visibility

April 2

Les, after hours of thinking and writing, I posted the following on Facebook.

I wanted to write something on Transgender Day of Visibility on Friday but missed it. I’m posting now because I wanted to last year but wasn’t yet out to some of the people I really needed to be.

I wish I’d had the words for being neither a boy or girl as a kid. Because I never learned it was a thing, I didn’t know that I wasn’t a girl. I just knew that I was frustrated with the different options and rights for boys and girls, and felt an overwhelming urge to defy gender norms, and be myself. Sometimes I wish there’d been books, fiction and otherwise, featuring characters whose relationships with gender matched my own or otherwise ignited me. I read a lot of LGBT literature in middle school and high school, but didn’t linger on the few transgender characters I stumbled across, mostly because binary transitions (FTM or MTF) weren’t relevant to me. I still haven’t read a book or watched a movie with a character I truly identify with in terms of gender.

Can you imagine that?

With a personal history of vocal feminism (forever this) but also comfort with being called girl, sometimes I feel self-conscious about my past. I feel afraid that because I was comfortable being “girl-ed” in the past, people will disbelieve my nonbinary identity. But this is a fundamental truth: regardless of my education, I was just as nonbinary and genderqueer as my 5 year-old self twirling in dresses or pestering my mom for things to carry in my pockets as I was in 6th grade when people asked if I was a boy every week. Or, didn’t ask—just called me a boy, or wondered what I was in not-so-quiet whispers to their parents or friends in 8th grade.

I could tell you that at no point in my life have I been any less or more nonbinary than I am now, but honestly, there is a time seared into me: because of the ways it made me feel out of place in the world and my skin, the night I was crowned Homecoming queen in high school is the queerest and most transgender I have ever felt. Being queer and trans is never a problem, but feeling like there is no space for you to exist as you truly are is.

We get an inadequate education on gender and sexuality in schools and the media. The best education is everyday life but often it doesn’t feel like it’s easy or right or safe to ask questions or say to someone: neither girl or boy feels right to me, or sometimes my body doesn’t match how I feel on the inside, or I like my body but it makes people assume things about who I am that just aren’t true.

Or: I don’t see myself growing older in this society as it or I currently am.

And that last one is something we really need people feeling comfortable sharing. We need changes so that everyone, regardless of their gender, can live open and comfortably. We need a society with an emphasis on respect, inclusivity, and dignity. We need more conversations about the limitations of the gender binary system of man and woman, and the society that is structured around it. A binary system transgender people are reminded of daily on survey forms, in department stores, when we need to pee, join a soccer league, or are being Sir-ed or Ma’am’ed on the phone.

From a young age, we don’t get many discussion on the either or the neither or the both or the whattheheck of gender. It’s assumed that we are what was written on our birth certificates when we were born.

We aren’t given many safe spaces to ask and learn about gender and sexuality, regardless of what’s in our hearts or between our legs or who invites butterflies into our stomachs.

Because I grew up around families that didn’t match my own, and because I had parents who let me wear what I want, and let me chop off my hair even when they weren’t thrilled, I got to learn and grow and feel better about myself sooner than some. I got to like different things at different times and mostly not feel ashamed. Some shame, of course. That shouldn’t be an of course.

Because of some advances in education and policies, and sheer need to live authentically, more people are coming out as trans. Thanks to beautiful and brave humans like Laverne Cox and Parinya Charoenphol, there are are more openly famous transgender people. More, even, than when I was a kid. But we still have progress to make, everywhere.

There are about as many experiences with gender as there are people in the world. My trans, my nonbinary, is nobody else’s. One transgender identity isn’t representative of all, and I think that’s important to note. We need many representations of trans individuals in literature, film, and the public and private sector. We need people feeling safe, comfortable, and proud to be themselves without hiding or lying or avoiding the careers or people or sports they really want in their life. We need visibility and inclusivity as a habit and rule, not the exception.

Here’s to visibility.

trying for patience, compassion, understanding

October 25

Les,

While scribbling about zizi and gender neutral family titles last week, I also scribbled the following.

By asking others to honor my identities, I’m in a way asking them to come out to others by putting themselves in the types of uncomfortable conversations that result from one saying a person is neither a woman or man. It shakes some people’s realities—the teller’s, and the tellee’s. Although I don’t mean to, I’m asking others to help me feel more comfortable by using language that may discomfort others.

