Thursday, July 12, 2012
One of These is Not Like the Others
“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”
I remember being in kindergarten and one day noticing the gender segregated groups of kids playing in the schoolyard. First, there was the girl group, who seemed more interested in remaining sedentary, playing house and dolls. Then there was the boy group. They were busy splitting up into teams, making imaginary war boundaries, running around, and smacking the crap out of one another when Mrs. Skinmore, the teacher, turned her back.
I remember very seriously wanting to join the boy games, but I was finally rejected by the lot of them, because I was a “cootie infested” girl. I felt totally underwhelmed by the games the girls were playing, so I didn’t even bother asking to join them. Eventually, I decided to start my own group: The Tomboy Club. I cheerfully advertised under the slogan: “The Tomboy Club is a club for girls who wanna be like boys.” I remained its only member that entire year. I spent my recesses alone or playing with the daddy long leg spiders that hunted in the shade of the school walls.
Five seems like such a young age to realize life is inordinately hard on people who are different.
So the questions I have now, 25 years later, gravitate around the following problem: “What do you do when your own nature is against you?” I find more often than not, boys are afraid of me, because I tend to be better at things they should be good at. Should I try to be less me? Am I less myself, when I attempt for a more feminine personality or appearance? Should I play dumb or weak? I figure, in the end, they’re just going to realize I prefer to wear jeans or cargos, cowboy boots, and t-shirts, and that I can actually smoke most people if challenged to a game of wit.
The hardest question that nobody can answer for me is this: “When will I be loved for exactly who I am?”