I’ve written a lot about my childhood to you, collating in writing the spirits I had bore at the time when air was fresh to my nose. I’ve dropped attributes I had possessed those times to fit into skirts and blouses, gowns and fancy earrings. I’ve not just grown, I’ve twisted and turned to fit my gender. It is praiseworthy sometimes.
I loved being a tomboy, hanging out with boys, tapping paper soccer and watching the real games with them too. I enjoyed not having to think about wearing makeup or what my face looked like to others, sagging my shorts which my mum bitterly complained about. She always called me “onye ike slippers” (some person with a bottom as flat as a pair of slippers). I’d laugh that moment and sag again the next. It became me as I was likened to “boyish” activities. I “ewwwed” at every gist with my elder sister involving dating boys, wearing heavy makeup or doing “girly” things. I never got along with my sister to be honest. My brothers were my best friends. This was my childhood until I began craving the other side.
As you grow, the circle of tolerance by others regarding what can be overlooked as a child/adolescent becomes tighter. People make you aware of being the odd one, they mount pressure on change, on fitting in, on just being accepted. They remind you of adventures within your personality that needs unlocking. As a teenager, I never really believed in doing things alone or being the only voice advocating for a particular notion. I was scared of walking alone literally. I’d move in cliques, have a best friend or two, have a community of people that enjoyed what I did and respect them enough. This unredeeming circles of pressure on self to “be with” changed me to some extent but not entirely.
The cut in “girlhood” felt like being half naked in the midst of a crowd. Challenging myself to become the girl I’m expected to, cutting guy friends off and forcing myself to relate with these other girls. I was very stern with me upon getting into uni. It almost seemed revolutionary when in such transcension I always have someone remind me of my old self. As a cancer, I kept books I had written in throughout my teenage years, I hoarded my favourite medals and pictures of my teenage friends. I felt safe in the “cut” nonetheless I lost vital parts of me that still take me back to my childhood and teenage years.
I’ve managed to preserve some behavioural patterns. I understand a typical tomboy and a girl transcending from that. I value the opposite sex as much as I value myself, although narcissistic sometimes, I place value in people working hard to do well for themselves as I understand the challenges in being autodidactic. I reward my instincts and choose with my heart most times which is nearly always a fragile decision in the world we live in. Overall, I embrace being this girl with “boyish” attitudes. It’s a safe haven for my kind.
Dyna Ekwueme Copyright, 2018.
Picture gotten from- Pinterest