I watched Bohemian Rhapsody with a good friend a few weeks ago (10/10 recommend; we stopped trying to pretend we weren’t crying halfway through). The first chance I got to listen to the soundtrack happened a few days ago, and I finished it today on the way to work. After it finished, it reminded me of another classic album, so I switched to Abbey Road by The Beatles. As the first song played, I couldn’t help but smile as it reminded me of a time a few years ago where I listened to it almost obsessively.
It makes me laugh to think that the reason why I listened to it obsessively is because of a guy. Sure, I liked the album, but I wouldn’t have listened to it half as much if this guy hadn’t raved about it. I also knew it was a Quality album because duh.
For a while, it gave me a sort of haughty air – a snobbish attitude to accompany the ability to tell people that I’d listened to Abbey Road and knew the lyrics to such classic songs. Sure, I listened to Taylor Swift and even some Katy Perry, but that didn’t give me as much street cred as “Octopus’s Garden” and “Oh, Darling.”
It definitely occurred to me that I was falling prey to the whole “I’m not like other girls” mentality – the idea that you should distance yourself from the stereotypical Basic White Girl. (And I’ve already talked about this, so I won’t get into it even though I want to.)
However, I didn’t lean into this idea as much as a girl my age should’ve (and probably would have, by the time she was eighteen). I didn’t do it because, solely due to my unique upbringing, I already knew I wasn’t like other girls.
And all I wanted was to blend in – to be like these Other Girls that girls on Tumblr try so hard to distance themselves from.
I was reminded of this again today when I read a Facebook post that was making the rounds. (I helped it along by reposting, obviously.) In it, the author presents a case for looking a little deeper into the church body instead of making assumptions. She talked about girls who were held hostage at home, who taught piano lessons to contribute to the family bank account, and who were told that their feelings don’t matter, all in the name of “Biblical womanhood.”
While this wasn’t entirely my experience, it rang true enough that it got me thinking. Thinking about those days when I went to Bible study, knowing full that I didn’t want my dad to know if a guy was interested in me before I did. Days when I put on a skirt for church and knew I wouldn’t be able to play football with the guys afterwards. Days when I wished I could have some semblance of a “normal” teenage life, instead of the conservative, Duggar-esque one I’d somehow stumbled into.
Of course, I couldn’t voice any of those feelings aloud. So I kept them to myself, hoping that maybe, hopefully, someday I could figure out how to escape.
When it was all said and done, it wasn’t as much as an escape as it was a simple growing out of the mindset. And I’m still growing, praise God.
In the years since, I’ve learned how to heal and find healthy ways to express myself without the confines of church-imposed rules and regulations while still holding to what was good about my upbringing. Because of this, I don’t have any regrets about how I grew up. How could I, knowing that it shaped me into who I am today and gave me the empathy to help people who are still stuck in that destructive mindset?
Today, I wore black skinny jeans and a cute business jacket to go along with my new cute, short haircut (that in and of itself being the first of my outward “rebellions” a few years ago against the cultish church that dragged me down). I know I look more like those Other Girls than the awkward, skirt-wearing teen I was only a few years ago, and I couldn’t be happier.