I read a terrific blog this morning, and here is the link (hope it works). There has been so much in media, lately, about sexual identification and transgender, it made me took a little on my own experience. Here is the link to that other blogger’s excellent post.
Here are my thoughts, expanded since I posted on FB this morning.
I wished I was a boy often as a child. I felt that a boy’s life might have been easier in my world. I was supposed to be Jack, my mom and dad’s late in life “surprise” in their forties, and after they had four children nearly grown up. Since my dad retired before I was five, I spent a lot of time with him those first few years. I felt I would have gotten a lot more approval from my dad if I had been a boy, My father respected his sons; his daughters (and wife), not so much, and me, the least of all. He could hear the identical idea from a woman and disregard it, but if a man suggested it, he’d listen, at least. My dad was very old school. Partly, the problem was that I have some similarities to my dad. If he was antagonistic, I wouldn’t back down. If he yelled at my mom, I’d try to protect her (and made things worse for both of us, looking at it retrospectively). I didn’t like how my mom just took the verbal abuse and wasn’t cherished or respected by her husband. I know there was much more to their relationship than that, but this was with the eyes and understanding of a child.
I remember I wished I was a boy so I could answer back to the bullies in life, the injustice that which, even as a young child, bothered me. I wanted to be able to be the Knight on a white horse, instead of the helpless Princess. As a girl, I never ever considered the idea of physically hurting someone, I wished I was a boy, so that I might be able to MAKE someone listen, and make the bullies regret their actions. I think society then accepted more that “boys will be boys”. I felt it wasn’t fair that girls didn’t get the perks that boys did.
Most of the kids nearest my age in my neighborhood were boys and I envied their easy camaraderie and how they got along. I always felt like an outsider looking in. I loved riding my bike, adventuring in the woods, and playing outdoors. It was definitely a hands off childhood. I pretty much raised myself, Range Free Parenting at it’s worse. In school, I had pretty short hair from around second to fifth grade, which was around the time things started going south. I knew I was different than others. I knew my home life wasn’t like other people, and I felt like I was on my own. I only vaguely remember school during those years, only that in third grade there was a teacher that ridiculed and made fun of me in front of other students and it was bad enough that I remember the school counselor seeing me a few times, which must have been a pretty big deal in those days, but I had no clue. It wasn’t that I disliked school – I loved reading and devoured every horse book in the library – but they lost me at fourth grade math. I wished I was a boy so that I could have been good at math and science. That maybe would have made me able to become a veterinarian or physical therapist. Back then, boys were just better at math and science and sports than girls. My dream job (until I got taller than 5’5) was to be a jockey. Since I didn’t have the build, that was an early disappointment.
If I had been a boy, maybe I wouldn’t have directed my insecurities inward where I almost destroyed myself in my depression of not feeling good enough, feeling flawed, and unworthy. Sports might have been a way to be a confidence builder even as a girl, but sports didn’t come easily to me. I wasn’t physically talented. I played soccer for one season, and swimming for maybe a year, but wasn’t that good. I skied in Junior High, but that was expensive and my parents didn’t encourage it. Really, they didn’t encourage me to do anything, except in vague grandiose terms, like “You can do anything you want to”, but never followed up with any structure on how to start. I became a frustrated perfectionist, a natural procrastinator, and a dreamer rather than a live(er). They didn’t continue to encourage me to stick with anything, not even piano lessons. I never learned how to do anything REALLY well, except escape into reading.
As a girl, I developed early, and because of my need for approval and desire for connection, I became a target for a 17 year old boy (weirdly immature, himself, but he had a cool ’67 Mustang!) when I was 12. So, at that age, I had my first kiss (ewwww). That started a whole new set of negative spiraling which lasted a good many years. I wasn’t comfortable and had no support on being a person with a physical body. I just felt like a bad girl. I didn’t like who I was as a girl, and wished I could have been a boy – that I might have done better. Over the years, my depression and eating built walls of fat that kept me from acting on any of my sexuality, so in essence, I became like one of the guys.
I had many good guy friends over the years, and since I hung out with guys that had NO interest in a fat girl, I was able to have good friendships. I was their matchmaker (in more than one case), encourager, supporter, and buddy. Being able to relate to guys helped me to be more confident that as a person, I was fun to be around. They just accepted me with my quirks and loved me the way I was.
One of my good guy friends (thanks Ron) helped me to really start to see that who I was, and the road I had traveled wasn’t a mistake. September 5, 1990, I spent some time and rededicated my mess of a life to Jesus Christ. It was a long road, with some huge boulders to climb. In 1998 I was amazed to find out that my Father God saw me much differently than I saw myself. I went through a long counseling period in 2001/2002, when I finally learned how to see myself as a Victor rather than a victim. There have been many ups and downs and setbacks and disappointments, but I am glad that God made me who I am. I found that I was treasured before time began and God made me who I was on purpose. It is still my job to become the best Jill I can be. I think it will probably take the rest of my life to do that, but it’s Christ in me who can do the impossible.
I have gone from wishing to accepting and now to enjoying. It has been a heck of a journey. But I agree with that other blogger – God made me perfectly, and though I am flawed in my humanity, my journey has been worthwhile.