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Here is the “Why”

This is the post excerpt.

I never thought that I would be a “blogger”.  I’m really not in to social media… I don’t tweet, I rarely post on Instagram or Facebook, and I’m not snapping or chatting anything.  But something significant is happening in my life that I need to talk about, I need to share, but I feel there is no one close to me who will be able to understand or relate to what I am experiencing.  I’m not a “talker” at any rate.  I’m one to say “talk doesn’t change anything”, you have to do something to make a change.  I feel I may need to make a change and I feel I have to share this experience and these feelings or I will implode. So, I may not be at the point of talking, but I can write.

When my daughter was around 7 years old she started asking me things like “why did you name me Robin”.  So I told her why we chose her name her Robin.  She proceed to ask, maybe not that day or even the same month, why didn’t we name her Rob instead.  Not thinking anything of it, I just chuckled and said something like “Rob is a boy’s name silly!”  She just laughed with me, said “oh okay, Mommy” and went back to doing whatever she had been doing.  Now around the same time Robin started talking about a little boy at school almost every day.  I would hear Mark this and Mark that; even though she always talked about her other friends, Kim and Nicole, she just seemed to talk about Mark more.  So family members and I started teasing Robin, saying she had a boyfriend, and she was just smile her beautiful little smile that lights up my world, giggle that little giggle that fills me with joy, and say “that’s just my best friend”.

Not much happened during that year, or not much seemed to stand out in my mind, at least.  But I’ve always thought of Robin’s 8th year as not our best year.  That year doesn’t seem to be as bright in my memory as all the others before or after.  Mind you, she’s only 11 now.  There were no major losses, no traumatic events, no issues with school or friends.  But I’ve always thought of that year as a bad year.  I never knew why until now, as I’m writing this out, it’s dawned on me.  Robin’s 8th year was the year.

My daughter has never been a “prissy” girl; but neither was I.  Robin played with dolls but was more interested in trucks or cars or anything that had more action than a doll.  But so did I.  Robin always liked sports and has an amazing pitching arm that her uncle’s likened to high school kids.  But plenty of girls are athletic and like sports.  Robin never really seemed interested in all the little dresses and “girly” outfits I bought her when she was younger, so I just started buying her jeans and t-shirts.  All the while thinking “this girl is just like me”; I’m far from prissy and jeans and t-shirts are my “go to” attire for almost any occasion.

Don’t get me wrong.  I was fully aware that my child had her own personality that was in some ways the complete opposite of mine.  But that’s not anything I didn’t expect as a mother.  In fact, since I”m the type of person to worry over things that could happen 10 years from now, I had gone over ever possible “difference” that could exist between me and my child.  I thought of how I would react if she started using drugs; I thought about how I would handle it if she wanted to drop out of school or not go to college;  I thought about how I would handle her being mentally ill or sick or a multitude of other potentialities that life may bring.  But I never thought that the little girl I cherished would tell me she felt like she was supposed to be a boy.

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Jeans

Robin never wears the clothes I buy her.  And I don’t buy her “girly” clothes or anything like that.  I always try to buy athletic type clothes, unisex clothes, neutral clothes.  Even when I take her shopping with me and she picks out her own clothes, Robin won’t wear the clothes.  She won’t wear v-neck, if the crew neck shows too much neck, she won’t wear that.  Robin used to like skinny jeans, but not anymore.  Nothing can be “too tight”. So, that left her with a very  limited wardrobe and me giving away clothes that had never been worn.

Robin’s dad knows my frustration.  He decided that he would take her shopping, which was a relief to me.  Robin calls me as soon as they get back to the car.  She was so excited about all the clothes her dad bought.  She was happy, so I was ecstatic.  When Robin came home, she couldn’t wait for us to go out so that she could wear her new clothes.  I agreed to take her to the movies.  When she brought her outfit to my room for me to see, I thought the jeans looked a little big for her.  So as I asked what size they were.  Robin said she didn’t know.  So, I checked.  They were a boys/man’s 30 x 30.  You’d think that I would expect that based on all that I’ve shared so far.  But I didn’t and I asked her why she got “boy’s” clothes.  Robin replied that that was the only section they shopped in.  I asked why and I must have looked like my whole world was falling apart because my daughter started apologizing over and over, saying “I’m sorry Mommy”.  I felt like shit.

