My best friend was a tomboy, and I was the “tampon bitch”. I earned that nickname by hanging out at an all girls lunch table in junior high school. I never felt totally welcome, and I always felt terrible when they sent me away to talk about “girl stuff.” But I was tolerated for the most part, because my best friend had pull.
We met in second grade when I was new to town, and something clicked. She was the best friend I could’ve hoped for almost until high school. Even when we weren’t friends she still listened when I needed her, and answered the phone when I called in the moments when I couldn’t handle life. When I my first girlfriend broke up with me, I called her. When I was stuck in a psych hospital for a week at the end of my junior year, I called her. All the way to college when I was still struggling with self injury and she was the only one I could think to text at midnight. She was the one I always looked up to.
A poem I wrote awhile back when I was trying to figure things out says it best, I think.
Macaroni and Cheese Days
Summer rested light on our shoulders as we basked in the freedom of being alone together.
Boy and girl didn’t matter in the innocence and understanding of young friendship.
We splashed in the pool, her a mermaid, I a rock, and I dreamed of wearing a one piece suit like hers.
I read the books she gave me about adventurous girls dressing as boys to go into battle.
She climbed trees like a boy, and never wore a dress.
We would tie each other friendship bracelets, and toss balls at each other.
I miss those days, where we would break when the sun was at its height.
And we would cook the only thing we could.
Macaroni and cheese would sit on our plates covered in so much black pepper that there was almost no yellow left, a side of green peas resting beside.
Always the same.
Before we went back out to play.
I miss those macaroni and cheese days.
Where gender didn’t matter.
When we were just kids.
I still eat macaroni and cheese when I’m feeling nostalgic. It makes me think of when we were kids. I still remember wanting to wear a one piece suit like hers, too, when I was 10 or 12 and we would go swimming in her pool. I didn’t really know why I wanted that then, though.
I don’t know if part of the reason we got along so well was our refusal to obey strict gender stereotypes, and my semi-conscious desire to be a girl, but I think about it sometimes.
Sometimes I wonder what she thinks about my transition, as well. Whether she saw it coming or not. I don’t know if she reads this blog or not, but I hope she does. And I hope it helps her understand me – us – why I an the way I am, and was the way I was, a little bit better.
Here’s to you. Whether you know it or not, you helped me learn how to fight like a grrrl.