I was a weird girl, four years old and wild, ripping out ribbons and headbands, getting dirt on my pretty dresses. I turned walls into forests with a box of crayons, telling stories about mighty beasts that hunted and ate men. I sunk my milk teeth into the flesh of bullies, a little beast myself, screaming and vocal and as sarcastic as a four year old can be. I never wanted to be a princess, I wanted to be a dog, a tiger, an alligator, a fire-breathing dragon, something with sharp fangs and claws, something that people wouldn’t find so infuriatingly dainty and cute.
I was a weird girl, nine years old and a tomboy, solving problems with my fists, carrying rocks, broken pencils and small toys in my pockets. I spent my time with videogames, superheroes and dinosaurs, writing stories about epic adventures, distant lands and fearsome enemies. Most of my characters were boys. I figured that girls didn’t go on adventures, not the proper ones at least. It was strange for a girl to crave such things, to run and climb, to have scraped knees and dirty feet, to want to wrestle and explore, or so the other girls told me, making it clear that I did not belong with them. I did not belong with the boys either. I was stuck in between.
I was a weird girl, thirteen years old and a loner. Face buried into books, trying to distract myself from a poorly-repressed cauldron of boiling, hormone-fueled anger I kept inside me. No one ever told me being a teenage girl would be such a raw deal, that ramming a fist in the smug face of a boy who just groped me was utterly socially unnaceptable, but the groping itself was forgiven, because boys will be boys. No one told me that maturity would be a code word for passivity. No one prepared me for the sharp rise in expectations that happened seemingly overnight, and that, as my body, the traitor, grew and bled and shaped itself into something alien, I was supposed to fight it back. Cover it, trim it, pluck it, paint it, and it all felt so futile. My body was an eldritch thing. It did not want to be beautiful. I could never manage it, to turn my body into a tame, easy-to-handle, bonsai version of myself.
I was a weird girl, failed woman, half-beast, and above all, ugly. Fourteen years old and so confused, wondering why every time my best friend hugged me or held my hand I felt a surge of contradicting emotions, at the same time wanting to pull her closer and push her away, and ultimately freezing in place like a rabbit, leading her to think I just didn’t want to be touched at all.
I let her think that, because it was easier this way. I didn’t have a name for whatever the hell was happening but I knew it was wrong. I knew that something inside me was deeply, fundamentally twisted, and it was better not to think of it. I couldn’t shake it though, something wicked bubbling under my skin, begging to be let out. It made no sense. Girls don’t think of other girls like that. Girls don’t touch other girls like that. Girls don’t kiss other girls.
Well, maybe weird girls do.
And maybe weird girls can go on adventures too. Maybe weird girls can wrestle and get dirt in their clothes. Or maybe it’s not so weird to yearn to be free. Maybe it’s not so weird for a girl, weird or not, to love other girls.
And so I did.