In kindergarten, I thought the girls in my class were annoying. So, on the appointed day, I brought a raw egg to school so I could join the boys in throwing eggs the girls. I wanted in on this plan to demonstrate my distaste for the silly, giggly girls and to prove that I certainly wasn’t one of them. Alas – or luckily, because surely there would have been repercussions – my egg was squished in my jacket pocket before it could complete its mischievous mission.

In the 4th grade I said, “I want to be a boy,” because boys could do cool things like play baseball.

In middle school school, I wanted – someday – to have a cool flattop haircut like my mom described boys having in the 50s.

In early high school, I wanted to be cool and look like River Phoenix in Stand By Me.

I wanted a derby jacket.

I wanted high top Air Jordans.

In college, my roommate summed up room decor as “Peter Brady.” (picture of my actual bedspread)

Fits and starts at embracing my femininity followed. It wasn’t excessively uncomfortable for me, but I consistently felt at least mildly awkward, with notable peaks of severe discomfort. Clothes shopping was stressful and I was always striving to fit an ideal of what I thought I ought to look like. By my mid-20s, life took over and I settled into my relationship. We got a dog. I pursued my career. A decade or so passed until, in my late-30s/early 40s, I started to catch on to new words and expressions for gender identities beyond the “man/woman” binary. Thanks to the millennial generation embracing more varied sexual and gender identities, the Interwebs were filling with folks expressing their true selves. “Genderqueer” and “non-binary” immediately felt just right for describing myself. My internal sense of gender identity was sorted. Figuring out how it fit into my presentation an my life… I think that is a lifelong quest.

Young person with blonde hair with bangs laughing- circa 1979-80.
Me in the 3rd grade.

21 thoughts on “It All Started Before I Knew It Was Beginning

  1. Laurel this is interesting and well written. I love it! Thank you for sharing. I have teenagers around all the time. These are topics they discuss regularily. I appreciate the adult insights. I love you squeeky#3 [?]!!!

  2. Wow! That egg story cracked me up. Made me wonder how you explained the messy pocket later to whomever was doing the laundry. Well written blog. Thank you for sharing. Love you bunches.

    1. LOL! It was definitely Mom doing the laundry – I have no memory of how things went down at home after “operation egg-squish!” Love you bunches back!

  3. Love the blog, Laurel! I have vivid memories of you when you were younger and I don’t recall anything other than you being a happy curious kid. I love that you have found, and can love the real you, no matter what haircut you have.

  4. Laurel, I can totally relate. There wasn’t a lot of room for gender fluidity in our tender years, and I remember being labeled “unfeminine” and resenting that. I always wondered what feminine was….

    Looking forward to more from you.

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