Monday, September 26, 2011

Mistaken Identity

A few years ago I had short hair. I loved my little hair cut: it was sleek, sexy, had some edge and said Paris fashion all over it. Not only was it short, but it was also bleach blond. So picture this: slender cyclist woman in full cycling kit topped with product-controlled, spiky white. Unbeknown to me, this combination didn't exactly scream Paris fashion! On the contrary: whispers of athletic lesbian lingered in the air. The number of times I was mistaken for a lesbian, winked at by women and fed lesbian pick up lines that year is beyond my comprehension. My hair is long now.
Athletic women excel in a world dominated by male performance. Did you know that there is actually a women's Tour de France? Of course you didn't! Because it is not televised, not advertised and receives no media coverage (and it has not actually run in the last 2 years).. sadly, even if it had, not many people would watch it! Women in sport have had a hard time receiving the recognition they deserve (this is slowly changing). In numerous cases, women in sport are also assumed to be lesbian. I, personally, have found this to be an identity conundrum! As an athlete who has had many years of competition, I had set aside my feminine self in order to access my competitive edge. Perhaps it wasn't the hair cut that people were basing their opinions on, but more so the vibration I was expressing in my intensity as an athlete (although the hair cut probably didn't help)!
In recent years, accessing my femininity has meant exploring the world of make-up, wearing dresses and selectively utilizing my intensity in competitive arenas only. Most recently, my femininity has translated to riding my new commuter in a dress and high heels to meet friends in Yorkville. I am learning that there is an air of grace and beauty about a woman dressed to kill, riding a bike with a basket filled with baguette and a bottle of wine. The important thing to take from this experience is that we all need to come to a place of awareness around what sexy means for us and how to access that feeling: whether it's on a bike, listening to your favorite music or wearing lacy underwear beneath your workout clothes! Whatever it is, we all need to know how we can feel sexy. After all, when you're feeling your sexy self, the world is simply a better place!

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