March 21, 2012 § Leave a comment
Linnea Due addresses the issue of concealing identities in her article, “Growing Up Hidden” that primarily focus on sexuality. She reminisces of her younger childhood, being told that her rambunctious attitudes and desire to marry women were shot down as being too abnormal. She tells readers of her own attempts to mask her identity with nylon, make-up, and copious amounts of alcohol-induced memory loss. Regardless of the intensity of the situation, or even if I’ve experienced something like it, stories like Due’s always gets to me.
While reading Due’s story, I was reminded of an instance in my childhood. I was in a daycare ministry and talking to one of the staff. I had to have been in elementary school by then and we were talking about how, when all girls grow up, they want to be with boys and get married and have lots of babies. It shocked me because I had no desire to do any of that; it sounded like torture. One of the staff members just chuckled and said, “Don’t worry. All normal girls grow up and eventually get out of this tomboy stage.” I don’t think she meant to make me feel weird, but she suddenly made me realize my own gender. And I hated it. But I smiled and nodded and wandered off.
And after that, until high school, I pretended I wasn’t interested in girls. On the sly I dated a girl on and off for about 5 years, but because she was also on the DL (down low), she dated boys while dating me. Like Due, I ended up participating in a lot of illegal activities. I was never satisfied with myself and I always felt like I wasn’t worth as much as all my girlfriend’s boyfriends. I’ve probably affected my health the worst just from those years.
Now I’m more open with myself. I do still lie about myself in some situations, but not about liking girls. (As bad as stereotypes are, it’s hard to NOT notice I like girls). I’ll lie for my own protection at times, or to make sure I’m professionally stable, but it’s not as bad as it was before. And I feel better. Like Due, the feeling of not having to cover myself up is great. I’m not as ready to be as open as she claimed to be, but it’s still nice.