I don’t mean to cause discomfort. I just want to exist as I am, and have these basic truths be respected.

Would my dad have been treated as well if he was trans? Gratitude and questions after a defused time bomb aneurysm

March 5

Dear Les,

I was going to post a piece I wrote on Thursday about gender identity, health, and hospital visits as someone with a loved one in the hospital, but it was written through half-mast eyelids and repetitive. The gist was this:

I am exhausted. I was and remain bone tired from worry, care, and hospital visits, but my family and I are all better than we would have been had my father received lower quality and less compassionate healthcare. We are exhausted from this sudden journey into the serious side of the healthcare system, but one thing that has lowered our stress levels is the way my dad has been treated. When we waited in the surgical waiting room with our noses in books or eyes on the still-bare deciduous trees in the courtyard, we were at the mercy of the surgeons working on his heart in the operating room. When we stood in my dad’s critical care or general cardiological unit rooms lacking any medical expertise of our own and deferring to every single doctor, nurse, physical therapist, and dietary ambassador who came in, we were at their mercy. We were, it seemed, at the mercy of everyone helping my heavily wired and IV-clad dad. And thankfully, they were excellent.

We felt powerless, but knowing my dad was in good hands made us all healthier.

What if my dad was trans? FtM, MtF, or genderqueer? Would he have received the same level of care? I think we live in one of the best cities for trans individuals, but even if hospital workers meant well, I’m sure he would have had to deal with some uncomfortable looks and questions. A stressor that does someone with a serious heart problem no favors. If he were trans, would my dad have even visited a doctor in January or February? Would anyone have caught the aneurysm before it burst? From what I understand, aortas are normally as wide as a garden hose. The morning of surgery, surgery he was scheduled for as a priority patient, his aorta was the size of a large fist. A time bomb defused how long before detonation?

Les, I think about how your life could have been longer if you’d had access to gender-inclusive medical care. How early your tick bit could have been caught and treated before you developed Lyme Disease. How even if it hadn’t been caught in time, you probably still would have been able to achieve a higher quality of life had you been able to reach out to a physician knowing they wouldn’t mistreat you because of your gender identity and presentation.

I want to live in a world where every individual, regardless of their identity, receives healthcare as compassionate, competent, and respectful as the care my dad received this week.

My dad’s life was saved on Tuesday. I am thankful.

 

Late to The L Word, Curious about Lisa

December 2

Dear Leslie,

I’ve gotta be one of the last lesbian-ish people to start watching the The L Word, despite having known about the show for years. I previously let the show lie in the ether because I wasn’t interested in unnecessary drama, especially infidelity. Why do most lesbian shows and films feature infidelity? Anyway, my concerns with The L Word were well-founded because by the second episode a main character named Jenny had already ensnared herself in a messy affair with another woman—Marina.  Overall, however, I’ve appreciated the show for what it is, an often humorous look at fictitious wealthier, predominantly white lesbians and bisexual women in southern California. Predictably, I’m attracted to Shane, but I have been curious about Lisa, the lesbian-identified man Alice dates in season one, and troubled by Alice and the other characters’ reactions to Lisa’s identities.

Here are some questions I have:

Does Lisa identify herself as a woman or man? What are her/his pronouns? (S)he identifies as a lesbian, but does she also identify as a man, or is that an identity everyone else places on her?

Is Lisa trans?

Are Alice and the other characters transphobic towards Lisa? Regardless of the answer to this, is their treatment of Lisa’s identities problematic?

Consider Episode 7 of Season 1 in which Alice and Lisa have sex during a party on Harry’s boat. Lisa wants to use a strap-on, but Alice impatiently laughs at that and comments something along the lines, “You have the real thing. I want you to use it.” Lisa does not want to make love that way, but Alice still reaches for Lisa’s penis, coercing her into sexual intercourse without the strap-on. Afterwards, Lisa is upset and clearly feels Alice did not honor Lisa’s identities and preferences.

If Lisa identifies as a man rather than a woman, I don’t know what to make of her lesbian identity. Like Alicia, Bette, Tina, Dana, and the others, I’m stumped. But as gender and sexuality are infinitely complex with countless identities and experiences of different identities, shouldn’t Lisa’s preferences be honored?

