A Girl Who Was Raised Like A Boy
By S. Abu-Coush
Men are men and women are women?
We don’t learn to be. We just are?
But I didn’t learn gender the way most girls do. And even less the way most Middle Eastern girls do.
And I don’t see myself the way most girls do, either.
I lost my mum when I was 5 years old. After that, my dad took care of me and my brothers.
My dad was my hero. I was so attached to him that I dressed like him and mimicked him.
Meanwhile, my grandmother fed us lots of healthy, tasty food. So we all got fat. That wasn’t a problem for my brothers but I couldn’t find my size in the girls’ section back home in Kuwait. So I shopped in the boys’ section, and sometimes traded clothes with my brothers.
Meanwhile, my dad treated us all the same. Or almost the same. My brothers and I went to the same stores and dressed the same and I cut my hair like them. My brothers and I had the same friends and played the same games and watched the same TV – like WWE.
I grew up thinking that we were all alike.
Guess it shouldn’t have surprised anyone when I was mistaken for a boy — several times. But my family took offense and got mad.
I personally didn’t care, and I even wished I was a boy back then, because I wanted to be just like my dad and my brothers.
Back then I never realized that I was acting differently from how society thought I should. But when I got older I saw the weird looks people gave me.
I’m not transgender in the sense of feeling like I was born in the wrong body. And I actually do like wearing dresses from time to time, but I don’t feel that comfortable in dresses or makeup or looking like the lady society says I should be.
I have felt confused about my identity. And I do push gender boundaries and don’t feel entirely comfortable on either side.
Maybe as a way of taking control over my identity, I have started my own trend of wearing cartoons on my clothes all the time. Cartoons that express something about me. So I’ve gotten creative and make my own T-shirts. That way I look unique and don’t have to dress up in boys clothes or in girls clothes.
I can just be me and express who I am.
Now, if society could just get on board and let us all be who we are, expressing our unique selves!
This was written by one of my students who gave permission to post it.