I’m a girl who struggles to write girl characters, so what’s the deal, huh? I’ve asked this question for a long time, sometimes touching on it in other blog posts. This month I’m hitting it head-on.
I suspect that when I was growing up, if someone had happened to talk about gender identity, I would have tuned in. But in my community, the topic didn’t surface, or if it did, I didn’t hear it. What I remember was this: I wished I’d been born a boy. Now looking back, I think my discomfort wasn’t so much a rejection of my physical body as it was a desire to reject the expectations society put on me because of my physical body.
This month in an effort to understand my writing woes, I’ve tried to channel the girl I was growing up. I remember family members and friends assuming I’d enjoy activities like cooking and shopping, and things like clothes and make-up. But I didn’t. I tried but couldn’t bring myself to care about that stuff. (Still don’t.)
By 6th grade I was taller than all the boys except three. In 7th grade I tried out for cheerleading and didn’t make it. Chorus and didn’t make it. Basketball and made second string. Or third. Somehow I ended up as team manager, which meant that before each game I’d cut up oranges and put them in clear plastic bags. Continue reading