Note: This is an excerpt of an 'autobiography' I've started writing. I have no immediate plans to release it but it's been interesting to try writing about what I remember from my experiences growing up.
When 4th grade came along, we changed schools again because a brand new elementary school opened up that was closer than the one I had attended for the last bit of 3rd grade. I don’t remember a whole lot about friend groups but they definitely changed. The one friend I do remember was my best friend Amie. We met in fourth grade and were close through 6th grade until we went to Middle School and she suddenly seemed to realize that our friendship was plagued by my secret crush on her.
But let’s back up to 5th grade. I didn’t spend a lot of time out at recess on the playgrounds instead helping in the library but once in a while I would go out. One such time, I was hanging out with Amie, not by the playgrounds but all the way across the school campus by the basketball courts. It was a windy, cloudy day; the kind you expect in Seattle. We must have been bouncing a ball against the wall or something and casually talking. She was wearing her iconic grey hoodie and her dirty blonde hair was cut in a boyish bob haircut.
“You know what?” she asked without pausing, “I sometimes wish I was a boy.”
“Oh yeah?” I asked, surprised.
“Yeah, “ she answered, “I mean they get more chances to play sports and stuff, I guess.”
“Oh..gotcha.” I thought and then blurted out, “Well I wish I was a girl.”
There was probably more shock in myself than in Amie’s face. Why had I said that? It had been almost a foreign thought from completely left field, maybe straight from my subconscious. I don’t think I'd even really shared that thought with myself before, let alone anyone else.
“Why is that?” she asked, curiously.
“Um, er — I….don’t know really.” I stammered, my face feeling hot with embarrassment, “I just do.”
When it comes down to it, how else do you explain something like that? I mean there are benefits and disadvantages to both sexes and Amie had expressed one of her own but I wasn’t expressing a desire as much as a feeling. Somewhere, deep in the very core of who I was I felt 'female’ despite being told for the first decade of my life that I was a boy. And unfortunately, I was stuck. That was the lot that life had given me, no matter how I felt inside.
Amie shrugged and we continued bouncing the ball off the wall. In that moment, there was no judgement between us, just a mutually satisfiying moment of silence as our adolescent brains absorbed this new information about each other and about the opposite sex in general.
Later on, I would justify my statements to myself saying I had simply said such things to compliment her own sentiments as a part of my ‘crush’ on her. Yet shouldn’t I just have agreed with her about boys and been happy that I had the privilege she was hoping for? And I would then go further with it trying to convince myself that I didn’t want to be a girl because of things like pregnancy and periods…..I mean who would want any of that anyway? I would learn to take on the attitude that I was 'lucky to be a guy'. It’s amusing to me that I had to put so much effort and thought into it though. The lady doth protest too much.