6.18.2010

The Other Tomboy

I remember as a kid being called a tomboy. It wasn't a good thing. I was made to believe that being a tomboy was something to be ashamed of (see the earlier post Found: One Butch Roadmap) and I think that maybe there was a grown up conspiracy to keep the implications of what tomboy might really mean a secret. When I was acting particularly "boyish" my mom would refer to me jokingly as her son: I wish I could remember that.

I have been digging around in my memory for specific moments when I thought about gender; when did it become something I understood? I have been trying to unearth all the times I thought about my body, my girlness or boyness, for incidents and times when I was aware of feeling awkward or empowered by my perception of myself. Looking back, I remember knowing there were other kids like me, other tomboys but even though we might have shared an interest in soccer, science, camping, or star trek, there was still something different about me. The other tomboys had long hair and still retained all the things that made them girls: fear of wet slimy things, dresses, being pretty, and a desire to bond with other females. Other tomboys outgrew their masculinity shedding it like a chrysalis and emerging as beautiful confident young women; my masculinity grew deep roots and formed thick fleshy tubers underground.

All through school I tried to ignore my inner tomboy and my frustrated butch. The results were disastrous. I will tell you all about the trials of jr. high and highschool in other posts. My point is that hiding your true self is never a good thing and no matter how hard you think it will be to live as yourself, I promise you it will be a thousand times harder trying to live as someone else. Tomboys and butches are tenacious, confident, intelligent and passionate but we are also very sensitive. And while we might appear to be aggressive, egotistical, and loud on the outside we have hearts that bruise easily and egos that can be damaged by little comments that germinate fears and expectations of what we should or shouldn't be.

As I continue sorting through my memory, digging up little anecdotes from the past I will do my best to rub some of the dirt off them and post them here for anyone who might be able to get something form them that they can use for their own life or their own transition.

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