I came into the world on my parents’ hopes that I would be a boy, a girl’s name had not been chosen. There was a brief attempt of baby dresses and dolls, but Tonka trucks, footballs, and the boys soon became my playmates. The subtle destruction of my feminine heart set in motion.
I chased after my dad’s affections at great cost to my longings to feel beautiful, adored, and twirled as a little girl. I was groomed as his tomboy as my only option. I dressed like a boy and was mistaken for a boy.
One day in 6th grade I tried something new. I wanted to feel like a girl so I wore a dress to school. My schoolmates met me with teasing, laughter, and mockery. I never wore a dress to school again. It didn’t fit the image I was expected to carry.
In high school I wore some make-up and got a perm. It helped a little, but it felt like my popularity came for only what I could do. I didn’t feel beautiful and the life inside of me slowly began to disappear.
I carried into college and adulthood the lies of the evil one that I was unworthy as a woman and damaged goods. Jesus found me within these years and I held on to Him in the midst of my chaos, but I continued to hide my face behind the mask of successful professional golfer. It’s what was expected and all I knew.
I didn’t feel feminine nor did I believe I had anything to offer as a woman.
I kept my hair short for over 30 years because my dad liked it that way. For many years I held my desire to grow it long until I finally claimed it was time. I wasn’t teased, laughed at, or mocked by my peers and my soul inhaled hope.
Ambivalence shook me to the core at social gatherings and parties. You know the scene…the women congregate in the kitchen and the men confiscate the living room spreading out on the sofas and chairs positioned for optimal seating space. Where do I belong?
The kitchen is where I longed to be but it felt out of my reach. My safest option led me into the background with the men and I remained not fully present to anyone.
A few years ago I was invited into naming truth about my childhood story of harm. The shame and silence acting like a dam around my heart broke open. Something new stirred within my soul and I started to feel again. Life. Beauty. Worth. I began exhaling the awakening of my femininity.
Opportunities to be in the kitchen have come on many occasions over the last 18 months. Conversations and laughter around the table with Godly women have been an invitation for my heart to risk again. And each time I say yes more life enters my soul.
As I walk through this Advent season anticipating the coming of Jesus, I am thankful for new beginnings and new life. I will also be looking for my place in the kitchen where my presence matters, I have something to offer, and my longings are good.
Tracy Hanson spent 15 seasons on the Ladies Professional Golf Tour. She is on a journey of embracing her beauty and living more deeply from her heart, and hopes to continue to share her story through full time ministry. Her hobbies include facilitating trips to the Holy Land, riding her motorcycle, the outdoors, and running. She also writes a monthly golf devotional on her website.