You funny little thing!

me at a lovely lake

Look at this serious little boy!

My facial expression was always very serious. I’m talking about a “normal” or the just-thinking-about-something face1. When I was a toddler, the serious baby face was always very amusing to people around me2. This face and the fact that my hair was kept short by my mum made me look like a little boy.

So there as I was told – I was a little tomboy, always serious. I was resistant for dresses and dolls, playing with my older brother’s cars and games. I even asked my dad one day for my own collection of Matchbox Cars3. I loved them.

It’s a girl!… Is it?!!

At the same time I had my first crash. The lucky guy was a gardener working in my kindergarten. He was about 20 years older than me and had some warm thoughts about our teacher. She also liked him and for that reason he was often visiting our classroom. Sitting at my miniature table and pretending to play, I had a lot of time for an observation of Mr. Gardener chatting with Miss Teacher. As a shy chubby kid, knowing that there was no much future for this love I feel, I was trying to be more undetected than stalking.

Once he looked at me.

He was staring for a long time – obviously intentionally. My heart stopped for a millisecond4. I felt blush on my cheeks and a bit of happiness – he finally saw me!

After a brief moment he turned back to Miss Teacher and pointed at me with his index finger. Then se said loudly a sentence I won’t forget:

“Check out this little boy in his funny pajamas – he looks a bit like a small chubby Japanese guy!”

If you have a bit of an imagination you can imagine what I felt at that moment. Beside the broken heart he most important lesson was – most people around thought I was a boy.

No, no, It is a boy!

I felt like a boy for all the time at my primary school5. I was fancying boys at my school, but because of my boyish appearance not even hoping somebody will fancy me.

And so it was. Boys were clearly omitting me, but much more annoying was the fact they weren’t asking me for a dance during school dances. It was important for girls to be asked ’cause we were comparing personal statistics. Number od dances performed with boys was the one of the most important numbers and all little girls were exchanging information about it after every school dance. My numbers looked bad. I decided to hack the system. I was about ten and broke the system with a simple way – Instead of waiting, I just started to ask boys to a dance6. I wouldn’t call it cheating and other girls were too confused to make any statements about it. For me it was just a curious way of hacking cultural norms and expectations for the first time in my life7 .

“Who’s that girl?? na naa na na NAAA na…”

The first day in my high school was meant to change a lot in my tomboy life. It was just after a long sunny summer vacation spent in Tunis. My skin was tanned, my hair was long because of not possibility of cutting it and lightened by the Sun. I was fifteen and I was just growing up of my tomboy posture. I was wearing my one and only skirt and my one and only nice blouse. When I went to the school building, I’ve noticed that guys were just staring at me in a nice way. For the first time in my life! I wasn’t expecting it! It so interesting, flattering and different!

I was officially pretty.

First impression is everything, as they say, and this time it was the same. Despite the fact of appearing day after at school in my normal tomboy clothes, guys were quite into me.

They were interested until the moment of finding out that inside of this lovely package is not a princess but just a pal. They spread quickly to find some real princesses around.

Make some space for the funny creature.

I feel ashamed about it now, but I must honestly admit – for some reason I didn’t like most girls for a long time. I was perceiving girls as week and boring. I didn’t have many female friends in my high-school nor during studies. I had many male friends8. One thing was sure. I didn’t like to be a girl, but as hard I was trying, I couldn’t be perceived as a pure male friend.

I felt different and it was making me sad.

The challenge of dating this particular specimen.

Since the beginning of high school I was never truly alone. I was dating some guys. My boyfriends were always serious about me and very brave. Imagine to date somebody or live with somebody, who knows everything better9, proudly repeats all the time that doesn’t need any help with anything, wants to spend all the time with you and your pals and likes more to drink a beer than having any romantic situation with you. The worst thing – the person doesn’t seem to love or even like herself nor the fact who she is. This state of mind may generate a lot of very unpleasant and nervous situations. After some time every relationship was dead10 .

At some point I decided that I just want to be alone and try to identify my problems and repair my brain.

What can we do about this poor darling?

Nobody likes to have a broken brain and everyone knows some ways of trying to repair it. One will ask God for a help and wait for a sign or the change to happen by itself11, some people will ask for a help of dedicated specialists. I decided instead to listen to words of Prince of Bel Air12:

The keys to life are running and reading. When you’re running, there’s a little person that talks to you and says, “Oh I’m tired. My lung’s about to pop. I’m so hurt. There’s no way I can possibly continue.” You want to quit. If you learn how to defeat that person when you’re running. You will how to not quit when things get hard in your life. For reading: there have been gazillions of people that have lived before all of us. There’s no new problem you could have–with your parents, with school, with a bully. There’s no new problem that someone hasn’t already had and written about it in a book.”

