Boy – Part One
Hell fire, I could’ve been a boy!
If times were then, what they are now.
I would be proud and whiskered
and wearing a fancy waistcoat.
Good and firm and smooth
against my ribs.
But I was content to be the butch dyke.
The one with the muscles
and the hammer and the saw.
The go to, to fix your car.
But hell fire,
if only times were then what they are now,
I could’ve been a boy.
Boy – Part Two
When my dad was a little girl
My Father, having three daughters at the time and no sons, used to start all the stories relating to his childhood with the words, ‘When I was a little girl’. This was met by giggles and denial that such a thing could be true but in my heart of hearts I believed him. After all, I knew deep down that I wasn’t really a little girl either and if my Dad could grow up to be a man, then so could I.
I have a vivid memory of walking to Sunday school, aged about six or seven, in the most awful, lacy and itchiest dress ever to be created in hell and thinking, ‘When I’m a boy I’ll never have to wear a dress like this’.
You may think my Father was thoughtless but the truth is, in retrospect, I can see that his words gave me a reason for why I wasn’t like the other little girls. Being mostly a happy little soul I got on with my life without too much angst and my family just let me be who I was. I pretended I was William Tell and made myself a bow while my sisters clomped around in my Mother’s old shoes.
As I got older still, I forgot about growing up to be a boy. I was still doing ‘boy’ stuff, helping my Dad to build his house, bricklaying, carpentry, electrics and I was content.
Then came the horrendous years, the teenage years when the whole world suddenly remembered I was a girl. Now I was odd, weird, bad, wrong and unnatural; all I had been spared so far suddenly rained down and I learned shame. I learned to pretend, wear make-up and by far the worst thing, have boyfriends.
At seventeen, I kissed a girl and learned the words ‘Lesbian’ and ‘Butch’. It proved to be the next best thing to being a boy but I still ask myself the question: ‘If I’d had the chance would I have preferred to grow up to be a man’?
Meg Williams, 59, Mid Wales