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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Kiss My Elbow

I used to truly believe that if I could kiss my elbow, I would immediately turn into a boy. And for awhile there, it was something I thought would be a pretty cool thing to do. Needless to say, it never happened. There was also a brief period when I stood up to pee, simulating a penis as I urinated, and it also goes without saying, it was a tough aim. When I was 7 or 8, I called myself a tomboy, but the truth is, I adored being a girl, and in these days of gender confusion and fluidity, I never thought twice about being female, only that I loved it. Discovering the Pre Teen dept at Bloomingdale's had a lot to do with it. Being in the 79th Street Club in 6th grade was also a big part of it. Selling Thin Mints as a Girl Scout and taking dance classes at the Y was also part of it. Of course, going to an all-girls school cinched it. I also loved playing kickball with the boys from my neighborhood, the bad boy Joe from across the street, and the good boy, George, the Italian boy from my building. When George walked me down the street to the deli, I thought,"Man, it doesn't get much better than this!" I lacked any awareness that made me relish in being female; I only knew that I liked what I was feeling.

It boggles my mind when I hear about 3, 4 and 5 year old who want to go the opposite way. How do they know it's even a choice? Where did they get the awareness and wherewithal to say to their parents, "Hey, Mom, I"m not down with being a girl anymore," or "Dad, I have male parts, but inside I'm female." How do they get there? Sure, it's complicated, but how complicated can a 5- year old get?

At age 15, my niece transitioned to becoming a male. It threw me a bit off kilter, but I know how much happier he's been. My daughter reminded me how lucky she was, as was I, to feel so comfortable in her own skin. As I do.

Role Playing

I'm Fine, Thanks