Growing up I was very Unique. In most pictures it was very easy to point me out, not because I was extremely cute with a smile of the sun and dimples of the deep, but merely from being the kid that did weird poses and expression. I made picture taking…FUN! And this sense of doing what comes to mind is still with me today. It, however, wasn’t easy.
I don’t know why, I don’t even care to know why, I was attracted to “girly” things. No! not wearing my moms clothes or having long hair, although, I did used to put the neck of a T-shirt around my head to swing it, but all kids did that! . . right? Well, who cares. In elementary school, I would be the boy you mostly see with the girls playing hand games like Numbers, Patty Cake, Miss Marry Mat, and Tweet Baby! I loved the hand eye coordination matched with rhythmic words telling an elaborate story. I would literally be the only boy to do these activities, and of course I did get the back lash of words and phrases belittling my being. Kids are mean. They say what they want with no second thought or remorse. Uncouthly, they speak their truth.
Naively, I thought I could bring the same careless at home. Nope, that wasn’t the case. I had a bad history of being teased for being feminine. My parents tried to conform me in ways to oppose the harsh criticism. Sometimes it resulted in me teasing them back or fighting, which didn’t happen often.
I hated being teased, but I hated to do things that did not appeal to me even more. Hanging around girls came with a strong sense of ease. They had more fun together, they were always consistently laughing and giggling. Boy’s on the other hand, I felt like I had to live up to an expectation of masculinity that took way to much work. I felt like they and me were acting. Especially, around intermediate school, boys “grew up”. In the summer of 4th grade going into 5th grade, Allegedly, there was a memo sent around saying boys will now prematurely deepen their voices, pull their pants below their waist, and only like basketball and football. I damn sure never got this memo.
I liked playing double dutch. My parents tried numerous times to ban me from playing it. It was something that “girls do” amongst me talking with my hands, because Italians do that too, and talking on the phone too long, etc. I remember playing double dutch with my friends and my mother came to the park to pick me up. She scolded me, “Didn’t I tell you, you shouldn’t be jumping Double Dutch, it’s for girls, are you a girl?“
Then came the lecture of in order to stop the name calling I had stop doing girly things bullshit. This started to take a toll on me. I was afraid to bring a rope home, I was afraid to speak on experiences. I slowly was developing a double life very early in my childhood. One day I after a good rope session I made up this dumb lie to change her perspective on me jumping rope. I said, “Mom did you know they passed a law so boys can jump rope.” She replied sarcastically, “oh really?”
I thought I had won her over and now I was freed from the shackles of stupidity. I was wrong again. I with all honestly couldn’t not understand what rule book many people were going by. Did I really lived in my own world throughout my life? The rejection forced me look at the world around me and question deeply WHO MAKES THESE STUFF UP? and why can’t I just do and be me? what is so wrong for a boy to play hand games and jump rope. I’m not going around in girls clothes at 7 yrs. of age, or even saying I want to be a girl. So I felt If I can’t do what I want to do, then I’m not going to do anything at all. And that’s exactly what I did till I was 15.
SO, I ask you readers, have you ever been forced out of your likings for the sake of someone else or image?