I was so angry.  I was angry because of how I felt.  I was angry with her.  I was angry with her dad.  I was just pissed.  In my head, I was asking why could she just be who she is and accept it.  Period.  Robin never told me she “felt” like she was a boy or said that she was a boy when she was little.  If she had I would have been more prepared.  I could have started coming to terms with this years ago.  But it feels like all of a sudden, my little girl who was always my little girl, wants to be anything but who she has been her whole life.  So what if she wants to play football and always wanted the “boy” toy from McDonald’s!  So did I. Who wants to play with a stupid doll when there is a racetrack with cars speeding around everywhere?  Who said liking jeans and not liking skirts or dresses made you a tomboy?  Who said not being girly meant you can’t be a girl?  What the hell is wrong with being a girl and liking whatever you want to like??

I’ve been reading about transgender kids and gender neutral, gender fluid, gender expansive.  And I still don’t understand.  Why can’t these kids just be who they are, like what they like, and not be labeled one thing or another?  Now, I’m not talking about children who start asserting that the ARE the opposite gender early in life.  In fact, I’ve read that there may be some genetic coding that contributes to a person being transgender (Human Sex Chromosomes are Sloppy DNA Swappers). So, I’m not arguing the point that there are transgender people.  What I’m saying is, I don’t understand why my child feels the need to ask me if she is “trans”.  I’m saying that society is placing undo pressure on children. We no longer watch what we say around them.  We no longer censor television or radio.  Children are exposed to so much that I feel they are not mature enough to understand and process.  Why does my child feel like she has to label herself as anything other than a child.

I got over the jeans thing. Clothes are just clothes.  It’s about what a person feels comfortable wearing.  Society sets the labels and we all follow suit.  Even the kids.

Today

I was in Target so I decided to buy Robin some socks and underwear.  So I grab the underwear (boy shorts because that’s the only kind she likes to wear).  As I place them in the cart, I pretend I don’t see my mother’s face.  Then I’m looking for socks, tube socks, of course, and I don’t see Robin’s size in the girl’s section. My mother comments that if I buy all the same kinds of socks it won’t matter when Robin loses them. She’s said this to me a thousand times so I move on down to the boy’s section.and say nothing.  I say something about not seeing any all white socks and my mother replies the socks don’t have to be all white, the tops just need to be all white. So I grab some white tube socks with gray heels and toes and my mother says “all you ever get her now is boy stuff”.  “More and more boy stuff.” I damn near lose it right in the Target.  I say “What am I supposed to do?! What do you want me to do about it?!” My mom says “You can do what you want. I’m just saying…” I tell her “it’s not what I want”.

This is not what I want.  All I wanted was a little girl.  I literally prayed for a little baby girl.  My baby girl was born and she was beautiful and healthy.  That was the happiest moment of my life.  Now my little girl says she wants to be a boy or maybe she feels like she is a boy.  I don’t know because I can’t talk about it yet without overwhelming emotion.  So I take her to a therapist so she can talk to someone.  I feel horrible.  I have a healthy, smart, talented child… I should be happy.  But my heart is broken.  And I feel guilty for feeling the way I do, but I can’t help it.  I don’t want her to stop talking to me; she used to tell me anything.  But she’s such an intuitive child.  She knows that I’m pretty much at my limit with this, for now.  The last time Robin tried to talk to me about this, she asked me if she was trans.  I almost lost my shit.  I didn’t yell or gasp or do anything dramatic; but on the inside I almost lost my shit.  All I said was “Robin you are a child.”

I honestly don’t understand what transgender means.  I don’t get how someone can feel like they are in the “wrong” body.  We are born as male or female and rarely hermaphrodite.  The characteristics we assign to the labels “boy” and “girl” are just socialized, ingrain, stereotypes.  When someone says they feel like a woman, what does that mean when society defined being a “woman”?  Does it mean that they feel like all the characteristics assigned to the label “woman”?  Why can’t people just be who they are in the body they were born in?  If you want to wear makeup and a dress, you don’t have to have female genitalia to do so.  If it’s about having a vagina or a penis or breasts or a mustache, then I still don’t get it.  Just because I want to be a unicorn and I can go and have surgery to alter me to have a horn projected out of my forehead, doesn’t mean I’m a unicorn.

I feel like we are in a society that says people should have everything they want; there are no boundaries or limits.  This society has taken virtual reality to the next level by altering reality into what they think it should be. Where does it stop? If I feel like I’m really another race, I can’t go out and change my race.  It is what it is.  I mean fair skinned blacks “passed” for white to make life easier.  And Rachel Dolezal can wear dark makeup and braid her hair.  But guess what, those black people were still black and Rachel is still a delusional white woman.

