When I initially saw this image on Facebook a few days ago, I had to laugh, as I thought “That would have been me…part Batman and part faerie princess on her trusty steed, pedaling through the streets.” I was rather quirky, an ‘alien baby left on my parents’ doorstep’, with otherworldy ideas, as well as a bike riding, skating, tree climbing, sledding, hopscotch playing, jump-roping, swimming, puddle jumping, voraciously reading, sprinkler running, Barbie doll playing, costume dressing, mudpie making, fingerpainting kid. I was raised by parents who saw me as a girl, yet didn’t limit what that could mean. I eschewed the label “Tom Boy” since that indicated that it was un-natural for a female person to get messy, run around with grass stained knees, do rough and tumble things. It is equally unfair for a boy to be required to refrain from engaging in traditionally female activities, like playing with dolls (that aren’t GI Joes or action heros). How, I ponder, are men to be nurturing fathers if they don’t have a clue how to take care of an infant? What makes it ok for women to cry and for men to be stoic? Men were born with tear ducts as well.
Where did these ideas even come from that we had to wear certain ‘costumes’ in order to be socially accepted? The people who are in my life now, defy stereotype. Amongst my circle are ‘masculine acting women’ and ‘feminine acting men’, Hetero, Bi and Gay, some transgender, all skin hues, hailing from different parts of the world. Artists, musicians, writers, teachers, bodyworkers, therapists, doctors, nurses, lawyers, business people, blue collar workers, sex educators, clergy. What they have in common, is an acceptance (and not simply tolerance) for those who don’t fit a particular mold; those out of the box thinkers, who dare to be different. It is from their perspective that I see the world through fresh eyes and gain permission to be left of center in my own beliefs and behaviors. This former “emotional contortionist who would bend over backward to please people who was frequently looking over her shoulder to see if the propriety police were watching,” has learned that flexibility is a good thing if experienced by choice and not obligation. If you look in my closet or dresser drawers, you won’t find a tutu (not yet:), but you will find a red be-ribboned skirt with bells on the bottom, a t-shirt with a henna tatooed faerie emblazoned on it, as well as clown shoes with hearts and stars decorating them. I have yet to wear them all at once, but I just might. Oh and I hadn’t mention the wings in the back of my Jeep (part of my clown persona named Feather), because you never know when they could come in handy. Here’s to being fully, colorfully, creatively human.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE5YzRr9yPo When I Was A Boy- by Dar Williams