Saturday, September 13, 2014


     I used to be a tomboy. I used to climb a lot of trees: the cherry tree in our front yard, the slough-skinned madronas in the woods above Deadman's Hill, the sky-high firs behind my uncle’s creekside home that swayed with my weight and the wind. When I wished upon a star, I wished for a green plastic army helmet and pistol to play commando with the boys, and my wish came true. I used to fish tadpoles from the swampy waters of Snake Lake and hold frogs with my bare hands in order to prove to my brothers that I was tough enough to tag along with them.

     I even captured a two-foot-long snake at the city dump to bring home as a pet. I carried it around by the tail and made my sisters squeal. It was probably a harmless snake, but it escaped one day from the makeshift terrarium I had built for it in the backyard. The next-door neighbor kids, newly arrived from a southern state and thinking it might be poisonous, crushed it with a rock. I feigned dismay, but was secretly glad to be free of the pretense. Ugh. Snakes. No quantity of tomboyishness could make me truly like them.

     While I built forts in the woods and played kick-the-can on summer nights, I also dreamed of pretty dresses, devoured fairy stories and played with dolls. And I never liked sports.

     Then I grew up, grew out of being a tomboy and into make-up and high heels. I floundered into flirting and dating. I enjoyed being a girl. I still like pretty dresses and being a girl even though most days you will find me wearing tee shirts and jeans, but the tomboy is still there, undaunted by the painted toenails, curling iron and silk scarves. I know it hasn't disappeared altogether, because even though I have lost my limber, I still dream of climbing trees.

Girl climbing tree by AlidaBothmaArt on Etsy

1 comment:

  1. This brings back a lot of memories for a fellow tomboy!