I Was Never A Boy

I’ve loved being a tomboy but I’ve never been a boy. I’ve felt uncomfortable being a girl but I’ve never been a boy. I’ve looked more boyish than girlish on many occasions but I’ve never been a boy.

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I’m pretty sure a few people who think they “know” me would beg to differ. That’s why they aren’t they ones writing this post, because they DON’T know me, at all. They have they’re opinions they’ve surmised from the few moments they did spend in the same location as me. Maybe I did some things and had certain mannerisms that helped their idea of who they think I am or was. But c’mon, even 6 months can not possibly be long enough for any one person to learn the few complexities that make me me. Opinionated assumptions can’t be the best route either. I think I may have a little more letting go to do on this one. Felt a lil touchy there, lol.

Let’s take a trip into the awesome summer days I had by my grandmother’s.

My uncle, only a few years my senior, would arrive at my gate and man was I always excited. He was the most awesomestest uncle in the whole wide world. So, off we went…He chose the coolest routes. In American terms, I lived like four blocks from my grandmother. It could take us all day to get there whenever he came and got me. We would go into these lanes and back ways I had never ever ever seen before. I loved it! We went through people’s yards, through lots and lots of bushes, through what seemed to be trapped door mazes of zinc fences. Then to my surprise, we’d magically end up at the top of the lane that lead to the house. I went on tons of adventures with him. Climbing mango trees, being chased by dogs, being stoned by a mentally unstable young woman they taunted (I think she was just teased a lot an acted how she did as a result, so her mental capacities may or may not have been abnormal) or anyone else. There were times the community was put under curfew due to what I’ll classify as “turf war”. And even that he made into a fun expedition. Hiding out, someone as the lookout for where the police and soldiers were, and the rest of us (his friends were around sometimes) quietly running up to that spot to peek at the occurrences of the day….we clearly didn’t see the dangers of being where we were. There was usually sporadic gun fire, so imagine how easily any one of us could have been hurt being behind the men and women standing in the line of fire, by as much as 50 yards. It was still fun, lol. Football games that could see us potentially ‘kicking off our big toes’ because we played on concrete or asphalt in slippers. Cricket games with rules I now recognize were unfair advantages to him. Boxing games, making kites, making bingeeys (slingshots) and shooting at birds, playing marbles and always being accused of cheating. I loved it all.

So imagine how detrimental my father’s arrival back to Jamaica with his unsolicited rules had me imprisoned every summer. You’re a girl child, you can’t play with so much boy pickney…

My younger brother could go outside, so clearly this wasn’t about age, it was solely about gender. Francine was her mother’s house slave. She was rarely available to be a child. She had to wash cook and clean for her household, that is, Miss Barbara, whatever the man’s name was, and her older and younger brothers. She only had time when Miss Barbara left home. Ok, so how bout the one other little girl? I hated playing dolly house and doctor and mama lashy. Well I liked mama lashy. In that game you just whip everyone and I enjoyed whipping them hahaha. The rush from chasing them mostly was what made it so enjoyable. But playing house and doctor was ugh. I was almost always the father. That was so boring and unusually uncomfortable. I felt uncomfortable being forced to play a male role. To make matters worse, you know what the father did? Stayed home, all day long. The mom and kid went out and played and all and I was stuck inside. Well inside outside. We played under the cellar of this other little girls house whose name I can never remember.

The girls were stuck inside. We were only allowed to play inside or outside together.

You could hear all the excitement from the boys’ games. I think I’m beginning to understand why I hated dolls from writing this. They partly represented the lure of being trapped in the boredom of being born with a vagina. Summer vacations were now a send off to house arrest. Thanks Mr. Johnson.

I recognized though that the tougher I was the more freedom I had and the more places my uncle invited me to tag along to. In secret of course. So I also had to learn to zip it. I got so many cuts and bruises but I learned quickly not to cry and not to quit. So I became a sweet lil tomboy. I was also his friend’s new bully. I got mad creds being a little bully. Believe me I was little. I bullied that little boy along with my other uncle, that uncle lived to harass me. He had a knack for ruining my board games and teasing me to tears. Hated his guts. Ohhh I forgot being chased with dead lizards! I learned to perfect my bluff! If you didn’t wince they assumed you weren’t scared.

I was never a boy, I just wanted to be allowed to live. If I was girly I’d need to be protected perpetually. If was tough I was permitted to do anything. The opportunities for great memories were endless if I knew how to scale fences and could take a good hit in a game of burns.

So believe me since I’ve actually known me since birth. You know, since I actually know what my thoughts are and why I did anything I did do. Believe me that I’ve never been a boy. I’ve just been a girl trapped in a body presumed since inception to need protection from the outside world. I disliked skirts and dresses because similar to how I was presumed weak for being female, I saw those as a label that asserted that mentality. That I was weak. That I was a sissy girl. That I was an effeminate female. I felt unsafe in such attire. Vulnerable even. And trapped too. You ever notice how you can put your pants on one leg at a time and that’s all. That doesn’t hold true for skirts and dresses, no no. Once it’s on the rules come out. Sit up, close your legs, pull it down, don’t do this that and the third. Another shackle!!! Being a girl took sooo much work. Being a girl in a Caribbean home automatically elected you for cooking, cleaning and laundry lessons. Boys just get to play and play and play. (Not EVERY home was like this but most often this was my reality). Do you know I’ve had cousins and aunts mad at me because I wasn’t required to be a house slave. My grandfather taught me how to be independent and how to survive but he allowed me my freedom to be a child. They made that a pet peeve.

I’ve desired to be a boy but so many times in my life. Always as my minds attempt at fleeing incarceration.

So again, I’ve never been a boy, but I’ve always wanted simply to be free. Free to be me. I have never been a pink princess, more of a warrior princess, like Xena. Plus I can’t just sit on the ground in Walmart because I want to, wearing clothes that’s gonna have my under garments exposed lol.

Rae Sonson,
June 2, 2016,
13:19 p.m.

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