There was a lot of stuff I wanted when I was a kid that I couldn’t have because it was gender inappropriate. Getting the girl’s version was almost as bad as not getting anything at all. A new pair of white figure skates meant it would be at least two years before I could hope for a pair of boy’s black hockey skates.
Even though my parents were frugal, they drew the line at cross-gender hand-me-downs. I would have been OK with getting my brother’s old black figure skates, but my parents grudgingly bought me new white ones. There was palpable anxiety on their part about the “phase” that I was going through, and my mother wanted me to look like a girl. I now own a pair of hockey skates. I don’t skate often, but when I do, wearing them makes me happy.
I can’t buy everything I wanted as a child. The black cowboy outfit will not have the same effect now as it would have had when I was six. I will not enjoy reading the complete Hardy Boys. I have no use for a baseball glove and I throw like a girl. But I still yearn for all the boy stuff I coveted and was not allowed to have. It is the yearning, not the actual stuff, that I need to figure out how to handle. I censor what I want because I think I shouldn’t want it. I don’t feel entitled to it. I should grow up already.
My 2012 resolution was to see if I felt better if I let myself have more guy stuff. I gave myself permission to buy almost anything (except a vehicle) that I wanted. I decided to stop denying, depriving, and withholding. The criteria were: it had to fit, it had to ring my guy chimes, and it had to look good on me.
I tried on a lot of men’s jeans to find a style that fit. I traded up my Levi’s for Lucky Brand and I got them shortened so the bottoms wouldn’t bunch up around my shoes. I bought Timberlands for all occasions. I ordered a couple of new belts to go with the new boots. I saw a good-looking guy on the subway shouldering a nice daypack and I asked him where he got it and then got the same one. I had some shirts custom-made. I let myself buy books instead of taking them out of the library; now I have a special shelf for Gender Studies. Someday I will finish reading Gender Trouble.
I think I am done shopping. I like having better looking clothes and shoes. Sometimes I manage to feel handsome. The yearning is still there. I can’t buy back a lost boyhood. I can try to let myself feel the loss. I can let myself feel like a boy again. I can take my foot off my neck and let myself breathe.
One of my resolutions for 2013 is to allow myself to keep thinking about being Butch and being Trans*, which is why I started this blog. I know it is the truth when I say to myself “I don’t feel like a woman.” I know it is the truth when I say “I feel like a boy, but I don’t think I feel like a man.” I’d like to be able to live with the contradictions. I’d like to let myself be as authentic as I want to be.
I relate! At about age 8 I asked for a cowboy outfit for Christmas. I was so disappointed by the ‘Annie Oakley’ costume I received. The six-guns were cool though.
My mother was not all that interested in feminising me, as a child I enjoyed a degree of benign neglect. It was not until I got to age 17 that she started to try toning down my tomboyishness – by then the horse had bolted!
My father thought my tomboy ways were quite cute and encouraged me in my some of my pursuits. When I cam home from school with a black eye after a playground fight he seemed quite pleased. But I had to beg and wheedle for a full share in the electric train set that he and my younger brother were bonding over.
I love this, I think that we could all stand to be a little more gentle, a little more giving with ourselves. I remember throwing a fit ONCE as a child, we’d spent the evening at Show-Biz Pizza and my mother had sent us to the car with our father and divied up the tickets to buy us each (my two brothers and I) a “prize.” I cried for hours over receiving a handful of faux pearl necklaces in contrast to the little baseball-playing penny banks the boys received. To this day I don’t know what she was thinking 😉 (I have to remember, though, these were the days when they still sold beer and allowed smoking inside…she was probably wasted after sitting there all night…) I was a pretty quiet kid, a bookworm, never in trouble like my brothers. I must have made my point, this once, though: she ended up returning that night and switching it out. I kept that thing for years.
These days I drive around in a cherry red pickup, a ’74 Chevy that my friends call my fourteen-year-old boy truck. Yeah, being able to relive adolecence with a little cash in your pocket isn’t the worst thing in the world, always.
I drive a Subaru Outback – very stereotypical! I like the pickup. Thanks for commenting.
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