As a child, my most guarded secret was my desire to be a boy. I wouldn’t dare let anyone know what I wanted. It was dangerous being that audacious. If my dreams were discovered, I’d be ridiculed, dragged into humiliation. I couldn’t bare being taken back there. Yet everyday, without my consent and with dread this most private yearning was revealed. My male body betrayed the secret.
To this day I have reservations talking about it. I haven’t done a great job at explaining myself. It’s easy to assign my feelings to a sense of inadequacy or inferiority. Those conditions imply a place on the spectrum. I was removed from the light.
It didn’t make any sense. The disconnect was baffling and maddening. I couldn’t think about it without my head splitting. I existed in a constant short circuit, never turning off. It was a nightmare without a scream. I only wanted to belong as a boy, with boys. The pain was overwhelming. Luckily the confusion became a numbing agent. Certain situations would focus in on it, so much of a child’s life is organized around gender. But I became skilled at quickly slipping back into the weird balance of the null.
Of course I couldn’t talk about it. It’s orbit was too close to the vast silence of the assault. In fact, that was it’s origins. The public humiliation stripped me of the right to claim boyhood. I was branded less than, I was shown to be other than a boy. Any assertion to the contrary always brings me back to that defeating moment.
Can I ever convert my damaged self perception to my reality? I believe I can. As an outsider, I’ve seen how gossamer belonging truly is. It’s fragile and skittish. But this quest isn’t about finding my place in a tribe of men. It’s about belonging in my body, this magnificent machine that has carried me all these years. My pursuit of an ideal physique isn’t as much to admonish as it is to celebrate it. I am finally forging my desires into my identity. In the process I am allowing myself to belong, unique and equal.