I suppose that as the creator of TomboyStories, I should first begin with mine. I was waiting for other people to submit theirs first so that I could post mine in amongst others so that it wouldn’t have special attention drawn to it, but it only seems fair that the first one be from me. Up until this point, my insecurities about my writing skills have been paralyzing, rendering me fully unproductive. But for now I only hope for the best.
My Tomboy Story.
I will never forget it. Of all of my experiences as a kid, this one still stands out as one of the ones that most shaped me. Like a lot of kids, I went to summer camp. Mine was a conservative, fundamentalist, Christian Bible camp, where I was placed into a cabin full of other girls from other Methodist churches all over the state. It was the summer after my 3rd grade year. I was 9 years old. I got dropped off, nervous and excited. I had come with another girl from my church who I knew, but had never been especially close with. Still, much to my disappointment she was assigned to another cabin. With my duffle bag full of gym shorts and t-shirts, one swim suit, soap, and my toothbrush- I entered. I was socially awkward and naturally introverted, but working hard I introduced myself to a group of girls. They were my age. They had all come from the same town, and were all obviously close friends. They stared at me for a minute. The first thing they noticed were my unshaved legs. As 9 year old, it was never something that I had thought of. I was different here. Here I got called a caveman and told that I was disgusting. Here, for the first time in my life, I got called gay.
At home I only had my older sister to compare myself to, and we were different in almost every other way, so I didn’t think anything of being different from her in the way I chose to present myself. Here the contrast between the other girls and I became glaringly obvious. I didn’t come with a small arsenal of drug store makeup, and a different pair of shoes for each day. I had 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner and dirty white and blue Nikes. I wasn’t like them. I was by no means the only tomboy there, but I was, for one reason or another, the one that they picked out to either convert or chastise unrelentingly for the entire week. Maybe it was just that I didn’t see the point in putting on makeup to go swimming in the lake, but regardless of the reasons, I wasn’t living up to what they thought I should be.
The only explanation for this was that I was either some mysterious and vile creature who’d emerged from the depths of south Louisiana… or gay (which here were essentially synonymous). At this particular summer camp, that was one of the worst insults, and having been deemed such I was promptly ostracized from any group, lest my tomboy ways rub off on them. I remember trying to climb onto a second level bunk bed where all the other girls were congregating. Upon reaching the top, I got pushed off and cracked my head open on thin carpet-covered concrete floor. I went to the bathroom and made an excuse to take a shower so that I could rinse my hair out. I didn’t tell anyone, and nobody asked. Ever. The whole week I kept to myself. I sat. I waited for it to be over. When I got home I told my mom about almost everything, leaving out the gory, and especially embarrassing parts. She bought me a razor, and told me that now I had no reason to feel insecure.