When I was boy I was free to be.
A shopkeeper asked, ‘Alright, sonny?’
For I was a girl.
I was Tracey.
Short hair, cords, my bike another limb.
Climbing trees, scabby knees,
Scaletric and Subbuteo.
Star Wars and Pac-Man.
A pocket full of string and things.
They put me in a dress on Sunday.
Waiting to be boy again.
When I grew hips and boobs – always bumped and bruised.
They took me to get my first bra,
Imprisoned in a tight piece of fabric.
I took it off.
I couldn’t embrace Woman.
She was uncomfortable and awkward.
Quiet and shy.
She stole my boy.
I wore my hair in spikes to keep
everyone away from her.
The one with monthly blood and armpit hair,
The stealer of dreams.
I mourned for boy.
When I was free – to be.
But I couldn’t hold back the rise of Woman, however hard I tried.
She swallowed me up,
And spat me out.
I tried lipstick and eyeliner.
It felt too weird.
All those blossoming figures.
I hid mine under over-sized shirts and baggy trousers.
A tobacconist asked, ‘Are you 16 Sonny?’
‘I’m 18. Oh, and by the way – I’m a girl. (Tosser!)’
Listening to Led Zeppelin and Sinead.
They called me Bean.
Bean was me.
A Stiney lovin’ kindred spirit.
A guitar playing, moss hugging, castle sketching, jolly japing, journal writing, tarot reading, car singing, tea drinking, late night dancing, stoke the fire til sunrise and talk til we pass out, lover of life!
And a sometimes slightly moody Beanie.
Holding it in.
Breathing through the shifting tides.
Then a Mother.
With shaved head and dungarees.
Feet in the Earth and head in the clouds,
Daughters in dresses.
Twirly whirly, sequins, with stain laces.
We dance to the Spice Girls and paint our nails.
Sending out shoots.
Twisting and curling,
A Woman who was once a boy called Tracey
A Woman who is free – to be.