whispered love
selected writing




OnSeptember 24th 2006: When I was a Boy

I really love these lyrics by Dar Williams. She is a socially conscious singer and what I appreciate about this little poem is the way it acknowledges the crossovers that can exist between genders, challenging the idea that because you are male or female you should act or dress or feel in a particular way. This is an issue close to my heart because I believe people have a right to be who they really are, not who other people say they 'ought' to be. So many people allow themselves to be 'defined' by their parents, or their peers, or the church, or society. But - male or female - we are primarily people and we are also diverse and deserve respect for who we are and how we feel.




I won't forget when Peter Pan came to my house, took my hand

I said I was a boy; I'm glad he didn't check.

I learned to fly, I learned to fight

I lived a whole life in one night

We saved each other's lives out on the pirate's deck.

And I remember that night

When I'm leaving a late night with some friends

And I hear somebody tell me it's not safe, someone should help me

I need to find a nice man to walk me home.

When I was a boy, I scared the pants off of my mom,

Climbed what I could climb upon

And I don't know how I survived,

I guess I knew the tricks that all boys knew.

And you can walk me home, but I was a boy, too.


I was a kid that you would like, just a small boy on her bike

Riding topless, yeah, I never cared who saw.

My neighbor came outside to say, "Get your shirt,"

I said "No way, it's the last time I'm not breaking any law."

And now I'm in a clothing store, and the sign says less is more

More that's tight means more to see, more for them, not more for me

That can't help me climb a tree in ten seconds flat


When I was a boy, see that picture? That was me

Grass-stained shirt and dusty knees

And I know things have gotta change,

They got pills to sell, they've got implants to put in, they've got implants to remove

But I am not forgetting

That I was a boy too


And like the woods where I would creep, it's a secret I can keep

Except when I'm tired, except when I'm being caught off guard

I've had a lonesome awful day, the conversation finds its way

To catching fire-flies out in the backyard.

And I tell the man I'm with about the other life I lived

And I say now you're top gun, I have lost and you have won

And he says, "Oh no, no, can't you see

When I was a girl, my mom and I we always talked

And I picked flowers everywhere that I walked.

And I could always cry, now even when I'm alone I seldom do

And I have lost some kindness

But I was a girl too.

And you were just like me, and I was just like you."


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