Called a "tomboy" as a child, I accepted who I really was when at 60.
|ON BEING A "TOMBOY"................QUESTIONING NO MORE
They called me a "Tomboy" and I let it swish by my ear as if I didn't care. But I did care. My name was Ann and I wanted to be seen as a girl, not a "Tom". Maybe that's the reason I loved the nickname lovingly given by my grandparents. It was nice being called, "Annie Girl." It made me feel like the girl that I was.
During those girlhood days, I preferred to work outdoors instead of inside the house with Mom. My sister preferred the housework and being indoors. As teenage girls on Saturdays, she and I were required to clean the house and do the laundry. Both were major jobs because the housework meant everything from mopping the floor to dusting the furniture for a family of six.
Those same Saturdays in the 1950's, doing the laundry meant gathering the dirty clothes and linens from the house, sorting them into appropriate piles in the garage, using the old-fashioned washing machine to wash and rinse many loads of clothes, hanging them on the clothesline, cleaning the garage while they dried, gather them into the house, folding and then putting everything in its normal place. The only part of that job I didn't like was taking them into the house and putting them away. I preferred to be outside.
From my earliest experiences at school, I loved athletics...and I was always the best player at school. I remember third grade when my friend Jo and I played outdoor basketball and softball with the boys. We were in a rural 2-room schoolhouse with 8 grades together and the boys were glad to have me play on their team.
What I have just written were the things that made me what "they" called a "Tomboy." But, I was a girl. I was "Annie Girl."
I remember a special girlfriend in third grade. Her name was also, Ann. I had special feelings for her then, have never forgotten her, and I "came out" as lesbian at age 60. I still remember those special feelings. She became my brother's girlfriend.
I remember a special girlfriend at church and school in the tenth grade. I had special feelings for her then, have never forgotten her, and I still remember those special feelings too. She became my brother's girlfriend.
All my years in high school, girls' sports were my greatest joy. I was elected an officer every year and became president of the Girls Athletic Association when I was a senior. I played on a summer women's softball team. All of those years, I had special feelings for the girl who was the president when I was in ninth grade. I still remember those special feelings too.
During all of those years, I did not understand those special feelings toward special girls of my life before high school graduation. It was great that one became my sister-in-law because we were close friends.
In those days we never heard words like "homosexual" except by inference every Thursday during those high school years. Tradition and hurtful teasing said that anyone who wore anything gree on Thursday was "that"; but the word wasn't used. I knew the word; and, I knew the accusation if I was among those who forgot and did wear green. I felt really uncomfortable on those Thursdays.
In his awareness of love of women's sports, my feelings for certain girls whom I "admired" and my fear of forgetting about green and wearing it accidentally, my father recognized that I was homosexual. "Homosexual" was the good word in the 1950's when referring to guys who love guys and gals who loved gals.
I was what in 2010 is called "questioning" because I knew that I enjoyed being with other girls, had special feelings of more than 'just friendship" with some. I wondered what all of that meant about me for me and my life. When asked about plans for marriage, I said that I wanted to stay single. I always had boys who were friends but never dated nor wanted them to be romantic toward me; and definitely, did not want their kisses or physical closeness even in games at parties. I mean games like "spin the bottle."
One day when I was 16, my father had a long talk with me and let me know that he was aware that I was one of those gals who loved gals. Being the wise World War II veteran that he was, he wanted me to understand what that awareness might mean. He asked me to keep the knowledge private because, if others knew, that I would be ostracized from my church and could never become the teacher I wanted to be.
I did as my father had suggested. I kept my feelings inside my heart and enjoyed being active in my church. In college I began to date a guy from church. He went into the military and came back during my college senior year. From the beginning, his intention was to marry me. Finally, I used those three words, "I love you" at the end of a date near college graduation, but I understood then as now, that the words were from my head, not from a romantic heart. I think I knew then which girlfriend I would rather have been saying those words to. But, it made him happy, allowed me marriage after graduation and would make my mother, my church and society happy that I was doing the right thing.
When I was sixty years of age, I decided to be the person that I always was: a lesbian. No longer the "tomboy" but who Annie Girl truly always was: a woman who loved women from a romantic heart. For the first time in my life, I was happy and at peace in my heart. Joy became mine more than ever when I met Molly. We have been together 12 years and I am glad that I am who I am.
I love my children and grandchildren and am thankful for each of them every day that I live. I am so happy that I am living who I am. I am a lesbian who has always had a romantic heart with special feelings for certain girlfriends.
For every "questioning" young person, I wish you happiness as you find your way to be exactly who you are in your heart and soul.