This blog is my way to let it all out. It is my journal that is open to the world. It is my way of coping.  I know I’m not the only mom who is going through or has gone through something similar.  But I feel like I am.

The Next Year

The next year was basically more of the same.  Robin had issues in school.  She said it was because she wasn’t girly.  I, of course, told her she didn’t have to be girly; she only had to be herself.  I was worried about Robin in school because I thought the other girls were being mean to her.  She said they called her a “tomboy”.  I always told her nothing was wrong with being a tomboy.  I was secretly happy that Robin wasn’t thinking about boyfriends and learning how to “twerk” like some of her friends.  At the same time I was wondering why she never talked about playing with her “best friends” while in school.  Why didn’t they ask to come over like they once did. Those girls always wanted to come to our house or go somewhere with us.  But, it seemed they were growing apart.

By fifth grade, Robin only talked about playing with boys at school.  She had new best friends; when I asked about her best friends since kindergarten Robin said they were still her friends they just had other friends.  When I asked why she never played with girls, Robin said they didn’t want to play with her.  It broke my heart. Fifth grade was a rough year.  There were fights, obvious defiance, teachers calling home, the counselor saying Robin didn’t seem to be that sweet little girl that just wanted everyone to be happy.  My baby was struggling and I didn’t know what to do.

When Robin asked me if I would always love her, “no matter what”.  I knew that something big was coming. I told her there was nothing, absolutely nothing in this world that would make me stop loving her. And I started telling her I loved her all the time.  Not that I didn’t before, I just did it more consciously because I knew she needed reassurance.  When Robin asked that question, she looked up at me, with her big beautiful eyes, and she looked so scared.  I had to let her know that my love was a constant, no matter what.

Not much later, Robin told me she was gay. I knew it was coming, so I just said “okay”.  Then, I asked her if she knew what that meant.  She explained in exactly the way you would expect a child to explain something like that.  Robin said gay is when a boy likes another boy and a girl likes another girl. I couldn’t help but to tell her that just because a person likes another person of the same sex, it doesn’t mean their gay.  I said friends like each other and aren’t gay.  I also said that I thought she was too young to label herself; she had plenty of time to figure out that type of stuff  I said a lot; trying to convince myself. Fifth grade was a very rough year.

The Year

What was so memorable about the 8th year that made it a “bad year” in my recollection?  Well, as I said before, nothing really stood out in my mind until now, when the pieces started coming together. 

What was so memorable about the 8th year that made it a “bad year” in my recollection?  Well, as I said before, nothing really stood out in my mind until now, when the pieces started coming together.

Robin was 8 years old when she became so wary of wearing a dress that she would literally come to tears.  She insisted she felt “uncomfortable” and wanted to wear shorts underneath any time I made her wear them.  At the time, I’m thinking to myself that she was overreacting and being dramatic.  I could not understand why the child was so opposed to wearing a dress when I only really insisted for church or special occasions. I mean, I had stopped buying her skirts and dresses for school by the first grade because they were never worn!  Any time Robin wore a dress she seemed absolutely miserable.  I was frustrated and embarrassed. I didn’t want to go anywhere with a sad and dejected child, with everyone asking, “what’s wrong with Robin,” when the only answer I could give was, “she’s wearing a dress”.  I didn’t want to force her to wear what I wanted her to wear and stifle her expression.  I always told her that she didn’t have to be like everybody else; just be you.  So, how could I then force her into clothing that I and society deemed suitable.

Then came the hair.  Every day that seemed to be a battle.  I loved combing Robin’s hair into cute little styles.  But all of a sudden she didn’t like ponytails.  She only wanted to wear one puff and it couldn’t be too high on her head.  So, I got it braided.  Robin didn’t like any styles but the most simple, cornrows going back.  But I relented on that, too; as long as the child’s hair was combed.

Then there was school.  It seemed like Robin was always having bad days at school with the other kids.  The only thing she was say is that they called her a tomboy.  I had no idea why that would make her so upset.  But I told her if she didn’t want them to call her a tomboy then she shouldn’t play with only the boys.  This was mainly because she was also coming home telling a story about some boy hitting her or pushing her; but it was okay because they were just playing.  I didn’t want her to get hurt.  Robin would say that the girls didn’t like her and wouldn’t let them play with her.  But, she had friends who were girls and were always coming over or going somewhere with us.  Robin would say that in school those girls would play with their other friends.  I just didn’t understand.

Now I realize that when she was 8 years old I began to see that my little girl was different than other little girls.  And I didn’t like it.  That was the year that my child began to express her identity.  And I didn’t like it one bit.