Dear Mr. Invisible Bully,
It is my 4th birthday tomorrow. I am my mum’s favourite son, and my sister is her favourite daughter. It is a happy family. Though the upcoming birthday has filled me with a sense of dread and trepidation.
Now you might blink at my use of such big words, ‘dread’ and ‘trepidation’ while I just said my age to be 4 years (minus one day). It is just that I am syphoning the vocabulary of the future me through a giant black portal with shiny lights all around so as to make this a more cogent narrative.
So making allowance for that teensy bit of creative freedom, let’s get to the root of my dread. I want a Barbie for my birthday. My sister got one and I love it. But she just wouldn’t let me play with it. But my mum is planning to buy me a GI Joe set. Now you might wonder that I am caught up in the midst of childhood genderification. Well, possibly. Or maybe not. But I like what my sister got.
You know, mum got angry the other day when I lingered in the cloth store by a pink frock. I thought it was pretty and asked mum for it. She refused and was visibly disturbed. I notice such things. They think we kids don’t, but I do. Back home, mum had a long heated argument with mum. No, she didn’t speak to self, nor to her mirror reflection. I just got two mums. My mum married my mum. No dad. It’s allowed where we live. It made me no difference. I think. I am open-minded and accepting.
But mum was discussing with mum that maybe I needed a positive role-model. What they actually meant was a model for male-gender role. But they don’t get it. I don’t want to fit in a mould. I want to be me, whatever that may be. Though they are worried that a lack of a male presence at home is hampering my gender-awakening. Woah! I know, big talk, as if that’s even a thing. Is it? Be it what it may, but why need there be one anyway? I want to think thoughts of my own, feel emotions that are mine, be a person that I am to become based on my own individual inclinations. I don’t want to be impressed upon to fit in conventional social schemas. I want to be an original me.
Are you worried this would be the end of civilisation as we know it? All the social anarchy and break in custom such thoughts lead to. Well, don’t. Not all are me, just as I am not all. And I don’t want to be bullied to be like all. I just want to let be. But how do I tell my mums’ that I indeed want the Barbie. It would just spark another fight. I will have to compromise I guess. About time I learnt that trick of the adult.
A bear is cute and soft and fluffy while yet being a boy’s choice isn’t it? Yogi bear is a boy right! I would be allowed to get him as a present rather than that stupid GI Joe where we are meant to imagine battles and clarion calls?! Guess I will ask for a bear. For now. Though someday, I do want that barbie. And mums’, no, I want that regardless of your choice. I don’t think having had a dad would have changed it. But this is me brought up in the absence of dad talking. So who knows. Yet, either way, what’s wrong in wanting a Barbie? Why your guilt? Sister got it. I want it too.