I was never any good at being a girl.
Some girls, women, seem to emerge from the womb whole: manicured, pedicured, waxed, painted, complete. Their membership in the cult of woman, their style and shape and being, all clearly is as it should be. Done and done.
I failed Girl 101; spent so much time in remedial that I just gave up. Sleepovers and magazine kisses and given/taken manicures with glitter, sparkle, and gold…no, not me, ever and never. While my chief hobby was as ladylike as ever (classical piano), I played with the mad abandon, strength, and temperament of Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. I played like a man. I could make Bach accusative, Brahms didactic, and Chopin icily cruel. My version of Fantasie Impromptu was more Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland than Disney.
No, no good at being a girl, a lady, a woman.
So, I owned that mantel. I took my ‘boy’ crown and wore it with a pride and security that I became a prince among men – Peter Pan tousled with a Viking, a malcontent, a rabble-rouser. The stars in my eyes were pieces of a celestial treasure hunt in which I, Apollo, led. All worlds were mine; the thought to demure, to moue, never occurred to me. For that was of, and for, womankind, and I was not of that–
Until I was. Not overnight, not without snagged hair and ripped cuticles, but I did become – I was, of womankind.
I went kicking and screaming before I floated and wafted. The world changed for me – more doors opened. And yet, who I was (and remain, inside) still calls out and is answered. I will always be a prince. I can no more hide the cast of my soul than I can the cut of my jaw.
But sometimes, I am also a princess amongst those same men, and so many women. They hold doors for me, my coat, my laughter, my smiles, my arms, and my hands. They draw away when intimidated and in when invited. The slight flaring of my nostrils which tells men of my rage tells women of my interest. The rolling back of my shoulders speaks to both of the fight and the conquest as it does of the disdain and the pride.
I, suddenly, have been thrust in, and must now live, between two very different worlds. I struggle with how to engage; I struggle with the sustainability of it all.
For I know who I am…what I am. But most others don’t and when you fail to fit the construct, too often, far too often, you simply fail. Life, en masse, cannot bear the complex, the difficult. People, en masse, cannot tolerate that which is difficult to define.
I am definable only within contexts that are ever-changing. I am not denotative; I am connotation.
I am. Not of woman, not of man, not of any such simple alignments.
I simply am.