Who am I?
No idea to be honest. I have spent much of my life being what everyone else expected of me. I did the things I was ‘supposed’ to do. I hid the feelings I wasn’t ‘supposed’ to have. I liked the things that other people wanted me to like and shoved the things I liked under the surface. I was allowed to like them, but it couldn’t take priority over things that others had deemed more important. The things I liked and enjoyed would then be used against me. If I wasn’t up to the standards of others, there would be threats that I was going to lose the things I enjoyed. Academic success was always a very large, looming expectation. If it “slipped”, even just a little it was common to hear things like “Band is distracting you and it needs to not” or “I am not sure about this whole musical thing, it seems like that’s taking up too much of your time.” Hilariously, when these things had success, it was their idea for me to continue on… they could take credit for the things I enjoyed.
I was supposed to be this good little girl, and I felt all their love was wrapped up in that concept. I knew early on that I wasn’t going to be able to question it. Internally, I was screaming. I was screaming over and over inside that I was not a little girl. I wanted to be a little boy. I wanted to play, I wanted to roughhouse. I wanted to be me. They let me be a “tomboy” but even then I was given clear direction that I should be a lot more girly than what I was being. My grandmothers would comment on weight and ask why I wouldn’t do this or that when it came to girly things. They always asked why I wouldn’t do anything really nice with my “beautiful hair full of ringlets.” I never wanted to wear dresses, and thankfully for most of my childhood this was not a big deal.
However, it became a big deal come time for both my junior and senior prom and also for my high school graduation. I wanted to wear a tux. I would have been so comfortable in that. I wasn’t allowed. I was flat out told that if I wasn’t wearing a dress then I was not going to be allowed to go. So I caved. I went dress shopping both years with my grandmother and picked out dresses. I hated it. It made me feel so inferior. Here I was putting this mask on and pretending to once again be the good little girl. It was even more fun when it came to graduating from hell, I mean high school. It was a requirement of my high school that all the ‘girls’ had to wear a white dress to both baccalaureate and also under their graduation robes. No exceptions. There was no option to wear pants at all for any female bodied student. I hated every minute of it. It wasn’t enjoyable. I pretended that it was good, but there wasn’t anything. There weren’t photos with my family. There was not a party to be had afterwards. I got cards for it, but that was it. Even if there were photos, there wouldn’t be legit happiness in them. There was the constant shadow of expectations and the ties to parental love wrapped up in that.