It would be easy to laugh at a man calling himself a lesbian, but perhaps Lisa’s character on The L Word compels more critical thinking about gender, sexuality, and the ways in which we treat each other, regardless of whether we or our lovers identify with the genders we were assigned at birth.

My Journey in Gender as a Genderqueer Scamp (not complete but I’m also still breathing)

November 5

Dear Leslie,

Did you ever watch V for Vendetta? Given your class activism, I wouldn’t be surprised if you also liked it. I still recite “Remember, remember the fifth of November….” in my head every November and I’m still such a fan of Natalie Portman shaving her head. But that’s all an aside; it just seemed appropriate to say something given the date. What I’m really here to ramble about is growing up inside/outside of the binary. I must write more often than I think I do, because tonight I found this lengthy piece (sans another page) buried in Word—I wrote it July 27.

The hasty title was “Transgender Awareness.” Here it is:

I got a haircut today. I get them occasionally after putting them off for months—no small feat when your hair is short and grows shaggier everyday. Sometimes it’s just financial reasons why I delay visiting a salon or barbershop. Mostly though, it’s gender-related anxiety. But when I was a kid, haircuts were better than candy. Better than the cool watermelons my dad still handpicks every summer from different grocery stores. As good as a rush as anything. I’d practically salivate for the opportunity to plop myself in my hairstylist’s black swivel chair and go on a hair journey with her. In third grade, I buzzed the hair above my neck. That bob with a twist, you know? A bob with a shaved neck so my hair was soft or poky, depending on how one touched me. My classmates eagerly pet the base of my head, excited at how different it was. When I was on my way out of my eleventh year, I finally chopped off my hair. It was Kelley’s first time cutting my hair and I wonder if she ever had a smile as big as mine in her chair. I’d wanted to cut off my hair for so long.

I’m not going to go through all the years of my life or all of my clothing choices and haircuts in the past 13 years. Gender isn’t hair and hair isn’t gender—not for me, anyway. Hair is just one way I express myself, and because hair has been shoved into and cultivated in the gender binary, I am pretty keen on using my blonde medium to express myself. I’ve grown my hair past my shoulders (and felt awfully strange), shaved my head, gotten an undercut, multiple faux hawks, and let it grow shaggy. The shaggy look is as much of a statement as anything, whether anyone reads it or not. Mostly I think, “I’m cool being me. Not gonna bullshit with the binary. Not trying to fit on any side of any line. Just doing me.”

As a kid, I was easily upset while clothes shopping. Agitation was a cloud over the children’s clothing sections as I moseyed up and down the racks and shelves in Target and Fred Meyer. I’d admire the silky, bright girls bikini-style underwear, scowl at all shirts emblazoned “Princess” “Daddy’s Girl” and “100% Angel,” then intentionally wander into the boys section. Sometimes I’d march. Sometimes I’d casually stray. Whatever the rhythm of my steps, I did my best to communicate to anyone who might see me that I had a mission. I wasn’t there by mistake.

I could say a lot about my journey in gender. Describe the shame and joy I felt about wearing bright, flowery clothing; long cardigans, skirts, and dresses. I could tell you that in elementary school, it wasn’t cool to wear “girl” clothes aka dresses and skirts so most designated- and self-identified girls did not wear them. They might be teased or shamed by other girls. I internalized that shame. That insecurity in femininity even while joy bloomed at wearing the right skirt or dress. Lace, velvet, polyester, cotton, whatever. I had my stone cold machismo down young. Don’t want to appear weak? Crush those urges to wear that clothing.

So silly. Because I was the kid being mistaken for a boy every day. I reveled in it even while saying, “Nope, I’m a girl.” And I got to the point where I happily wore whatever kind of clothing any day, with a few exceptions. “Girl” clothing, “Boy” clothing, whatever. I did me. And for the most part, I was good. Some people lock their identities in chambers. I think I do that with some stuff, certainly some adventure dreams, but I’ve been digging through dirt, busting knuckles, inhaling minerals and organic matter for some time now and I’ll keep going. When it comes to attire, I’ve been real with myself (yet accepted limited choices due to my size). I don’t know if that’s because I’m stubborn as anybody else in my family, or because I’m undisciplined—unwilling to bend outside of my comfort zone.

I don’t think it’s all that comfortable to always be myself. I just don’t have the patience to be anything else.

