The first time I realized that I wasn't in control of my expression of my sexuality and personhood when I was in the 5th grade and I had a knock down drag out argument with my mom about me wanting to wear pants to church. I wasn't a fan skirts, dresses, bows, nail polish, etc. I was a fan of Jordan's, jeans, pants, basketball, video games, and friends. I didn't understand the perception and role of gender roles and appearance as I was making my way through the world at that time. I thought that I am dressing how I feel and want to look. I am behaving in a way that makes me feel comfortable although truth be told I was definitely influenced by my peers. I didn't see it as a gender role argument but as an expression of my being and someone trying to impose themselves in my being. I didn't understand why someone had the right to have a say so over how I expressed myself in the world and how that impacted me internally.
I figured out that I was labeled as a "tomboy." I was fine with the label because it gave me an explanation of how I felt comfortable on the outside. As I grew and learned more about the world my mother explained to me that I was a "girl" and "boys" dressed in pants, Jordan's and boxed (I asked to start boxing classes) and I was supposed to wear dresses and sandals. This confused me to no end and I began to feel obligated to be what I was supposed to be to make other people feel comfortable and understand me.
This is the moment that defined who I was. I decided in this moment that I was going to do what I wanted to do for me to feel good about me and how I expressed myself in the world. This caused so many arguments and tears for me but gained so much appreciation and understanding for others. It gave me a sense of self and perseverance.
If you asked my mom now how she would described me , she would say... she does what she wants .
I hope for my young humans that they are allowed the opportunity to find themselves in a world that is already uncomfortable with who they are. I hope that we as the humans with more experience, allow them the space to express themselves, find what makes them conformable and brings them to a place that is uniquely themselves. I hope we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to share our experiences with finding ourselves, if we have even come to a moment in our lives, that we know or have been introduced to that person. I hope we don't punish them for doing what is out of the norm because of course we all are.