“You’re about as straight as a circle.”
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is what someone told my 11-yr-old son recently. I asked him what spawned it, and he couldn’t remember. “He’s always calling me gay and stuff…he’s just weird.” He hears those comments so much he can’t even remember which ones came from what person. It breaks my heart.
LilZ has always been picked on for his interests. He’s never been, what many call, “all boy”. A lot of people would say this is because of my influence, but those close to us know that has nothing to do with it. I’m about as tomboy as a grown woman can be. I tried to forced a love of football on the boy before he was old enough to walk, but he’s never cared for any of it.
(Except the cheerleaders, like any good man, he loves him some cheerleaders.)
I don’t know why his interests have always tended to sway away from sports and games and towards music and dance, but it has. And all I care about is supporting whatever he likes. He’s recently shown interest in dancing and has even asked to take ballroom dance classes with me. (That can be blamed on Drew Lachey who makes it look so DAMN COOL.) There is a huge part of me that wants to call today to find a class for us because he wants to so bad, but I’m also afraid to draw more of a target on him than there already is.
But, why? Why do we live in a society where a girl who plays sports is a tomboy but a boy who likes dancing is called a sissy? And what do we do to change that? I could not be more proud of how little LilZ has never cared about what people say about him. Does he stop liking musicals or dancing because the kids might make fun of him? No. He tends to the wounds they leave with their words, rolls his eyes, and carries on. I don’t know if I could have been as strong.
There is a part of me who wishes he liked more typical boy things so that he wouldn’t be as much of a target of ridicule. But – there is also a huge part of me that finds pride in his uniqueness.
I have never forced anything on him. I expose him to whatever I can, sports, art, music, movies, and then try to pay attention to what peaks his interests. Once I find something he likes? I try to talk to him about it and find ways to nurture those interests. He’s always loved art and drawing, so I sent him to art workshops during the summers. He loves when we pamper ourselves at home with foot soaks and face masks, so I made appointments for us to have a spa day during his spring break. Am I making him more of a target of ridicule when I do things like that? Or am I being a good mom to let him find his own path.
I have no idea. I just try to do what I can to make sure we always have stuff to talk about. I want to participate in his life, whether it’s cheering at his soccer games or singing with his favorite movies. But whatever road he takes, I have always promised to walk with him on it.
I just wish I could kick the asses of the kids mocking him on his journey.