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"But you were born 'a girl'..." (poetry)
This poem is about things coming full-circle gender-wise. Mistaken for a guy since birth, mistaken for a girl later on, but I'm neither and both... beyond.
[My newborn photo.]
Photo credit: a confused nurse.
(Don’t worry. I was confused, too.)
Blue background & blue-hatted,
grayish-blue eyes half-open,
left hand raised in a fist.
With eyebrows raised to the stars, “Blue?” they’d say
as they pointed to the tattered photo on display,
question marks pouring out of their mouths
like accusations. “But you were born
I was named after my propappous (προπάππους)1
with an ‘a’ attached at the tail-end for that feminine flair.
Such an afterthought ‘a’ that teachers would think it was silent,
expecting to see
a boy on the first day of roster-reading.
Each year, kids would giggle on cue.
a boy name!
But I was born
In the middle school locker room….
My adjective: flat.
My noun: board.
“Flat as a board! You must be
hoards of girls that had nothing better to do
declared more times than my low self-esteem could handle.
“What a beautiful baby
boy you have there.”
Girl,” mom would correct the well-meaning old ladies.
He has such chubby cheeks.”
She,” she’d come to my defense (never when it actually mattered).
“Stop being such an agorokoritso (αγοροκόριτσο)2,”
mom would exclaim
when I’d come home with dirt finger-painted on my face
& knees and sweat-drenched baggy tees & cargo jeans.
So I tried to be less
boy, more girl (whatever that means)
when I didn’t feel like either, and it didn’t quite fit;
There were aspects of both within
this tired skin, but there was more to it…
I was born
but I’m not
I was mistaken for
but I’m not
Mostly misgendered as
a woman now,
and it’s all so validating somehow.
-I was born a person: both & between & beyond binaries
great-grandfather in Greek
literally “guy-girl” in Greek; tomboy