what wasn’t said

Nobody ever said, of me,
“and those eyelashes – wasted on a boy!”
but they were.

One Christmas morning I awoke
excited for a bright red bicycle
my first, red for strength and fire;

but it was pink.

The little boy I was knew pink wasn’t for me
(though the man I became adores it)
and disappointment seared through me
interwoven with the guilt of the audacity
of feeling disappointment.

Of course, my parents hadn’t known
I desperately wanted a red bike.
They saw their daughter and thought
she was beautiful and pink suited her.

Nobody ever said, of me,
“What a bonny wee lad! So handsome, so strong!”
but I was.

When I was ten I was so desperate
to fit in with the other boys
that I joined the school football team.

but I hated football.

I tried with every fibre of my small being
to play, and to play well, like the others.
But sport of any kind was not my forte,
perhaps an omen of the broken body
my adult self was to find himself inhabiting.

Of course, I was never one of the boys
I was the tomboy. Worse. The wannabe-tomboy,
a little girl who cut her hair short
but couldn’t even kick a ball across a field.

Nobody ever said, of me,
“He’ll grow up to be a good man one day.”
But I did.

Seventeen years later I found the courage to stop
trying to be the best girl a guy can be
I discarded her, the itchy suit I’d sweated through.

but she follows me.

She is a weight ever-attached to my ankle
taunting me with well-meaning but false pronouns
and pricking me thousands of times a day
with every ‘love’ and ‘darling’ from a stranger
with every ‘I’m sorry! I thought you was a geezer!’

Of course, they aren’t to know, and
of course, it won’t always be like this, and
I need to grow a thicker skin, really.
The perceptions of others shouldn’t define me.

Nobody ever said, of me,
“Congratulations! You have a beautiful baby boy!”
but they did.

Quinn Norman 31/07/2015

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