― Will Smith

So I started to read wise books revealing secrets of brain, its sex, problems and ways of fixing it. At the same time I started to run. And guess what? It helped me! After some time I learnt how to love myself the way I am. After some time I was even lucky enough to find a lovely gentleman, who became my husband. How cool is that!

What a lovely sporty young woman!

Understanding that being a woman is awesome gave me a lot of freedom. It’s so great to browse in women stuff, fancy clothes, shoes, mak-up, colors of nails, perfumes, but first of all – understanding the fascinating spectrum of emotions ant how it changes during the moon cycle. Learning about differences in the way women and man perceive world and emotions13. Enhancing this knowledge makes me trusting and liking myself more and more – with all my strengths and weak points. Now I know that I would never switch to be man! I feel comfortable with my brain, love my body and love to be a woman.

And what about running? I was always laughing at those funny looking colorful people doing this boring exercise for a long time without any clear reason, but then I tried by myself. After some time of adjustment of my body to this new hard and exhausting exercise I found out why people are doing this. It just gives you the feeling of the total control over your body and plenty of positive chemistry in your brain! And I must admit – it’s not boring at all, with or without any audiobook or a podcast involved. This combination works just lovely not only for me but for everyone who will decide to try it.

Now I’m fruitfully trying make the most of my abilities, and feeling fulfilled.

And I wish everyone could know this feeling.

Thank you, Prince of Bel Air <3.

IA.


  1. On the other hand – my smile is covering more than half of my face. People are sometimes shocked by the huge change it makes in my face.
  2. As I get older, I notice everyone’s reaction diffing more and more from “What are you thinking about?” to “OMG, is everything OK?! Who died?!”
  3. Matchbox was a prehistoric company known widely among young mates because of the production of fancy little metal cars. If you had a Matchbox, you were on the cool kids team. If not, you were out.
  4. I was just thinking about fast hearts of small animals and the adjustment of the “stopping heart” expression for this purpose.
  5. Mandatory education in Poland during my early years was consisted of eight years of a primary school starting at age 7 and later four years of a high-school or five of a technical school. After this time you could start your studies
  6. I wasn’t too competitive and didn’t want to loose all friends, so I was trying to keep my number just under the podium
  7. I must add as a clarification that during next school dances boys started to ask me to dance without any need of forcing, which would surely made Dr. Pavlov and some other psychologists very proud of me.
  8. At the beginning of the century Poles were generally very closed for any sexual ideas or behaviors different than officially accepted straight believes, this is why I didn’t know any people describing themselves as homosexuals or transgender.
  9. My Ponglish version of “smartassing” is “mądraling”, where “mądrość” means “wisdom”
  10. I know that all guys included in this story some time after the described nightmare found a nice, understanding and sweet second half, who by comparison could be appreciated even more. That is why I don’t feel too bad. We are still dropping lines from time to time – maybe with a one exception.
  11. In Charles Duhigg’s book “Smarter Faster Better” I read that this way of acting is common for people believing that personally they don’t have much to say about the improvement of their life. Not an option for me. I’m always mądraling, as we know.
  12. I couldn’t resist to call Will Smith this name here. It sounds just ridiculously enough. I loved him in this role, but I can imagine that after all these years, he knows that it wasn’t the best role of his life.
  13. Yes, brains of those two genders ARE different. Now I know that none is better or worse, just different. Understanding basic differences seems to be crucial in building inter-gender relationships

One Comment

  1. Emotional testimony.
    As an addon; I would like to share that quote from Sister Emmanuelle – mostly translated in English by Google…

    “To laugh is to risk being silly. To cry is to risk feeling sentimental. To go to someone is to risk getting involved. To expose one’s feelings is to risk exposing one’s deep self. Presenting your ideas, your dreams to the crowd, is to risk losing them. To love is to risk not to love in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despairing. To try is to risk failing.

    But you have to take risks because the biggest danger of life is to risk nothing at all. The one who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He can avoid suffering and sadness but he learns nothing, feels nothing, can not change or develop, can neither love nor live. Chained by his certainty, he gives up his freedom. “

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