After reading Quizzical Sloth’s post “I was never a tomboy”, it got me really thinking about childhood. Some people take this fixed path of always having been hyperfemme and staying that way, or always being butch even as a child, or never having had much of a gender at all.
What of us that didn’t have that? This certainty that our gender would forever be fixed? Once gender becomes fluid, is anything possible?
When I was 3, I refused to wear anything that wasn’t exactly what a doll would wear: a frilly dress and white socks, and shiny black Mary Janes (they had to be shiny). It wasn’t a costume; I was a doll. I even had blonde wavy shiny ringlets to match (because all dolls back in the 80s/90s were white, of course…). Then I inherited a couple tutus from a family friend who had them as dance costumes when she was little; I would change into the itchy sequined tulle costumes every day as soon as I got home from school. Oh yeah, and I wanted to make people happy by being a “wishing barbie” when I grew up, and make peoples’ wishes come true.
I was so proud to be girly.
Then I discovered tomboy. Comfortable clothes, practical clothes for rolling around in the dirt, armor to wear to show the world how tough I thought I was.
I was so proud to be boyish.
Was one better than the other? Is there a better or worse way to be? What of us kids who never followed exactly one path?
To this day, I like boots and skirts and t-shirts. I like flannel and headbands. I like nail polish and baseball caps. In trying to choose one, fitting in to someone else’s idea of what a girl is, I lost who I was. I did have dysphoria when I wore short skirts and girly girly shoes. I did have dysphoria when I bound and hid my body.
Finding out what’s authentic, for some reason, has been harder for me than for other people. My girlfriend for example has always been herself, has worn basically the same stuff since she was 10. I don’t know why all this went down for me, but not always for others.
I’ve started really enjoying blogs like Lost in a Spotless Mind, a very honest (and beautifully made) style blog that talks about body positivity and authenticity and mental health and wellbeing. I wish there were more like it out there. Because sometimes all I need someone to tell me, after getting so many conflicting messages from society, is that it’s okay to be myself.
My femmy, tomboy, all-over-the-place, self.
This of course gets into another discussion on why we feel the clothes we wear define us in any way, but that’s a story for another time.