“Are you a boy?” asked a 5-year-old.
“No, I’m a girl,” I replied.
“But you have short hair?”
“True, but girls can have short hair, and boys can have long hair too.”
“Oh, okay. Cool!”
The sad part is I have had that conversation multiple times while various aged children. Or I get the occasional “sir” or “gentleman” when I am in a store. The adults that have called me sir or gentleman have always apologized and I tell them it’s not a big deal. To me, it really isn’t. Now I know I can spout off all this psychobabble about how society views gender and how I should be proud to be a female woman that is able to express them self any way they want, and don’t get me wrong I appreciate that. But being called “sir” doesn’t hurt me.
How people perceive my gender does not bother me anymore. I can say that now after a lot of soul-searching, but now I don’t care. I like how I look. I feel empowered by my appearance, and my demeanor does not mean I want to be a male either. I just want to be me. I am the best person I can be when I am able to be my authentic self.
I had moved out of my parents’ house. Then, I was in an apartment with a couple of coworkers, but now I’m back home again.
For me, returning home to my parents was a failure to me. I somehow had to get over the fact that it wasn’t, but how? My older brother still lived at home, but I was the failure. My brain rationalized him being home. He was had been in the Peace Corps down in Nicaragua, he was still adjusting to a first-world country after living being down there for 3 years. I went from being on my own to back home with the parents, so I was the failure. It would take me a while to not feel like that.
We wrote and signed a contract. That changed everything. I went from their freeloading child to their roommates from a few strokes on a keyboard and the swipe of a pen. These are the “demands” that I had to meet to keep a happy home and to live as an independent adult in my childhood home, sleeping in my childhood bedroom:
- Rent must be paid on the 1st of every month
- The floors of the house must be cleaned weekly (My brother would clean everything else)
- All yard work must be completed weekly; luckily grass doesn’t grow in our yard during the winter
- I must plan and cook 1 meal a week for the family (take out was allowed)
- All of my expenses came out of my pocket; phone bill, health insurance, car insurance, gas money, clothing, hygiene needs, etc.
- If I was not going to be home that night, I just text them, so they don’t freak out and wake up in the morning wondering if I am dead in a ditch somewhere
This contract worked. I was able to feel independent at my home while also allowing my parents to have their freedom from me as well.
I have no survival guide to living at with their parents as an adult, but what I can tell you is that what I am doing is working for me. Living at home is definitely not a boring life. We will just have to see where this takes me.