About a Girl

They say that it’s because you were born inside the wrong body, that you can’t help it.

They say that it’s brave for you to try to fix that problem, that you should be true to yourself.

They say that embracing these feelings will make things so much better for you. That this won’t hurt a bit.

He?

I can’t deny that there have been times where I believed that it would be far easier to be a boy. That won’t surprise any of you who know me. But then, I grew up with (and mostly kept up with) two brothers plus two not-brothers.

There have been times in my younger years when I was sad that I was a girl. It was hard. Most of the time it didn’t matter but there were times too when the fact that I was female made me feel uncomfortable and briefly even ashamed in the darker hours.

While the girls around me discovered the joys of shopping, I was still playing elves in the forest with my brothers. While they choreographed their dances to the soundtrack of S Club 7 and argued about whether the boys of McFly or Busted were hotter, I was learning martial arts and happier running around with boys than running after them.

Pinks were passed over for greens and blues. Dresses were passed over for jeans. Hair and makeup seemed an inordinate waste of time and energy when I could be poking about under rocks looking for interesting insects. Barbie bored me but I can tell you that Max Steele was infinitely cooler than Action Man, even though Action Man had a tiger. Alex Rider was a far better read than any Jacqueline Wilson novel and playing spies so much more fun than playing princesses.

In a time where transgenderism was still not quite a thing yet, my tomboy tendencies didn’t count for much. It might have been different if I’d been born just five years later.

The real issue was not from within.

Most of the girls I had contact with were through school. On a surface level, we had little in common. They wore makeup and miniskirts and crimped their hair. I wore my brother’s hand-me-downs and didn’t brush my hair if I could get away with it. They loved Disney. I had discovered the Bourne movies. They were learning to flirt. I was wondering if joining the Devil’s Horsemen was a legitimate career option.

But on a deeper level, there were things that were far more of an issue. I don’t fight like them. Maybe I learned it from my brothers, I don’t know but I’ll happily fight something out with you and when we’re done I might be mad at you for a few hours but after that we’re all good and you were very probably right.

All of the feuding and backbiting, grudge-bearing and cruel, cruel words of the girls around me (even the ones I called friends) seemed to go on forever. It was like being adrift alone on a bitter sea, never knowing where danger would come from next.

They were all warring for the dull glitter of that precarious crown called Popularity and any small kindness came at a price to be returned tenfold at their convenience.

This was my peer group. There were no good role models of a similar age to me until I was about fourteen and so, whether consciously or not, this is what I understood that it meant to be a girl.

I did not want it.

If this was what it was to be female, I was ashamed of my biology.

Did God accidentally muddle my body and my soul? Was there a mistake somewhere along the way? I was not, and had no desire to be, like the kind of girls I saw around me. I wasn’t even like what the media, all those ads and movies and celebrities shining like ashes were telling me this is womanhood.

I am not she.

Maybe I was meant to be a boy all along?

She.

My friends laugh when I say I’m still learning to be a girl. But it’s true. Sort of.

Broken from the Fall and bruised by the world, it has taken a long time to learn what biblical womanhood is, to find my identity in Christ alone and it is an ongoing, often very difficult process. All of the things I’ve just said are the aspects of my thoughts and feelings which would be emphasised by the world to my preteen self today.

It’s not the whole story though.

We had a dressing up box as kids. More of a chest really. And I loved to wear my mother’s old graduation ball gown (with a sword). Fascination with battling giants and bad guys rather than collecting nail polish doesn’t mean that I am any less female. In fact, in many ways it has been better for me because it has taught me to fight other monsters: Injustice, Oppression, Apathy, and Secularism to name a few. My dislike of Barbie and Bratz dolls was born of a disdain for the shallowness of character that they portrayed.

God did not make a mistake.

Though I didn’t fit the image of femaleness presented by the world, and though I was repulsed by the example of girlhood which drowned me in school, it does not mean that I am a boy.

Scripture allows for diversity in womanhood (in personhood in fact) but it does not allow for the idea that God makes mistakes.

In many ways, it is the world that does not allow for diversity within gender. We are told that we shouldn’t reinforce gender stereotypes, that it is ok for boys to play with dollies and girls to play with cars. Simultaneously we are told that if a girl prefers tinkering with engines she may actually be a boy and if a boy likes ballet then he’s really a girl inside.

I understand how difficult it is to reconcile who you are with what the world around you is telling you you should be. I understand why people think that they have more in common with the opposite gender and that the shell they find themselves in feels awkward.

After all, I didn’t ask to be a girl. I didn’t want to be like them.

I am not like them.

But I am a girl.

There were other reasons too that I wished sometimes that I was a boy but I’m not going to talk about them. They’re sad and it wouldn’t be fair.

All I’m going to say is that the reason that the majority of people are so confused is because they are listening to the wrong voices. The world, the opinion of the people around you, and the feelings of your family and friends are all in constant flux. You need a more stable foundation.

We. . .

You feel that way because you are a woman in a man’s body, that’s the root of the problem.

I’d like to humbly disagree with the world’s argument on this one. This statement simply doesn’t go deep enough. It stops with the feeling, not the cause of the feeling.

Why do you feel like a boy in a girl’s body?

Take Bruce Jenner as an example. Why does he think he might be a woman?

Apart from publicity, it’s probably because he lives in a house full of gobby, domineering women and the only way to be heard or respected and be part of the gang is to become a girl.

The feeling of being out of place, the feeling that something isn’t quite right is not to do with a mistake in your biology, the issues are actually far deeper.

Anyway, the point is that we can’t and mustn’t find our identity in the ever-changing standards of the world. You will never be able to keep up.

As intolerant and bigoted and oppressive and *insert buzzword* as this will sound, the gospel never changes. In Scripture, we find the original blueprint for manhood and womanhood. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not restrictive but freeing because it allows us to be individuals with all of our wide range of interest and experiences while still teaching us to conform to the image of Christ.

Maybe your reason for thinking that you are really a girl is because your parents wanted a daughter. Well, God wanted you to be a man so bad that he made you one.

Maybe you feel that you fit the standard for the opposite gender better. That standard within society is going to change in six months time and again six months after that but the gospel standard doesn’t change.

Maybe you crave acceptance — people aren’t allowed to be horrible to transgender folk. The only true acceptance, complete acceptance, unconditional acceptance you will find is when you are forgiven and bought by the blood of Christ.

I’m not judging you. All I’m saying is that changing your outward image and popping hormone pills cannot change the issues inside. We need to stop looking to the world for guidance because we simply cannot keep up. We need to root our identity in Christ and encourage those who are struggling to do the same.

Once upon a time, I wondered if I should have been a boy. I may even have wished that I was for a whole host of reasons. Maybe you are the same.

I thank God that he claimed me before the world did.

Changing your body image changes nothing. It’s painting over crumbling walls. Find your identity in Christ. He knows what he is doing. He never changes.

 

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