When I was twelve and realized I had feelings for a girl, my world collapsed in on itself then swelled. I was terrified, thrilled, and infatuated. And while the infatuation wasn’t ideal and unrequited feelings (and closeted feelings) aren’t anything I’d recommend, feeling beautiful because I felt so strongly for another human being was special.

When I was 17 years old and sitting in the passenger seat of a car driven by the boy I had a crush on, I didn’t feel like a love-torn girl. Despite my best friend sharing it was painfully obvious I had feelings for this boy (thanks, Rach) with a laugh after my confession and, “Roses are red, the sky is blue, and Emily loves ______”, it didn’t feel like a regular ridiculous crush to me or something to pursue.

The reasons:

  • I’d been in “love”, or adolescent infatuation before (let’s not belittle these feelings, but simply recognize that I’d later experience mutual attraction in a relationship and it was less intense, more open, still awkward, and lovely), and knew that whatever I was feeling was not the same. Some depth was missing. Probably because he was a boy.
  • I felt inferior to him and like a joke—–like, obviously he and everyone else knew I had a crush and whew, not ideal. Right?
  • Sitting in the passenger seat in his driveway that night, I felt my long hair, my bangs clipped back, felt my kinda girl-ish clothing, and felt myself float out of my body, knowing instinctually that I wasn’t right for the situation. There would be no boy + girl thing between us.
  • I wasn’t a girl.
  • I wasn’t a boy, either.
  • I was just awkward and out of sorts of regular gender designations.
  • He was smart, muscular, driven, community-oriented, and smiled nice when he meant it. But he was on a track machines would never glide me toward.
  • My feelings for cis-gendered males only went so deep. But even beyond that, I couldn’t do a hetero relationship because I existed outside of female.

If you befriend an alien does it fall into another category? What happens when unknown becomes known and other becomes our?

If people become more informed about gender as a construction and female and male as socialized identities, will more people recognize, understand, and honor other identities? Will I stop being a casual or uncomfortable alien?

Chances are extremely good I am an overly self-centered individual at this period in my life with far too much concern for identity. Some of this concern may be selfish, because there are so many other things I could be pondering—like when Shaun the Sheep will return to Netflix, how to best facilitate criminal justice reform as a 23 year-old white person, how to make or purchase an affordable little free library, and so on. Solid ideas that must come to fruition. But I’m going to be real:

The gender binary (and its associated privileges and oppressions) is not healthy and upholding it as a natural fact of life without even exploring other realities and histories poses harm to those who exist within and outside of the gender binary of man and woman.

I’m not getting any younger here. I can’t return to the boys’ section of target to shop for basketball shorts and cargo pants. I’m at an age where I’m expected to find serious employment and dress business professional. I’m at an age where people date. I’m at an age post-puberty where my gender has been decided for me both because of what was between my legs at birth and because my chest and waist followed suit and grew in ways cis-gendered males’ chests and waists do not. Choices have already been made for me. In clothing shops, hair magazines, sports teams. You’re one or the other. If your body has got a certain type of equipment, you’re supposed to be that gender. (If you’re intersex, the challenges are undoubtedly greater.)

I can’t fit into “men’s” clothes as a petite, 5’5” estrogen-high human. I experience anxiety attacks in thrift stores and department stores at the abundance of “women’s” clothing. Not simply because I’m disinterested in wearing most clothing in the store, but because it’s assumed that I’m a woman. And that that’s the kind of clothing I want to wear. I’d probably feel more comfortable wearing some of the dresses or skirts or blouses that cause my breath to grow faint if I wasn’t afraid of people mistaking me for something I’m not. I could completely happily wear those clothing items (provided I approved of the style and cut), if I also had access to form-fitting blazers, t-shirts, and quality flannel. Pants with pockets as the rule, not the exception.

It’s been two years since I last identified as “girl” or “woman.” Genderqueer, nonbinary, transgender, and queer are the words I use for myself. I’ll explain how I happened upon those terms at another time. The reason I didn’t stop identifying as a girl in 2nd or 5th grade is because I didn’t have the words for it. I didn’t know I could be something else.

I was fighting something I didn’t have a name for in my determination to simply be myself.

I’m tired of fighting. I’m exhausted of being guilty at my nerves, fatigue, and discontent. But I’m also not interested in forcing smiles and laughter when I have reason to be upset.

Not everything is peaches and cream. I don’t even like peaches and cream—I’m glad they exist and other people enjoy eating that sweet treat, by not everything is peaches and cream. Sometimes outrage and melancholy is necessary. Discontent needs to be broadcasted.

