Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gracie Child

In my alternate reality, I would have realized the full extent of my love for ju-jitsu. I would have completely devoted myself to training under my teacher, supporting myself by working for some burger joint, slapping patties on a grill. After a few years of training and stuffing away cash, I would have moved to sunny, salty Torrance, California to train under the infamous Rorion Gracie in ju-jitsu heaven, more formally known as the Gracie Academy. Then, throughout my rigorous, devoted years of training, I would travel around the coasts, competing  against the finest female ju-jitsu players America has to offer, enjoying every passing second of community and glory. All the while supporting myself by slapping more patties, of course.

Yes, what a life. But alas, instead I am sitting here, desperately trudging through this blasted Spanish book, trying to not only understand the text, but understand what the homework assignment questions are actually asking.

Well. Eventually I’ll finish this assignment. I have to. Ju-Jitsu heaven awaits.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

social cues

I struggly, I try, but I just can't seem
to get it right.
It never came easy, this social thing.
Why are there so many rules? Why can't I just be me and you be you?
I say "hi", you say "hi", I say
"We can get along, be friends."
But no.
Too many cues, too many pauses, waits, speak,
no wait..
still pause.
Oh well.
One day I won't make a fool of myself.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mom said "no"

Recently I read an article regarding Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's daughter, Shiloh, who asked her mother that she be referred to by the name "John". Her parents have agreed, and look at this situation as an oppurtunity for their daughter to explore living as a gender other than which she was born. As I read the rest of the article, I remembered a time in my life where I too struggled with gender identity. I had almost forgotten it. It's somewhat embarassing, I don't know how common or not this issue is. But at any rate, I want to weigh in with my opinion.

When I was very young, I never really took to dolls and dresses. Santa brought me a Barbie for Christmas once, but I didn't play with it near as often as I played with toy guns and the outdoors. Many (including myself) attributed this to just being a tomboy, a girl who likes to do boy things. The defintion is not entirely untrue. But it seems to me that while many fellow tomboys like rolling around in the mud, they just as easily switch back to being a normal girl. I couldn't, or at least found it extremely difficult.

On more than one occassion, I'd wonder if God made a mistake when he made me a girl. Every other girl I knew loved pink and clothes. Not only did I not share these likes, I felt uncomfortable around them. I felt like there was something wrong with me, like I was a boy in a girl's body. Surely God meant to make me a boy.

These thoughts came in waves as I grew up. I'd try to do the girl thing, but fail and become more and more resentful of being one. I didn't get makeup, or clothes, or style, or discussion. Night after night I'd accuse God of making me wrong. Eventually, I'd wear girl clothes to church and boy clothes everywhere else. I felt more comfortable in the boy clothes, and I wished even harder that I was a boy. Instead of wearing mismatched blouses and slacks, I wished I were wearing a suit and tie. I was so unhappy with myself.

Finally, I decided that if I couldn't be an actual boy, I'd at least be one at home. Like Shiloh, I asked my mom if she could call me a boy name. But unlike Angelina Jolie, my mom said no. I was none too happy about that. I sulked and complained to God, again. She'd never understand, I thought. She didn't know it was like, how much it hurt to not fit in, to not be what it felt like I really was. Not an ounce of me wanted to be a girl.

One night changed me forever, albeit not all at once. As usual, I was lamenting of how upset I was, how God had made a mistake. But that night, God answered me, and I was quieted. I don't know how, but in the middle of my laments, I realized a simple truth: God doesn't make mistakes. He knew exactly what He was doing when He made me a girl. Before the foundations of the world were layed, He wanted me to be a girl for some purpose. This humbled me deeply. My whole life up to that point had been spent striving against God on account of my gender. I had just known that I was right and He was wrong. But that night I surrenderred the fight. I was a girl, plain and simple, for some beautiful, pefect, God-ordained reason.

Life didn't get much easier, and I really didn't get any girlier right after that. The only thing that really changed was my attitude. I was more receptive to trying. Gradually though, my wardrobe changed and I acquired makeup here and there. The girl thing slowly became easier.

Today, I still work hard at figuring out the girl thing. My wardrobe still lacks, my makeup bag is scarce, and small talk still frightens me. But I'm getting better at what God made me to be, and am finally developing a legitmate interest in developing my femininity. Going to a military college has given me the added challenge of developing strength and grace simultaneously, but I'm loving it. By God's grace, I legitmately like being a daughter, a girlfriend, a woman. 

As I watch the world tell its daughters it's OK to be a boy if you really want, I cringe. I don't cringe out of some higher sense of morality, but because I was that daughter. Every ounce of my being wanted to be something I wasn't. Today I have found fulfillment in being what I was made to be, and I wish any girl struggling as I did would realize this. We have specific reasons for being here, and God saw it fit that we should fulfill them as girls, as women, not as boys and men. He blessed me with a mom who recognized this, and honestly, kept me from going down an unfulfilling road. When I asked her to recognize me as something other than what God had perfectly made, she said no. And I thank her for it.