birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

I'm Fine, Thanks

I can’t think of an instance when I wished I were the opposite sex. There was never any burning desire to be other than what I am. There was no doubt that I was a girl. Small of stature, small boned, I was quiet and shy when I was young. I’m certain that I was raised in the standard way for females of my era - the Father Knows Best and I Love Lucy days. The TV men were often critical and laughably full of themselves and the women seemed to get the better of them by trickery and pretending to agree and obey. I could see an unfairness about their treatment and privileges. In retrospect, this may have led me to a skeptical view of the basics of male and female relations.

I didn’t go in for what I always considered girly things, frilly clothes, elaborate doll collections, shelves full of pony and horse toys, pink. I hated pink. But I didn’t want to be a boy.

I didn’t want to be type cast as girly, or put into any sort of category. I was just me. I had a few dolls, but I would spend all that playtime setting up elaborate living spaces for them, down to sets of sheets made from Kleenex, and bedside lamps on matchbox nightstands, tiny food on the tables made from things I pulled out of the trash. That would take several hours and by the time it was done, so was I. The dolls didn’t spend much time in their new homes. That was boring. By then, I would move on to my stack of books. The dolls were on their own.

I had no interest in sports so I never felt any sort of discrimination about being the wrong gender and left off the team. I didn’t gravitate to math and sciences so I was never an outcast there. No one dissuaded me from those studies because I was just a girl. I wished that I did like them. But that’s as far as it went, because I didn’t.

I never held any jobs where I felt left behind or underpaid because I was a female. My life has never really been about that. I know it’s out there plenty and the problems and setbacks can be huge. It just never touched me.

I don’t think I settled. I think I have always been comfortable with what I am. It fits.

Kiss My Elbow

Girlie Girl