Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Tonight in Nia we're instructed to become withering ghosts on the moor, a wriggling attempt to be fluid. Haunting music moans as I stifle giggles. I accidentally wore an orange T-shirt with black yoga pants, and with my ensemble, the Halloween theme is complete.

The class is a soul recess. And a recession.

Then the teacher says something strange, though he always says something strange, and does something strange, this time it sticks with me.

“Take your masculine energy and throw it! Just pound it into the ground!” He stomps his limbs vigorously to the African drum.

“Become entirely masculine!” He growls over the song.

I’m awkward, a bit too flailing, exaggerating my so-called strength by slapping the balls of my feet into the shiny wood. Flop. Flop.

I’m distracted and taken. The thought of being masculine, entirely masculine is a bit stunning, if not philosophical.

If I were a boy (was a boy? I can never get that tense right, and it makes my English degree roll over in its grave--wherever that may be, hiding in the barn), I know my name would be Colin, but not much else.

Would I be the opposite of what I am now? Would I be complacent? Would I be big and athletic? Would I be a small boy with slender wrists and a sensitive disposition?

Would I burn through women, wooing and dropping them with every fleeting mood? Or would I pine after one girl at work and myspace-stalk her and write her weird songs and scare her away?

Would I have the same brain with a different body, taking in all the things I know now just the same, but experiencing them as slightly taller, heavier and with a stronger stomach?

Would I have told that bully boss at my last job what the real problem with our team was, would I have yelled at Mrs. Peroski to stick it in third grade when she yelled at me instead of Danielle (who was really cheating), would I even be concerned with woulds and would not haves?

Would I be better, would I be worse, would I be further along than I can see now?

The slight man at the front of the room catches my eye; I’m supposed to be bending my body, not just my mind. I hurriedly put a scowl on my face, as if that’s the definition of maleness.

Then I have a show-stopping thought. If I was born a boy, and somehow still existed as a girl, would both of me like each other? Could they stand to be in the same room? Would they want to be friends, or even more?

That snaps me out of it, this line of thought is one of the ridiculous ones, the ones where you feel for a moment you’ve gone off the deep end for sure, that this is the onset of either brilliance or schizophrenia, and not knowing which, if possible, you have tear back to reality.

When we move on to alternating imitations of kung fu masters and sea urchins, I’m in the moment.

I come home looking for water and the ice tastes like freezer; slightly astringent, burnt, and reeking of plastic.

And my male version drinks it all, and bothers me while I try to write, and cleans the dishes I dirtied, and flips through our Australian photographs, complains that he needs to use the computer, and blasts indie music, and draws cartoons instead of writes, and I see.

What I would be.


b said...

It is fun to imagine yourself as the opposite sex. I think I would have been a raging feminist, and hopefully pretty (a bit weird, saying that). On an unrelated note, "if I were a boy" is correct. You only use "was" in the if clause if you are unsure of past events - I'm assuming you know you have never been a boy. That's my grammar lesson (why did I ever turn down the Teaching Fellows program?).

Anonymous said...

Funny post, K-- bizarre, creative, and interesting. I always like your posts best when you are tapping into your neat ability to paint "word pictures." Your metaphors seem spontaneous, freshly-imagined.

J, North of You

Laura said...

If you were a boy, but your girl self still existed, you'd be your own twin, and I wouldn't recommend the two of you dating. That's illegal in New York State.

themarina said...

Interesting. I can't say my thoughts of what I would be like if I were born a guy have ever included me as a girl too but it could make for an interesting read. Maybe something about space time continuum...

t2ed said...

Don't forget the scratching. That's pretty key to the masculine side.

Oh, and looking at boobies of course. That goes without saying, but I did it anyway.

ps said...

seems like you've met your match. i love it.

David said...

Your blogs are incredible!

Cheetarah1980 said...

I know a male version of myself. I want to kick his ass. Does that mean I really want to kick my own ass? I wonder....