When I was a child, Gender Roles mostly meant that my brother could go out with the neighbor boys and play without me but I couldn’t go play with them without him. So if I was sick, he could still go play but if he was sick, I had to stay home too. I only understood that it was because I was Unfortunate enough to be Born A Girl.
So for most of my childhood and some of my young adulthood, I was fighting those Gender Roles and trying like hell to be a boy instead.
At one point, I had myself convinced I was transexual and that I wanted a sex change operation.
Finding and admitting to my favorite color was not an easy thing for me. With my position, anything that made me seem more feminine was not welcome at all. So my favorite color was Blue.
Dark Blue, specifically.
In College, however, I was subjected to a bit of an intervention.
My best friends in College were helping me pack to move out of the dorms. They asked me what my favorite color was.
“Dark Blue.” I’d said.
One held up my favorite bedspread. “What color is this?”
The other picked up my lounger pillow. “What color is this?”
“What’s your favorite color?”
They did this because they cared about me. They continued on this vein until I admitted to them and to myself that my favorite color was not, in fact, Dark Blue.
It was pink.
And it still is. I’m wearing pink chucks right now.
And the inner frames of my glasses? Yup, pink.
But I remember rejecting pink things as a kid. I remember wanting the blue t-shirts and the blue bedspreads and the blue walls in my bedroom. Cause I was a boy, obviously. And boys weren’t supposed to like pink.
And I was confused that way for most of the time it would have been normal for a girl to have pink everywhere. Because I couldn’t conform to a Gender Role that took away my freedom.
Gender roles don’t just hurt the people trapped in them. They also hurt the people who’ve broken free from them.