I used to play baseball. With boys. Not softball, but real live spit-infested dust-rising hardball where I was the only girl on the team. And I was good, for a little while anyway.
It always got weird when I was pitching. The teams I played against were intimidated by the fact that a girl was on the mound, and I enjoyed watching them squirm. They always looked at me funny right before the ball left my hand, as if to say "ok, please don't embarass me, just this once."
But this one particular night, I was getting no respect. When they approached the plate, they tapped the white dust with their bats, adjusted their jockstraps excessively, and looked at me with that rapist gaze that made me want to shove that bat up their asses and up into the sky. Maybe it was the ponytail that was pissing them off.
But something about the look in their eyes made me snap. One by one I stared them down, adjusted my hair, and struck them out with a grace unparalleled in the entire city. For that one inning, I was a goddess.
When I came off the field, my mother asked what had gotten into me. I said, simply, "I got mad. When I get mad I throw harder."
I miss that part of me, that little girl that was not afraid to stare the boys down on their own field and strike them out one by one. I find myself shying away from these battles more and more, and it scares me. Perhaps this is a part of becoming a woman. But I don't like it. I prefer the dust, and the smell of a strike as it lands with a sharp thud.
I pick my battles now, but they are still hard-fought. If you piss me off at the right moment, I will throw harder. And I will enjoy it.