Joy and sass with ourselves needs to be broadcasted too. I’m happy to be genderqueer and queer. If we do live multiple lives, I’d be delighted to come back queer in both gender and sexuality.

For Jess

October 28

Dear Leslie,

Today I’m writing Jess from Stone Butch Blues. Here is a letter I scribbled in August and added to today:

Dear Jess,

Even if we were alive and living in the same era within two decades of each other, I wouldn’t expect your gaze to land on me and remain—or minutes or weeks later, seek out my face again. Not with pleasure.I don’t fit that butch/femme binary. My existence would disturb you.  My attraction to you or any other butch would cause you alarm. I am not a Theresa, Millie, Ed, Jan, Peaches, Ruth, or even Frankie. Neither am I a college lesbian saying the revolution disallows any woman who looks like a man. Lesbian has a sophisticated ring to it, but I prefer to dress casually and was never much committed to jewelry; I stopped wearing rings years ago when I feared they weighed my wrists with constriction. And I’m not trying to exclude anyone from efforts for a better living.

Instead, I linger between day and night wondering how I could possibly call myself a lesbian when it connotes words and experiences I do not take refuge in. Woman loving woman remains foreign to me post-adolescent discovery and complicated celebration of learned identity. Today I am simply a human loving other humans—occasionally. Chivalry unnerves me but I’m pro holding doors for everybody. I think extreme femininity (high femme) and masculinity (hard butch) scare me, as do relationships which adhere to heteronormativity, regardless of the individuals’ gender identities—they make me feel distant from others, asexual, agender, and floating in my own body. Even as I know intellectually folks of all types and stripes love and lust after each other,  not seeing it regularly leaves nonbinary living and loving more foreign to most folks than Mars.

This isn’t criticism, Jess. Just commentary. I think we both want some certainty in our lives. Doing what we can to make sense of our identities—passing our own personal laws about who we are and what’s right for us and others we think are like us—can offer comfort. It’s easier to live life “knowing” you are a woman or she-he or butch who loves feminine women or _______. It’s more difficult realizing maybe we know less about ourselves and the nature of love than we think we do, and accepting that uncertainty. Frankie’s love for other butches, for example, deeply disturbed you. I was confused in high school when I experienced a couple crushes on cis-male classmates because I was “gay.” Considering dating a feminine* cis-woman terrifies me because I don’t consider myself attracted to “women.” I want the security of who I can be attracted to, but suspect if I relaxed I might realize I have the ability to love far more people than I realize—and could weather it. The thing that disturbs me the most when considering a relationship with a more “feminine” person is not knowing how I would fit in the relationship as a nonbinary/genderqueer person. My teasing, light steps, and laughter in romantic affairs often stems from my femininity or something I’ve mistakenly associated with the binary. If I was in a relationship with a femme-identified person, I feel that that joyful energy would disappear. I don’t see a place for it. I don’t see how it could exist outside of a relationship with a more androgynous person. But perhaps this worry is unnecessary. Why not just let down some walls and meet new experiences if/when they come?

I ramble, but I’ll put order these thoughts into more sensical formations in time.

*I still have problems with the words “feminine” and “masculine” because I feel both are constructed. I use them because the words communicate information most people understand about the gender binary/stereotypes.

What’s in a Name

October 3

Dear Leslie,

Names are powerful. I’ve written about this before in regards to gender identity and the names we are given at birth on my invisible About page, amongst other places. On my other blog, I shared a poem called Emily, which plays with my complicated relationship with my first name. It’s incredible what effects the names we call ourselves or others call us (or the pronouns and nouns used in reference to us) can have on our sense of self. When people use the correct names in a respectful manner, we may feel seen. Present.

I have a lot of nicknames both as an Emily and carrier of a unique last name. During any given week, I hear many variations of my names, or am addressed with entirely different, yet no less valid nicknames. Through all these names, those collections of letters and syllables, I am the same and yet also different person to so many. Meeting new folks is always interesting, especially in regards to names exchanged; sometimes I catch myself wondering which to offer. As someone who is usually upbeat but formal during introductions, I share my first name. When others are doing the introducing, I find myself a spectator on the bleachers, wondering which name of mine will sail through the air and be tossed to the other team.

