The other day I was painting (the walls) and listening to Dar Williams’ song, When I Was A Boy when I thought of myself at about the age in the picture at left. So I got out some really old photo albums and scanned this picture. It is me at one of the happiest times in my life. I frequently think back to this time with utter joy because it was a time when I had the most freedom. I was totally unconcerned with what other people thought I should look or act like (well, except my mother, but that is another story), unconcerned with impressing boys, unconcerned with the worries of sexuality. I played with the boys and girls in pretty much an equal manner. I loved to run a million miles per hour (no trouble with bouncing boobs back then). I had dirt on my knees, and scrapes on my elbows. In many ways, I really identified with the boy mentality, saw myself as one of the boys. Whenever I hang out with girls in this age range, I think of that lovely me, so unhindered.
All of a sudden, maybe around age 10 or 11, puberty hit, and I was never the same. So many worries. So much stress.
It is only recently, maybe in the last 5 years, that I’ve gotten back some of that boy inside me. Actually, it more like I’ve managed to integrate the boy with the girl. It’s like the girl and boy were enemies for years, pulling each other in different directions and making each other miserable. But now they are friends. I think I’ve finally managed to appreciate both for what they are, and maybe see how both can make a happy me.
Can the way I am choosing to raise my children save them from this integration process? Will they identify less with the labels, and just have the integrated me all the way through? I hope so.
When were you a boy? Tell me.