Most people wouldn’t guess this about me, but I was a huge tomboy as a kid.  Until I hit puberty, most of my time was spent running around like an idiot, climbing on things, riding things, jumping on things, kicking things, digging in the dirt, fighting boys, getting dirty and picking scabs.  Basically, just raising a whole lotta hell all over my neighborhood and doing my best to get home for meals, get out of taking baths and brushing my hair and trying not to get caught doing anything that I might earn me a spanking.

My mother was mortified since she is a prissy little thing and did her best to force acceptable girl-child behavior on me, like wearing dresses, fixing my hair and playing with babydolls, but I was having none of it.  She finally gave up and I started recieving Transformers and GI Joes for birthdays and Christmases.  Cabbage Patch and Barbie dolls began to be stored in the top of the closet or were left to languish at the bottom of the toy box.  Oh and after hundreds of tearful, sulking episodes of hair brushing, ponytailing and braiding, my long hair was cut into a pixie.  I can only imagine my mom cried herself to sleep that night.

I loved playing with boys.  The more rough and tumble the better.  Boys were always up for some type of adventure.  They liked to build things and break things and we handled our disputes by beating each other up instead of tattling and there was hardly ever any crying.  I knew that boys and girls were supposed to “like” each other, but I can distinctly remember the first time a boy kissed me and I was furious.  His name was Brett and we were hide-and-go-seek partners.  We scrambled behind a hedgerow and as we sat side by side in the shade of that dense bush, he leaned over and kissed me on my shoulder.  I remember that his lips felt moist on my sweaty shoulder and I felt confusion, followed by disgust, and quickly by anger.  I punched him and things progressed from there.  We wound up being “it” in the next round of hide-and-go-seek.  It’s hard to go unnoticed when you’re rolling around in the dirt beating the crap out of each other.

It’s amazing what a little estrogen and progesterone will do.  I hit puberty at 10-years-old and it was like a neon light bulb came on inside my head and it started flashing BOYS BOYS BOYS.  All of a sudden dresses, earrings and makeup became VERY interesting.  I demanded a perm.  Insisted that I be allowed to wear a bra.  I snuck makeup to school in my backpack and applied it (poorly) in the bathroom.  I was like a young Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver wearing horrible combinations of green+orange eyeshadow with bright red lipstick.  I raced full speed into being a girl and I did so clumsily, looking and acting ridiculous.  It took me a while, but I figured it all out eventually.

Amazing what happens when you stop wearing underwear on your head while playing war

Everything that I knew about boys went out the window.  They became an enigma.  In the past, I might have introduced myself to a new boy playmate by showing him how awesome my trampoline back flip was or that I could ride my bike without holding onto the handlebars.  Now I felt shy and unsure of myself when boys were around and a longing that I didn’t really understand.  Like most kids during that coming of age time, I look back and have many cringe-worthy albeit hysterical memories.

Well, I’m proud to say that my trampoline back flip is still pretty awesome and I’m really good at riding my bike without holding onto the handlebars.  However, you boys are still a mystery.  I guess that’s half the fun…kind of like riding with no hands.

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