When I was a Boy …

I was asked recently, while chatting with a new friend, if I identified as male or as a butch female. The answer is ‘butch female’ and/or ‘dyke.’  The question reminded me that I haven’t posted anything much about the subject of how I identify and self-label, even though that was one of the primary reasons I started this blog.

When I was young, I thought I’d mistakenly been put into a girl’s body.   I certainly didn’t feel very girl-like, not by the definition my mom kept quoting to me.  No, I wanted very badly to be a boy and remember praying at night, for months or maybe years, that I’d wake up and be one.   I remember stealing a pair of my brother’s tighty whiteys and wearing them around for a few days. Probably would have done it for longer, but he’s 3 years younger and they were very tight(!).  Why did I want to be a boy?  It really didn’t have much to do with the packaging, it was all about the activities.  It’s funny because my mom is a very strong woman, was a tomboy who grew up on a farm doing very physical things, but she was desperate to pass on to me the ways of being a lady.   I was made aware from a young age about the gender identity of clothing and activities.

I wanted to be a boy because boys got to do all the fun things I wanted to do: run around chasing each other, climbing trees, getting dirty, playing hard. I delighted in being mistaken for a boy.  I remember a particular incident where a man who’d stopped to buy vegetables from our garden was chatting with my dad, my brother and I standing nearby.  He gestured to us and told my dad, “You’ve got a couple of fine boys here.” I puffed up with pride at that comment and didn’t correct him.

I remember tangling with my mom about wearing dresses.  I didn’t want to, but she insisted.  Somewhere around first grade, she made a deal with me: every other day I could wear pants to school.  I didn’t realize for a bit that she’d gotten 3 days a week, to my two.  I remember that after a while, I’d sneak a change of clothes to school, yes, as a first grader, so I could change from the dress into my pants.  It’s wierd how different things stand out in my memory.  There was a field trip to the local chicken farm, sometime in kindegarten I think, and I was wearing pants for that.  I was standing to the side of a group of girls, with my hands in my pockets.  One of them looked over to me and commented,”Are you a boy?  Only boys stand with their hands in their pockets.”  At the time, I didn’t question how ridiculous that statement was, I just loved the fact that I was doing something recognizably boyish. 

I went through a phase of trying to fit in, but somewhere around my junior year, I ditched make-up and shaving.   Yes I’ve got antique body hair at this point.  That was about the time that I realized that girls really turned me on and I switched my sexual and emotional focus to them.  Externally, my presentation hasn’t always been very butch — I’ve got some scary pics from the 80s featuring long hair and perms, eww.  From the early 90s on, however, I’ve expressed more and more of my masculine side.  I no longer pray that I’ll be a boy when I wake up, I’m happy to be a woman.  I can pass as a man on limited occasions, and that’s a thrill but I really love being recognizably female, with masculine body language and vibe and facial hair.  I love tweaking people about my gender.  This is who I am:  a woman very happy with her female bits, who also loves being a guy.

Internally, I sometimes feel that I’m embracing more than one identity and most of the time they mesh pretty well, and I move fluidly from one side of my personal gender spectum to the other.  Other times, I feel somewhat conflicted.  A lot has happened between now and my childhood, and I’ll write more on that as time allows.

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6 Responses to When I was a Boy …

  1. Pingback: are you a boy, or a girl? « Butchtastic