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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Not sure

Not sure it has ever mattered to me individually if I was a boy or a girl. It just happened that I was born to have breasts start appearing at a certain age, when I was far more interested in the texture of my knees in the bath water still. I am the oldest of four girls, and I think my dad might have wanted a boy? But my mom always said she wanted a lot of little girls and she got us! My father never said he wanted a boy though, and never seemed to outwardly regret it. They both encouraged all four of us to do our utmost and to succeed in careers, not to do the "get married and have a family" thing. I've always been a little scared of gender, though, because I saw how badly my mom was hurt when my dad fooled around - well, screwed around - with other women. It took me along time to believe in the notion of "good" guys who stayed loyal to their family, even though I always knew and know that my dad loves us. But loved himself and his pleasures more. I had a dream at a very young age - well, maybe eight years old? - there was a coven of friendly witches of various ages, and my mom was one of the younger witches - all of them dressed in black or gray typical with outfits with pointy hats, but they were not scary to me, they were kind and wanted me to understand a vital message about the world. My mother, who was a young, very attractive Jackie Kennedy style witch (this was pre-Jackie O), whispered to me that the secret was that the whole world was backwards. You had to do everything backwards to succeed. I had wonderful little boyfriends throughout elementary school, and I loved the recognition, though not the teasing. My mom used to say they pulled up my dress and teased me because they liked me. made no sense to me at all. I was too shy or scared to play spin the bottle and couldnt understand why they wanted to give me a necklace or other trinkets. When I reached adolescence or maybe young adulthood, I decided the meaning of my dream was that as a female I had to do everything against the natural grain to succeed. At that point I thought it meant that I had to behave like a girl to get what I wanted, that it wasn't "acceptable" to behave aggressively, like a guy. But now with the further arch of years I think it might mean or have meant the opposite, that I was to foreswear having a family and children young and all that if I wanted to make my way in the world. Which I did, in the rough and tumble, often sexist world of journalism, though I didn't identify it as such until after I left the profession. Close women friends of mine and I of a very certain age have discussed how either overtly or semi-consciously our "women's lib" firmly feminist mothers somehow instilled in us that our lives were not to be wasted like theirs, that we were to take on the "man's" world, the "outside" world, and succeed.

Girls & Boys, Women & Men

My Daughter