NOTE: HOUROU MUSUKO is the manga that inspired this. I direct you to read this, if you are at all interested, because it portrays such a sweet and poignant example of the topic. I have cried, I have laughed, and I have never throughly enjoyed myself like I have with this manga. So, please, if you are interested, take the time and read it. You won't be disappointed! Also, after a long hiatus I present you with awful formatting and my utmost hate for FP at this point.

darling, you're not just a work in progress
4/8/2009, 1:54 AM - 2:10 AM

I am four and I look up at my mother's wedding dress in wonder and envy because some day, far away from now, my sister will wear that dress, like our grandmother before her.

And I will just sit there, watching enviously from my corner. My tux too tight and my mind wandering with thoughts of if only I were a girl, if only—it isn't fair.

I am six and my mother holds me tightly to her.

"You're fine the way you are," she tells me and I can hear the faintest quiver in her voice. "Don't let anyone tell you differently."

My mother tells me I can be anything I want to be, and I don't have the heart to believe it.

"…Thank you, Mama."

I am twelve when the world turns on its head.

My sister leaves for college and with her, she leaves her old uniforms and ripped jeans and fancy Ts. I like to wake early in the morning, just to try on her clothes.

My hips are like a girl's, my mother told me, and her skirts curve to them naturally; they don't hang, I don't really have to roll them to fit. The shirt, on the other hand, is limp and lifeless.

In the morning, I spend an insane amount of time marveling at what I am not—and what I pretend to be. In my sister's clothes and the sun tucked away still, the day not yet starting.

Reality won't set in until I can hear my mother stumble out of her room, yawning loudly and muttering unintelligible things. I quickly take off my sister's clothes, tuck them neatly in their specific places in her closet, and slip into my room.

I have hours until I need to wake and be ready for school, for the reality that I will face when I step outside my home.

And I close my eyes and dream of a bigger, better world were I am happy, free.

I am fourteen when I fall in love for the first time.

His name is Nathaniel and he will never feel the same.

I was not born a girl like I wish to be, he will always see me as I am—a freak.

Like the wolf who wears sheep's clothing, I pretend.

(And it breaks my heart watching him. It breaks my heart knowing that there might never be another Nathaniel, who will love me and accept me and encourage me.

Who will make me feel worthwhile, great, being the way I wish to be.

I have since given up any hope, any thought, toward that person.)

I am sixteen and her name is Rhoda.

Her hair is cut short and she wears boys clothing to school. I can hear the other girls gossip about her in unkindly ways; the boys laugh and call her a queer, a freak, and all I can think of is why not me, why note me.

I am like the cowardly lion; I lack the courage to stand up for myself.

(Needless to say, she is drawn to me. Like a moth to a flame she hovers around me, insights conversation.

And when she look at me, I feel like she sees the real me.

And because she sees that she knows, innately, that I am not ready yet—I might never be ready—and she'll smile, small and enigmatic and just for me, as if to say: I know. It's our little secret.

And for that, I am glad. As if a heavy weight was lifted off my chest.)

Graduation passes and my mother sob into her tissues, her eyes are red and she never seemed so old and fragile like she did than. "My little baby's all grown up now," she tells me. She takes me hand and looks up at me. She looks so small and sad that I squeeze her hand, tightly, in my own.

I now stand a head taller than her—lanky and angular, my hair cut short and feminine. I am told I resemble Twiggy.

I tell my mother that night. When she is small and fragile and at the worse possible moment, I tell her I want to be something I can never be.

And she does something I never expected.

She takes my hand, holds it tight, and really looks at me. There is that small smile she reserves for the moments that hurt—like when my father abandoned us—and tells me, with all the pureness of her heart, what she told me when I was young.

"Darling, you can be anything you want to be."

And this time, I believe her.