By Julie Shopcake
Being a girl has always been this weird and difficult point of acceptance for me.
Throughout pretty much my entire childhood, I had tried to identify myself by my gender for some reason, so when I realized that my interests and personality didn’t quite line up with those more aligned with a girl’s should be, I just abandoned ship and tried to pretend I was a dude.
I always wore boy clothes. When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I was clothes shopping with my mom, and she would always look at girl stuff and say “Oh, this is cute,” in an attempt to make me dress like the pretty little girl she wanted me to be. I’d just turn away, and be like, “GOD MOM, YOU’RE SO EMBARRASSING,” or something like that.
But one time, after I gave my routine negative response, she gave a heavy sigh and said, “I always wanted a daughter.”
At the time I don’t remember the sting being so bad, but as I kept thinking about it, it kinda hurt. Here I was, being made fun of enough at school for being the way I was, and now my own mother wasn’t even accepting me.
Now, my mom is the best mom in the world, and I have a great relationship with her. But I understood her frustration – society expects girls and boys to act and dress a certain way, relative to their gender.
So why was I different?
Why did I hate wearing dresses and makeup and playing with dolls? Why did I always ask for the boy Happy Meal at McDonald’s? Why did the color pink piss me off to no ends? Short of a full-blown sex change, I’d done as much as possible to resist my womanhood.
All I wanted to do as a kid was the things that boys did: go outside and play in the dirt, glue my eyes to the TV for a little while and play Mortal Kombat, or just sit around and make fart jokes. I felt like girls were suckers every time they would gather with their Easy Bake Ovens and Barbie dolls. Not that I had anything against the delicious products of the Easy Bake Oven, I just didn’t see the appeal in the baking process. (Ironically, I enjoy baking now, so I guess the cosmos had its own way of coming full circle with that one.)
I resisted my ladyhood with an iron fist. I’m still not the type of woman who enjoys shopping and getting her nails done, but I’ve embraced my girlhood in a different way.
Because I felt like I didn’t fit the mold of what I was “supposed” to be, I spent so much time fighting who I am and I tried to be something else entirely. I spent all those years thinking I needed to be defined by gender. If I acted like a boy, that meant I should look like one too, right?
But the more I fought, the more I failed, creating this awful catch-22 of social awkwardness and lonely Friday nights.
One day in grade school, boys and girls were being separated for an activity in my class. Realizing and understanding that I’m physically a girl, I dutifully made my way to where my respective vagina owners were gathered. As I walked, some boy yelled out, “Oh look, it’s a dude!” Kids laughed, and I laughed, too, to try and shrug it off.
But it was this in-between feeling I had, like I never really belonged anywhere. Refusing my girlhood, yet not being welcomed in the guys’ circle either. Why couldn’t people just accept me for who I was? Well, because I didn’t even know who I was.
As I grew older, I realized that my personality didn’t need to be dictated by my what was between my legs. I’m not concerned about the fact that I’m a girl and I like to do “boy” things; I just do them. And the crazy thing is people don’t treat me like this weird outcast anymore.
Being a girl for me isn’t about “being a girl.” It’s about being who you are and doing the things you love to do, and doing them with confidence.
I mean, sometimes I wish I were a guy so I could just pee anywhere I want, because sometimes I really have to go and I despise public bathrooms. And I wish I could walk around without a shirt on when it’s really hot out, but other than that, being a girl is pretty cool.
As for my appearance, I came to realize that boys generally don’t like dating girls who look like boys, so I stopped doing that. I do still dress in a tomboy-ish manner, but I’m a girl, and it’s awesome. Do you know why?
Simply because I know who I am when I wake up every morning.
Shopcake has had some interesting experiences in her life, and can’t wait to share them all with you. Making you laugh is important to her, but if she makes you stroke your chin and look towards the sky, deep in thought, she’ll chalk it up as a victory.