to celebrate national novel writing month (or the unfortunately nicknamed "NaNoWriMo") this year i will spare myself the white-hair-inducing effects of writing 50,000 words in the month of November by writing a story a day.
these stories will be of any length and veer into any territory i wish. the idea is for me to write one a day for every day of november. these will be first drafts with minimal editing.
if you are into any of it. please comment below! perhaps you can help me figure out if there's ANYthing in these stories worth adapting or polishing into something awesome.
story 10. girlie drag (by jenny yang. sunday, november 10, 2013)
wearing skirts was such a drag. like, wearing a skirt felt like i was slipping into a costume of weakness. i knew i was a “girl” but for some reason there was this expectation that as a “girl” i needed to wear this circles of cloth that made me feel exposed and vulnerable. i hated wearing skirts so much i would cry over it when there was some kind of important Chinese family banquet that required me to ‘dress up’.
“but older brother and second brother get to wear pants!” i would argue.
“they are boys. you are a girl. you need to wear a skirt.” my mom wouldn’t budge.
skirts became a very emotional issue for me ever since i was six years old. that was the first time that i was thoroughly traumatized simply because i was a girl wearing a skirt.
i was in the first grade and living in hawthorne, a suburb of los angeles just south of the Los Angeles International Airport where my father worked. it was a modest rental, the fourth house down a long driveway of small attached two-bedroom houses. i loved playing with kids on our block. since i only moved to the united states when i was five years old, i only had about a year of childhood english under my belt. getting along with other kids was usually no problem though because just smiling and gestures went far enough to get into a game of freeze tag or play with a slip n slide. but this one particular day, i had a run in with a young white boy that i had not met before. he was yelling things at me and pulling his eyes upwards. i could tell he was taunting me but i didn’t know what he was actually saying. i tolerated it because we were trying to throw around a rubber ball. but just ignoring him couldn’t work anymore. this little boy walked up to me and flipped up the knee-length skirt that i was wearing and started laughing and pointing at my hips while yelling something about my underwear.
my face got hot with embarassment. i was so angry i started yelling and crying. but i couldn’t face them. he was still doubled over with laughter and it hurt so much to be there. the only thing i could do was run as fast as i could back to my house.
i ran inside to find my mother talking with an auntie who was also from taiwan that my mom worked with at the garment factory in gardena. they were mid-laughter when i came in with streaming down my red hot cheeks.
“this boy. he flipped up my skirt and laughed at me!” i screamed through my cries.
to this day i remember my mother’s face at the sight of me crushed by this boy’s transgression. she laughed. she laughed straight into my face and laughed with the auntie.
“he flipped up your skirt? why are you so upset? silly girl. hahahahah”
let’s just say that my mom showed me what not to do in order to show feminist solidarity with a victim of “gender” abuse.
“but! but! he can’t do that!” i protested to deaf ears.
“oh he’s just a boy. don’t worry. he didn’t do any harm,” my mom insisted.
but there WAS harm. i felt violated and expected my mom to have to have my back. could i get an amen? c’mon, mom!
from then on, i knew that i was not going to get the support from my mom that i had wanted to survive as a girl growing into adolescence. it was from this point on that i resisted wearing skirts until it was absolutely necessary for my existence.
this was the official beginning of learning to be a girl.