Stephanie

I was a little girl from two teens. My father was a freshman. My mom was a sophomore. I was still a well-loved baby. Even when my dad refused to grow up, my mom balanced school, work, and bills for me. She gave me everything I wanted. I was a princess, a scientist, a ballerina, an astronaut. The world was mine.

As I grew up, I saw my dad more often, and I learned to love power tools. Drills, hammers, screws – they were all the coolest. Birdhouse were created and disassembled and put back together. I helped dad change a tire when I was just a tween. Well, I had a baby brother, who got older, and suddenly tools were not mine. I was to clean and do dishes, cook, bake, fold laundry, and “pick up after the men.” I was set in my place, and I adjusted fairly easily to that.

Something remained in me. Some little piece outside of my gender role had embedded itself in my skin that I could not shake. I like being dressy, but I also loved fixing things in the house, riding dirt bikes and four wheelers – I just loved everything. Specific activities ceased to conform to specific genders in my mind any longer. Things in my love life were still fairly awkward though. I recall liking this sentimental little boy in a class of mine. They would always make fun of him for being so feminine. I also recall in that same class admiring a rather tough girl who enjoyed play fighting with me. She’d let me practice my throw against her abs. I ended up loving tomboys more.

Fast forward to the break before entering high school. I had an unofficial girlfriend. I just called it love, not lesbianism. I was in complete denial that our make-out games and exploring were something that I knew as strange and taboo. She became the worst part of my life. By only freshmen year, I was being used for sex on the weekends. I would offer to watch movies, play games, and go out to hang out like friends do. Yet, I always found myself naked and awake, wondering how the hell I got here. Why I submitted to her demands. It was so sour…but she was the man in my eyes. She held the dominance that I learned to submit to all those years ago as a kid. She was also the only friend I had. Who knew lesbianism wouldn’t go over well in an all-girls Catholic school in conservative Louisiana? P.E was rough. Girls called us freaks. Even seniors, whose faces held no resemblance in my memory, called me ugly names. They told me awful things, but I thought, “As long as we’re still together, I still have a friend and a reason to stay here.”

As I lost my ability to handle my relationship, I met a new girl. Stuck in the closet and confused, I gave her advice. I had no place to give any sort of good advice, but she had no one else she could go to. She became a good friend, a confidant in my darkest times. We began dating once I finally ended my bad relationship. She likes skateboarding and the ukulele. She enjoys four wheelers and Kurt Vonnegut. She’s a lovely little gift of fate that I cherish every day.

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