I’ve always been protective of one of my nicknames because of how vulnerable it makes me feel. It’s mostly reserved for my youth soccer team and two of my cousins. It’s a softer and sweet contraction of my first name and I associate it with affectionate mutual love and understanding. I feel playful, seen, and loved when my teammates, their families, and my cousins call me this name. Naturally, I don’t let just anyone call me this. It’s a matter of self-protection. Because the name carries a level of intimacy, I don’t share it with strangers, acquaintances, or even most friends. Maybe this sounds strange, but I feel like it would give them the power to hurt me. To misuse that name would be a betrayal of trust.

I used to shift uncomfortably when friends introduced me to others as as “Emi.” I wanted to correct them, or just offer “Emily” to the other person instead. I could tell my friends, “I’m only Emi to you. I’m not that person for others.” My beliefs remain largely the same on this. My gut reaction to being introduced this way is alarm and discomfort at being so exposed. For the most part, I would prefer to be regarded and addressed as one of my more common names.

Yet, I’ve also noticed something beautiful. When one of my friends whom I met through several mutual soccer friends calls me by this nickname, it is with the same level of warmth and love shared by the teammates I grew up laughing with and passing the ball with as a kid. Although I was first offput by the ease with which she called me Emi, I find myself touched. I call her the nickname our friends shared with me. And somehow, even though we did not grow up with each other, even though we were not part of the same circles and forming the same memories, we have bridged some of those divides just by sharing friends and using these names for each other. What a gift.

In light of these revelations and the tragic mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in my state this week, I remind myself that we need to come together as individuals and communities rather than erect or buttress more walls to divide us from each other. We should never deny ourselves or others the right to love or be loved, as long as the love is considerate. There are many shades of love—different ways to show our respect, understanding, support, and affection for others. We have had so many mass shootings in this country—so many individuals whom for whatever reason, feel isolated, misunderstood, numb, or just hateful. I don’t know what all causes someone to cut others down, but I do know that we can better reach out to each other. We can actively appreciate those around us through genuine greetings, and respect for their beings. We can be brave and allow others to hold our names and even lives in their arms, hoping that they will honor us as we honor them.

Sometimes there are beautiful benefits to allowing ourselves to be vulnerable —Brene Brown describes how in her powerful TED Talk. It is through pushing through initial discomfort that we often find ourselves grow. The courage to try new things and be open with others is unspeakably important if we are to transcend fears and prejudices which can hurt ourselves and others.

Perhaps we should surprise ourselves sometimes by letting others use our names.

Kid Girl Woman Human

September 13

Leslie,

I want to be able to say, “when I was a little girl.” I want to be able to say, “when I was a little girl” without people assuming that I identify as a girl now. Because I want to be able to talk about my childhood and take ownership of my childhood in the names and identities I grew up in without betraying who I am now.

I don’t want to give up the home of my childhood or be shoved into one that is far too tight and uncomfortable for me now.

I want the comfort but not the dysphoria. Here are the things I bite my tongue to stop myself from saying:

When I was a little girl, my best friend was a cat named Charlie. I was by her side when she gave birth to her first litter. I was 5 and I knew from the wind in her eyes what was coming. When I was a little girl, all the cats in my neighborhood approached the sidewalk as I walked by. They don’t any longer because I am no longer that little girl radiating special energy.

When I was a little girl, I was a rebel. The kind who sat up straight and followed instructions but was just as antsy for recess and OUTSIDE as anybody else. I bit the buttons off my red sweater on the top of the playground’s volcano to prove I wasn’t tame.

When I was a little girl, I folded a lot of origami. When I was a little girl, I brought my paper shopping bag full of snowflakes with me to the neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant because I didn’t want to be apart from them. I forgot them beneath the table when we left. I still feel sad.

I wore puffy purple jackets as a young girl. A perfect parade of puffy purple jackets. I loved my coats very much.

I refer to myself as a kid frequently. Refer to myself as a present-day kid, a never-gonna-grow-up kid, but instead take-charge-throw-it-down kind of get-stuff-done-when-I’m in-my-element person. Don’t mistake my scrubbiness for flubbing it.

Because I don’t see myself as a woman. I am not a woman. I will not grow up to be a woman.

And I am not sophisticated enough to call myself adult.

But I don’t want to recollect my childhood as a “kid” when that word wasn’t always my main home.

Give me “girl” for these select memories. But please don’t mistake it for more.