The Cheerleader and the Feminist: my two alter egos. Funny enough, they are opposites.
Let's start with her, she is easier to describe. Every day she gets up and thinks about her boyfriend. When she wakes in the morning she sends as much love as she can muster in his direction and before she goes to bed each night she kisses the stuffed bear he bought her, affectionately named CPOF. For those of you who know what CPOF is, do not laugh at my bear's name. I thought it sounded cute! For those of you who don't know, CPOF is the name of a military training class.
The Cheerleader bakes constantly to keep herself busy (and curb the chocolate cravings) and sews stuffed animals made of patriotic fabrics to send to her soldier. When she talks to Greg on skype, she smiles constantly, never lets him see her cry-though she does constantly when he's not looking-and reminds him 'I love you, I miss you, I'm proud of you' like an ipod on repeat.
The Cheerleader keeps Skype on all night and wakes up to every message she gets to her phone because she has it programmed to ring loud for every notification (even emails, and yes I get the coupon emails at 4am!) just IN CASE he calls. She misses her boyfriend fervently and would stay home staring at the computer screen all day if I would let her, just counting the minutes until she gets to see his face.
The Cheerleader is so named because she does everything she can to support her soldier from the sidelines, rooting him on and never wavering. She goes out of her way to be there, so much so that it would interfere with living her life if she were ever allowed to take full control.
Thank goodness the Cheerleader never is.
The Feminist loves her boyfriend too and misses him terribly. But she refuses to stop moving just because he isn't here. She loves him dearly but she doesn't pine for him like the Cheerleader does and his absence has not sent her spiraling into a black hole of domestic-ism. She is strong, independent and in constant motion. She hikes, goes to yoga, writes, kick boxes, gets angry about the degradation and sexualization of women EVERYWHERE and has the overwhelming, ever-nagging urge to change the world and just help SOMEONE!
The Feminist volunteers at every organization she can, overbooks her schedule until she doesn't have time to sleep and generally runs herself into the ground trying to make our world a better place. She reads every book she can, all written by strong women of course, and uses her hectic agenda to keep her mind from even broaching the sadness of missing her boyfriend. As The Feminist would tell you, " I am an independent woman; I love my boyfriend but I DO NOT need a man to make me happy. I can do that all on my own, thank you!"
The Feminist gets angry about the local radio station's "Hottest Intern Contest" where the interns (all female) take sexy pictures to post online and compete for listener votes to see who is hottest. And they call this an ACADEMIC internship, I DON'T THINK SO! The Feminist reads blogs like Feministing.com and adores the movie MissRepresentation (which, by the way, Rational Melissa also loves and highly recommends you see, no matter what your gender! It was on Oprah!). The Feminist, if given full control, would run Melissa into the ground trying to change the world and would never have any time to talk to Greg.
The Feminist is also never allowed full control.
Rational Melissa moderates between my two egos who have been duking it out for 23 years now. And although the scales tip slightly one way or the other from time to time, they have pretty much stayed in balance and lived harmoniously as best frenemies for the greater portion of my life.
So, my two egos are currently locked in the battle royal of their lifetime and I am stuck here, Rational Melissa, just trying to moderate the fight and do as much yoga as I can to rebalance my delicate scale that has now totally collapsed.
The worst part is, I don't want to moderate anymore, I want to give in to all of it. I want to cry with The Cheerleader and volunteer with The Feminist. I want to crawl into my kitchen to cook and sew but I also want to get out of the house and hike and punch the boxing bag and write fiery articles about gender socialization and strong women breaking the glass ceiling. Unfortunately, there just aren't enough hours in the day and I just cannot seem to find a happy medium that will please both girls and make myself happy at the same time.
So here I am, navigating the road of cake mix and sneakers and books just trying to figure out which direction is forward. I know I will figure it out.
Until then, readers, you will just have to suffer through flip flopping posts that alternate between Cheerleader crocodile tears and Feminist rants. Sorry!
I hope you stick it out. I know I will.