I remember staring at my dirty little size 12 feet after running through the streets and building forts with my younger brother and his friends. I remember how grand it all was (it being this thing we call life, though I didn’t have a word for it then). As I grew, my Momma was persistently trying to mind my awkward habit of sitting with my legs open in a dress and mold me into a lady, which I fought and insisted on playing with boys. I enjoyed the feeling of my heart racing because of the physical sport of playing and later enjoyed again the same racing beats from innocent glances that reflected my admiration.
People around me were convinced I was a tomboy and admittedly I must have been one by default. I loved the way boys view politics (all of it), their taste in literature (from Hemingway to Batman), and their somewhat apathetic approach to love. However it also made me ashamed to love the things “chicks” love. I began to feel self conscious and would have to make an excuse when I felt the call to venture to a theater to watch a Jennifer Aniston movie with shame and guilt because I enjoyed it. When one of my girlfriends would fantasize about her perfect wedding, I’d smile with no quip, even though I must have dreamt the same events several times since I had black bottomed feet.
Now as a grown woman who dresses like a girl, walks one foot in front of the other like a girl, giggles like a girl, and cries tears for all happy, sad, frustrated, angry, and touching moments like a girl, I am confessing that I am a closet romantic. In order to get my fix, I used to succumb to secretly watching the corniest romantic B-rated TV movies. There were moments I would go as far as having a bowl of ice cream, a box of tissues, and the remote control in hands reach just in case. If I would get caught in reverie thinking about silly dreams of little hearts who wished one day to dance under starlight for no reason, my fast acting masculine brain would respond “oh sorry, I was just thinking about how Star Wars has made its way from popular fiction to a valid religion of good vs evil and how it really is all the same.”
The stigma that was placed in me, mostly by Korean mothers, but not excluding teachers, boys, and other girls, has made it difficult for me to embrace my femininity with the same kind of shame that makes some girls eat before a date. So I am deciding to lay it all down and confess that I love flowers, talks about love and fancy, and to be swept off my feet as such a scene from Breakfast At Tiffany’s. I declare I will castrate my symbolic balls and attempt to read Twilight in public so that I can once and for all shed tears of delight when two lovers kiss because it really is that beautiful. Amen


2 thoughts on “The Dark Side of Being Stigmatized a Tomboy

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