Girlhood, gayhood & where I begin/end
There will always be something you will long for and never have.
Whenever I was thirteen years old and naive, I had a crush on a boy. I hand-picked this one from the cesspool of delirious minded and awfully dressed boys from my school. A movie scene in my head, he sat next to me in history. I thought he was so goddamn hideous. But, like any other weak-minded thirteen year old, I told my best friend I thought he was the cutest boy I’d ever meet.
Later that day, at my house, she told me boys wouldn’t really go for anyone who looked like me.
At thirteen all I could do was ponder. I was on the internet. I called myself a feminist. I hadn’t touched the hair on my legs in years. Traditional femininity was an aspect of myself I closed myself off to. I never thought about what was supposed to go on my body, my face, the items I was supposed to so delicately pick out and be proud of myself for having.
I’m a senior in high school now and have made millions of amends with my body. I love her and her oddness. The shape of it so delicately intwined with the years I have lived in it.
My perception on bodies has changed immensely as I’ve grown up and I think the same is true for everybody else. Middle school me, as well as many other girls growing freshly into their bodies, often found parts of it repulsive. Body hair was a taboo. Insanely taboo. The idea was pushed on us from our peers and our parents. With technology and its endless list of opinions and little to zero amount of consequences, the norm was harsh. Especially if you didn’t contort to its shameful ideals.
Whenever you are growing at such a rate with the entire world growing with you, the confidence you carry on your shoulders is insanely unstable and lacking. A glass half full to me was a glass half empty to others. If I shaved my armpits I wasn’t as weird as the other girls wanted to point out. I talked of men as if they were the finest creatures walking God’s green earth. I understood absolutely none of it but consumed it like holy wines.
In middle school I had my first encounter with what I would soon realize was my first girl-crush. I’d had little flings here and there, girls I found myself absentmindedly overwhelmed by the presence of and swarmed with thoughts of things unspoken and just flat out vile. But this isn’t about those girls. This one was different. I think, and even now, I really loved her. She was the only object of my affection. I even cried once at a birthday party. That counts for something more whole than anything I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.
That desire to touch was a stronger force than any feeling I had consecrated and had built up in my whole body. At twelve years old I was feeling more than a twelve year old should ever feel. I did not feel like my lesbianism was political then. At that point in my life my existence as a person who wants was just a body putting out. I wanted like it’d kill me. I reached onto things that would never reach back. My attraction was not political, it was just attraction. I needed her so strongly not even the sharpest of forces could hold me back. God envied my love.
That wasn’t all true, all dramatics considered, and as it turns out God was actually really fucking mad at me for my love.
When I was in elementary school I had lied about having a crush on a boy who had never stepped foot inside of my school. Let’s call him Harvey. I liked Harvey, I was going to marry Harvey.
Me and this girl get pretty serious, as serious as a middle school relationship can get. I cry over it at night, things are complicated, my mother doesn’t understand why my mood changes as suddenly as it does for the next six or seven months. She tells me I’m the only girl she’s ever felt like this for. I keep that as a token of it being real, like she would never abandon me, leave me broken. When she looks at me after this is all over, I wonder if she still feels that way for me. Even deep down. When this is all over she grows away from her want, and mine manifests itself into something dark and complex. In my mind this was supposed to last forever. My off-putting and rather annoying faux-girlish charm would keep her hooked on me. This could have been a forever thing. I was thirteen.
There is a code in girlhood and it either runs through your DNA or it doesn’t. If it didn’t you were shit out of luck. My girls traveled in packs, we found ourselves on the fence about things we didn’t understand and probably never will. When my best friend first had sex with a boy I wanted to vomit. Was there such a discreet sinfulness tucked in with our experiences that we felt we couldn’t live without a shock collar? Was I upset something like this had happened with a guy we barely knew and not myself? I didn’t understand the line being crossed when it came to friendship and relationship. I didn’t know there was one. But I felt guilty doing anything out of what was considered the norm.
The girlhood I knew of was something of loose bones and broken wires. Their girlhood was something written in perfect scripture. Clay tablets and all. They had it marked down to the specifics and I kept tripping over my own two feet. I grew up with a distaste for the “norm” and progressiveness that made me ignorant of what everyone else was on, this was included with gender. It was never a spiteful thing as much as I might want it to sound like it, I think at the age of five I was just generally stupid and it happened to work out for me in the long run.
I was a very early bloomer. Most of my general distaste and shame with being associated with the word “girl” or woman in general had come from the fact I had been nothing but a thing with tits from the ages of twelve and up. If you couldn’t take my body seriously, you could never take me seriously. I felt appalled by the way I was treated by both men and women, grownups and children. I treated my body like a thing that needed to be locked up. The appearance did not match the rules everyone else assumed I needed to follow.
Why was I never informed of the rule book?
My gender to me was something that simply didn’t exist until I learned everyone else wanted it to. I existed on a cloud of fogginess and entropy amongst the body I was given. It wasn’t right, sure, but I didn’t know anyone else saw the “problems” they thought I had until I learned what everyone else wanted a little girl to do. You know, sit still, shut your mouth, cross your legs and whatnot. It isn’t that I didn’t do some of those things, I definitely did given being quiet was part of my natural personality, I just didn’t want to be seen as another girl doing those kinds of things. When it came to my attraction to women, how I saw myself in relation to there being ½ me and ½ her, it felt oddly connected to the way I perceived my body outside of myself. I was just a person loving another person. Human flesh touches human flesh. We are all just human flesh.
A part of my own personhood I had so quietly coveted and built up had been misunderstood by grownups who wanted me to succumb to their notion of what a little girl was. I was just a person, it’s all I wanted to be. Everything else outside of how I wanted myself to exist felt too small for me, like shrinking me any more minor than I already felt would really kill me. I definitely think the predominantly Christian area I grew up in contributed to the feelings I had toward my own religion and how I saw gender, which was not through everyone else’s eyes. It became a very big problem for me whenever they wanted me to take part in the way other women my age were growing up and it felt so awfully exclusive whenever I realized that the way I was feeling towards these things was on a much different scale than how they were feeling. It was embarrassment and guilt, even, like I had been thrown into a pack of wolves.
Once again: thing with tits.
This experience, muddled in with my attraction to women became a whirlwind of confusion and a constant, necessary learning. Lesbianism was a part of my identity that came so normally to me like it was in my blood. I found myself in a constant state of yearning for the joyous touches of the women who texted me things like the words “honey” and nicknames we created for each other to exist in conversations that only we were to speak of. It was something I was built for. In my lesbianism I was confident in my girlhood. This was the only thing the universe had been preparing me for.
I became embarrassed of the way my woman-ness had to seep into the relationships I was having with the people I was having them with. I’m a bitch, a cunt. I’m rude and I keep my hair all over my body. Morgan’s smart, but the ranking would always have me last. Life felt as if it was a never ending struggle between wanting my life to be my own and owning my identity as something I walked around with high on my shoulders. It wasn’t a crown I wore but a mix-match of annoying, very poorly sewn patches I had put onto a jacket. My body was a body with no boundaries and nothing to protect and if I kept telling myself that, the way I would interact with my girlhood would never bite me in my ass.
Of course, it did. It still does.
My identity now, is ever changing. I will always just be a thing reaching for other things. My unlearning and relearning thanks to the internet feeds me parts of people I didn’t know existed which gives me the opportunity to examine parts of myself that match up and say Oh, I didn’t know that. I still have a very long life ahead of me. I have lots and lots of leg room to grow and expand my view on myself and other people. I hope the journey is never ending.
I need to keep learning my body forever.