“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are”Carl Jung
“My father told me, “If you were a boy, I wouldn’t have to be so hard on you”. He was right. If I was a boy, he wouldn’t have had to be so hard on me because I would have been hard wired for warfare. But not only was I a girl, to make matters worse, I was just like my mother. As soft as they come. My mother named me Kathleen, which means “Pure”. He picked my middle name, Nicole, which means “Victory”. He rarely called me Kathleen, always Nicole. He needed me to embody Victory, not Innocence. As his first born, I couldn’t be soft, fragile or easily broken. I needed to be a Warrior and exude a strength that would carry the family name. I became the daughter, raised as if she was a son.
The first born, regardless of gender is raised with a set of expectations, responsibilities and standards that their siblings simply do not have to adhere to. The first born enters the earth realm carrying the weight of generations prior; the hopes as well as the horrors, the traumas as well as the triumphs. The responsibility is great and a perfect fit for a man child to carry. Not so much for a first born daughter, raised as a son.
I resented my father many years for being raised as a son. I received more than my fair share of tough love and life lessons that I thought only a boy should receive and learn. “Never show weakness. Never let them see you sweat. Work harder than anyone. Don’t halfway do anything”. My dad told me that it would be hard for me to find a man, so it was vitally important that I learn to take care of myself. He pushed and pushed and pushed. And I excelled and excelled and excelled.
Now, I understand why my dad raised his first born daughter as a son. He was protecting me. He was equipping me with the armor needed to shield my soft, vulnerable, open heart from the inevitable hurt I don’t think even be anticipated I would endure. He gave me intellectual prowess, physical and athletic ability, spiritual fortitude, and Black Radicalism to safeguard my inherently nurturing heart until it could safely be revealed to the world.
He saw me at my core and did all he could, as limited as it might have been, to help me become me. I’m filled with gratitude because that armor he fitted me for served me well. I fought on the battlefield of my life with a valor and strength I’m forever proud of. And when the war was over and the last battle had been fought, I released my armor, with Grace and ease, in the only way a first born daughter, raised as a son should.
Happy New Year,