There were a number of places to pull from when this topic came up and it was time to talk about my own issues. Do I choose the fact that being half black caused me to sit in the bathroom as a kid wishing for nothing more than to be a million shades lighter? Yes, it’s true. It took years to accept being black, and even longer to feel like my hair was a gift instead of a curse. So note all you Beckys with the “good hair” complaining – calm down, because I can assure you there is some little nappy-haired girl sitting in her room begging her mom to straighten it for her birthday. Then of course I could talk about weight, but we’re going to go in on that next week. So I went with the one thing that still makes me a little uncomfortable. Mostly when I have to show ID. One of the many reasons I hate going anywhere 21+.
Dresses and pretty up-dos were my life throughout kindergarten. Then my brother was born, my mom had to work more and I realized it was much easier to be low maintenance. Ushered in was the tomboy version of myself. While she’s still inside me today as I think makeup is a waste, and my giant feet makes shopping for anything but Chucks and Vans make me feel like a broke ass drag queen, I eventually found my way back into dresses though, but what a journey it was.
Realizing late in life that I had a head of lovely curls, my hair spent most of my life pulled back, gelled down and moussed out. Looking back, it was awful, an abomination. So with my hair forever slicked back and my lack of makeup, I was called a boy a number of times. Many of them remaining in the back of my head to this day. From the girl who mistook me for a dude during that summer I spent at a college outreach program at UCR to a security guard at CSUN to every single person who has to check my ID and sees 18-year-old me, and they think to themselves – is she trying to use her brother’s card?
Appearing masculine since childhood made me feel extremely insecure, and one of the results of that was being uncomfortable in any store advertised as feminine. Up until about five or so years ago, I would have never have stepped into a Forever 21 without a friend who was obviously a girl because I didn’t want a salesperson to assume I was a clueless guy looking for a birthday gift for my woman. Thankfully though, that has passed and today I can walk into Forever without feeling like a true outsider. That’s great too, because they have such amazingly cheap clothes.