Move over Shining Twins! Meet my youngest daughter. One minute she is the life of the party and the next, well, as her aunt says “you really will learn the meaning of ‘if looks could kill’.” I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but my daughter can get downright creepy. And I love, absolutely love her creepiness.
One of the first days I began to notice how different she was, was at dance class. Girls at the age of 3 and 4 bounded in on the first day of class. Hugs were exchanged making friendships where only seconds ago strangers had existed. My daughter sat against the wall. Another girl noticed her sitting alone and ran up to sit down beside her. She reached over and gave her a generous bear hug. My daughter unattached herself from the girl, slid down the wall a few feet, crossed her arms over herself, and shot her that look. I realized that my younger daughter was very different from her older sister.
She isn’t always creepy though. She will work her way through a day, turning everything into a unique song and as Miss Laura says, “It’s like all of a sudden you start hearing sound effects that are narrating a story going on in her head. And her songs – She sings about anything. Everything. Weird things.” Yes, like the other night, after listening to a somewhat kid friendly version of Henry VIII, she ran about singing, “Happy Head Day to you. Chop! Chop! Happy Head Day to you. Chop! Chop!” Typically there is a song pelting through this little 6 year old. And, sometimes, that pelt is accompanied by distinct “Liza Minnelli” strength vocals. But, it is always her own song – her own words. She writes her own material. After all, as she told me one day, “I made up a theme song for it. Everything goes better with a theme song.”
Overall, she is a serious and responsible child who is not afraid to speak her mind, even if what is on her mind is random and weird. She asks hard questions, doesn’t back down from what she wants or what she thinks she should do. She solves problems in unique ways and carries out solutions quickly. She may not be carefree and giggly but she is smart, sassy, and funny. She has a wicked little sense of humor that is impossible to ignore.
And that is really the crux of who she is. It is not creepiness, it is difference. For all our talk about being accepting and diverse in this culture, we still seem to slide towards conformity. We accept diversity as long as it fits into a set of preconceived characteristics that people should have. And well, little girls are still to be cute and sweet. It is okay to be a tomboy, but creepy, weird – no – that is out of the question. So much so that the strange and introverted little girl who says exactly what is on her mind is a common device used in horror films. Really, it is the girl who will not conform, who is unique that finds her way into scary stories everywhere.
However, by equating what makes us unique with “creepy” or “frightening” it seems we are sending a message to our girls that to conform is correct. That is how you play it safe. I fear that this drive toward conformity will have disastrous affects on all of our girls. Look at our images of beauty. Now it is not enough to enhance your chest, you also need to alter your butt.
Recently, in this clip posted on upworthy, people of all ages were asked what they would want to change about their bodies. The adults all quickly came up with what was wrong with them – the kids, well, they asked for things like mermaid tales and wings. The adult responses represented a message of deficiency, of not being perfect as you are. The kids see the question as an opportunity to give flight to their dreams and to further possibility. They are not lacking, change should occur to make yourself better – and it is a unique personal change. It is not based out of a societal notion of what makes a person beautiful; it is based out of the child’s notion of what makes him or her unique.
This brings me to a little ear. My creepy little girl has a little pointed ear. Only one pointed ear – the other is rounded and “ordinary.” We call the special ear the “fairy” or “fae” ear, evidence that points to some otherworldly hand in her creation. Sometimes it is the elven ear and most recently, she watched Star Trek and ran about the house for 30 minutes singing songs about her now prized “Vulcan” ear. I love that ear. That ear is like a physical stamp, a physical manifestation of a little creepy girl who refuses to conform.
According to research, we supposedly find the most beauty in things that are in balance. Faces are supposed to be symmetrical and within correct proportional ranges (http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/02/health/mental-health/beauty-brain-research/). I however, find such a raw beauty in my “creepy” asymmetrical girl. I don’t ever want to have her hide that unique self. I never want to hear her say, “I wish my pointed ear looked like my other one.”
I want my girls both to wholeheartedly believe that they are perfectly made, beautiful, and unique. I want little girls everywhere to “get their creep on.” And, I want us to laugh and revel in the mystery that each individual soul carries out into the world.