I have always been friends with boys, so we always did what boys would do. We would play basketball or football, watch boys cartoons such as The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or anything else that boys were always doing at a young age. But that is where the difficult point is in trying to figure out how I was gendered. I never wanted to play with girls toys or do anything that the girls did when I was younger, I pretty much chose to do everything that boys do.
From the earliest days that I can remember, my best friend Danny was always around. We were basically best friends since birth, well, maybe just my birth, he was two years older than me. We did everything and nothing together. We would play sports watch television and movies, and play video games together. Even when we were doing nothing, we were doing it together. Every night, we would walk down the block to Blockbuster. It didn’t matter what my sister or his sister wanted to watch, we had to rent some sort of action movie. After every movie, we had to go and “play fight,” which was always known in my head as “Danny’s time to kick my ass.” He was two years older than me, and twice my weight, so it was pretty much a given. Even though I would get beaten up all the time, I still had fun, it’s what I wanted to do.
When I wasn’t getting beat up, I was getting beat at a game of basketball, but I loved the sport and always wanted to play anyway. It was the best thing for me, because Danny was way too good so every time I played against him I got better, so at school I beat everyone like nothing.
Any time my parents came home with new toys for me to play with, they were always toys that were made for boys. It’s not that they tried to force them on me, because everything that they bought me was something that I wanted. The only times that anyone would see me playing with girls toys was taking my sister’s Barbie corvette and driving around with my turtles in them. The car was pink and all, but I never had a car for my toys, and it was a corvette. Not to mention, it was a car. Boys are supposed to like cars. Besides the car, the only other time I would be holding a girls toy would be when I would ruin my sister’s Barbies. I would either break them or draw on them, but I would never really play with them.
I remember one year, Christmas was right around the corner, so I had to do my little detective work around the house, just like any other kid. Every little hiding spot that I could think of as a little kid, I looked in. I found a box that had a Chicago Bears logo on it. I had this feeling of excitement in the middle of my stomach. I wanted to take it out right at that moment. I went to my mom and asked her what it was, and she said it was something of my dad’s for work. I knew this was a lie, but I went along with it anyway. The day finally came, and I couldn’t wait to open it. It was so teasing, just sitting there, waiting to be opened, but I had to wait until my turn. I was like a starving person looking at a beautiful roasted turkey, but forbidden to eat it. I finally opened it. It was a full Jim McMahon uniform, helmet, pads, and all. I wore it every day, running around like a little quarterback, or just sitting around and doing nothing, I wore it anyway. It wasn’t something that I asked for, but I loved it, I was happy it was given to me. So it wasn’t really forced on me or anything. But my dad loved the fact that I loved the gift. I don’t know if it was because it was a masculine gift or not, I think he was just happy that I was so excited.
Throughout my life I can’t really find a point that someone tried to make me like something, it was always my choice if I liked something or not. My parents never told me not to play with my sister’s Barbie car unless she went to them and complained that she wanted to play with it. I don’t know if they didn’t care if I played with it because it was a car, or if they just didn’t mind what I played with. But as long as I can remember, they never made me do anything a certain way, nor did any of my friends. We always agreed on everything before we did it.