That is me, at maybe 9 years old, a few years older then Twirl is now. I was completely gender nonconforming. If it wasn't jeans and a tshirt, I wasn't interested. I was outside for most of my day, running through the woods and riding bikes, playing basketball and skateboarding. My toy interests… He-Man, Transformers, space shuttles and Nintendo. I wanted to be an astronaut more than anything in the world, and Sally Ride was my hero. I wrote her a letter and she sent me back a signed 8x10.
So when people ask me if I think Twirl will be embarrassed with me showing photos of him, I am really taken aback. This photo is in a frame in my parents house and always has been. When I see it, I love it. It was me, totally me. I don't mind my school photos where I am more dressed up, but they don't show my day to day life, they don't show me comfortable in my element. When I tell my son it's ok to be who he is and like what he likes I truly mean it, not just inside our house.
someone is trying to be a little more fabulous than his siblings
Twirl, Firecracker and Tornado
I understand that there are battles he doesn't want to fight. I understand that conforming in some case can just be easier then stressing about comments or having the energy to give yet another explanation. I remember getting so mad at people thinking I was a boy, at the same time I wanted to look like one. I know it sounds confusing, but I liked what I liked, short hair, jeans and tshirts and not pink ones, but ones with a big NASA logo, map or skateboards. Those are just things, I got frustrated that they were for boys only because I liked them.
My parents were pretty great. There were definitely times where I had to wear dresses and nicer more girl clothing, but all in all they let me be me. My hair was a bit of a battle. For a few years I really really wanted spiky hair. This was definitive no from my parents. Once I took matters into my own hands. I had been watching Who's the Boss and saw Danny Pintauro's awesome side spike. I thought well, if I can keep some long with my bowl cut but underneath have some short, I can side spike it when I am home alone and no one will know. I grabbed some scissors, went to the bathroom and got to work. I remember looking in the mirror when I was done and it looking very cool, but I also remember Scooby Doo being scary and Punky Brewster being totally realistic. This worked for a few weeks but when we went to get my next haircut I was so nervous. I was terrified that the stylist would point out that I had all these random cut pieces and I was going to be in so much trouble. To my knowledge nothing was said to her and they never found out. Until now.
I don't want Twirl to have to hide anything.
My hope for Twirl is that I, along with his awesome dad, can make him confident enough to like what he likes. Whether that is fashion, dance or sparkly shoes. I have talked with him a lot about what life was like when I was a kid, so he knows I can understand a little of what he goes through. Though he can't understand why I possibly would choose He-man over My Little Pony.