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.