I’m not a girl. I don’t want to be a girl. It doesn’t feel right. I can’t pretend I’m a girl. I hate being a girl. I can’t pretend I’m happy. I don’t want to grow up unless I can be a boy. I want to wear boy’s clothes and play baseball. I want a boy’s name and a crew cut.
I want to be like my Dad. Not like my mother. Not like my grandmother. I don’t want to grow up and be a wife or a mother. If I could, I would turn myself into a boy.
I see myself at school, the kid with the cooties. I don’t play at recess. I don’t have friends. I daydream about being a boy. I develop serial crushes. They are all on women. Teachers, student teachers, baby sitters, girls who are a few years older than me. When I fantasize about them I am always a boy.
The Board of Education requires me to wear a dress to school. When I get home I change into the least undesirable pants and tops in my dresser. I pretend they are boy’s clothes, even though they are not quite right. I look at myself and try as hard as I can to see a boy.
I refuse to go to gymnastics or take dance. I avoid thinking about what it means. I lie and tell people I know I’m a girl, I’m a tomboy, I don’t want to be a boy, I just like boy stuff. I don’t believe it; I know they need to hear it. I hold out hope that one day I will turn into a boy.
I learn to live with the dichotomy by not examining it. It is too painful to admit the truth. I develop an intricate set of diversions and defenses. I avoid mirrors and reflective surfaces. I stuff my feelings down by overeating. I hide behind my weight. I refuse to wear anything pink or paisley or lacy. Mostly, I duck into fantasy. I wait childhood out. I find ways to manage.
I read The Hardy Boys and watch the Mets on Channel 9. In reality, that is as close as I get to being a boy. It is not close enough. I long for everything that I am not allowed to have. It is unfair. I throw tantrums.
I convince myself I will deal with “it” when I go away to college, after I come out, after I finish my thesis, when I get a job, when I find someone who loves me, when I start therapy, after I switch therapists.
I kept procrastinating. I kept finding ways to get through they day. It took a long time to find the words.
I can not reconcile myself with being a woman; I do not want to reinvent myself as a man. I can not turn the clock back and become a boy. I am what I am. I live a butch life. I am transgender at heart. For a long time, I was unable to complete the loop. I short circuited my thoughts each time I came close.
I am trying to listen to that child without hushing him, without telling him to grow up, be realistic, accept his fate. I can not make up for my lost boyhood. I can not wave the pain away. I can only tell him that I am sorry that I made him wait for so long.