional things paid for makes half of every month worth it (PMS is just as bad as the actual event, in my opinion). Despite how often I try to do things myself, there is still something cute going on in books and movies with a damsel in distress.
I love being protected and treated like something in a museum: beautiful, priceless, and classic.
The world, unfortunately, doesn't always demonstrate this kind of treatment, though, as shown yesterday. A man went into a gym in Pennsylvania, turned off the lights in an aerobic class, and opened fire, killing at least 3 people. He knew it would be full of women. He was bitter that he didn't think he would ever be loved by anyone, and took it out on women he didn't know.
If this isn't sick and depressing enough, this is only the tip of the iceberg when I think about all the things that women endure that is not fair. It sickens me that I have friends who were raped, friends with eating disorders, friends who were abused. This happens to both male and female individuals, but the statistics lean towards the latter bearing most of the weight. And the U.S. is a paradise compared to what women face in other countries. Having read A Thousand Splendid Suns, I have an entirely new perspective and burden for women in any culture where they are seen as property and where the law is not really concerned with their well-being.
One night, I dropped to my knees and cried, thanking God that I was born in a country where I am mostly treated like an equal. I can go to college, my parents love me, my dad doesn't hurt me or my mother, I can trust people around me to help if someone tried to hurt me, and I don't have to get married when I'm 15 and I can choose who my husband will be when the time comes. I hate that not every girl on this planet will be as lucky as I am, but I'd be a fool not to be grateful for what I have.
Yet, I'm still kind of terrified sometimes. A little over a month ago, two guys followed me while I was driving until I make a good maneuver to get away. I've been approached and called at late at night on campus, when I was too stubborn to accept the offer of some of my guy friends to walk me back to my building (I'm an idiot -- he's cute too). I have 3 years left at an institution every young American knows is famous for parties, spiked drinks, date rape, and variety of other things. Some of my friends live in an apartment together where there was a police impersonator banging on their door.
I don't know what happened to me in this lifetime to make me so wary and untrusting, but I guess it's better to be a little overly cautious than overly ignorant, right?
Having all this in mind has wired me to put walls up a lot of the time. In reference to yesterday's little rant-fest, I think one of the reasons that ticked me off so much is because I could never trust someone else to provide for me and make me happy. The idea of working gives me a place to be where I can ensure my own success and fulfillment. Because no one is perfect, I am not planning on recanting this view in the near future, or ever. But I wonder how other women, who dream about staying at home for a living, can even begin to have the faith it takes to believe that another person can be selfless enough to put your happiness first, when you are already such a useful servant to him around the house. All I can imagine is being used like a maid, a cook, and a courtesan, and not being loved enough to have my needs put first. After all, his needs look like the only ones that matter in this relationship to me. Am I crazy?
It's really a bit early for me to even begin being concerned about all this, especially because I know myself well enough to be sure that I wouldn't even consider being with someone who didn't let me have a say in anything. My mouth and my pride are both far too great to suffer such injustices. The very idea of all this, though, drives me nuts at night. When I start beginning to be upset about something, the first thing I do is go and yell at God.
Why would He let things be this way? Why would He want me to be too weak to really fend off people who could want to hurt me? Why would He let millions of women around the world suffer what they do, and let me be one of the very few who are okay? Will I be okay forever?
This all comes with a presupposition: that God wants all of these things because they are happening. I didn't want to believe this, but how could a good God let this happen?
Well, when I think about it, it's no different than God letting people die. Which has to happen. People blame Him for letting that happen, or letting disease or accidents happen, when everyone is going to die eventually. When that happens, I feel sad, but I tell myself that I believe it was part of His plan to let that happen. While He didn't make it happen, He let it happen. And people get mad at Him for not putting them into millionaire families so that they can have everything they want. I will sit there and talk about how those people are greedy and they should be thankful for what they have.
So I judge other people doing the same thing I do, telling them in my head that it's a part of God's plan and that He will use bad things for good, and that they should be thankful for what God has given them in this lifetime, because it's not all bad.
And all this came before I even read some scriptures that totally go against the very notion that God would ever love His daughters less than His sons. Isaiah 62 describes Jerusalem in a feminine way, and just hear the way she is described:
"For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet,
till her righteousness shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch.
The nations will see your righteousness,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD's hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the LORD will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
As a young man marries a maiden,
so will your sons marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you."
Isaiah 62: 1-5
He will make us bright with righteousness, and see us as shining crowns, and delight in us. He will rejoice over us like a husband over his wife. Not only does that insinuate that we are meant to be treated by other men in such a way, but it insinuates that God does. His divine mandates concern love, and He expects love to be shown to His children, because He is love and designed us to be the same. He designed us to crave it and want it and sometimes, we will do things we shouldn't to become convinced that we have it -- girls in particular. He gives it freely and made the whole idea of relationships on earth based on the reciprocation of it, too.
Song of Solomon is a huge, epic love poem, which God reveals to us as an example of what love really is. It's super mushy and kind of ridiculous at times, it sounds, but the two lovers go on and on about how beautiful and cherished the other is, and tells everyone else about how they need to look for someone as great as this.
"You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace." Song of Solomon 4:9
God designed every little detail of the way you look, and did it for a reason. No matter what you think of yourself, He's nuts about you. It might be easy to read how God sees all people as equally valuable and not believe it when you look at the world around you, but you have to go back and read the true character of God when you're in doubt. It becomes plain as day.
The funny thing about this book of the Bible is that the very woman Solomon (or whoever) is addressing here is not very secure in herself either! She describes how she thinks her skin is dark and rough because of working outside because her brothers forced her to. She doesn't think she's fit to be seen around him. Which is, uh, exactly what I do all the time. I feel like I'm not worthy of other people or the Lord because of all the crap that I see going on around the world that would convince me that I'm not special or valuable. He's saying no, no, look at this! Look at what's written in this little book that you keep around!
I love you!
I'm bound to keep doubting this, keep acting like it's not true, and keep blaming God for crap; it's just what I do. I hope though that I'll be quicker at abating these stupid thoughts in the future.
I think that's kind of the story of the life of someone who is chasing Christ. We are not perfect, and we won't be on this earth, but we will get better at finding the right path and getting there faster after screwing up.
I just can't keep forgetting that everything about the story of a Christ-follower is as true for me as it is to Brother Joe over there.