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.
"WHEN I WAS A BOY" by DAR WILLIAMS
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."